1) ALWAYS book with an agent. Their help can be invaluable, especially if you have any problems.
2) ALWAYS pay with a credit card. NEVER pay with cash or check.
3) ALWAYS get a confirmation from the airline, cruise line, resort, or wholesaler.
4) ALWAYS double check your reservations.
__________________ Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/13 yrs exp and 48 Cruises on 11 cruise lines! Favorites: Paul Gauguin - Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises - Europe; Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America - 12-nights Baltics & Russia; RCCL - 14-nights Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America - 14-day Alaskan cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days Hawaii w/7-night NCL cruise; Oceania - 25 days in Asia; more than 3 months touring Europe by train. And many all-inclusive resorts!
The really sad thing is that this isn't the first time and probably won't be the last.
ALWAYS use a credit card when booking travel through any third party.
A number of years ago there was a prominent Miami agent who ran off with his customer's money and there were a lot of Condo Commando's that were not happy. A number of long time Cruisemates remember him. He actually had a fairly good reputation but it was sad to find out what he was doing
He took off with over $90,000.
Locally, there was a large company called Hobbit Travel that went under. They showed the classic signs of being in trouble. Payments were going to them, and not the cruise lines or vacation providers, and they were "floating" the money to the vendors. They couldn't wait until the commissions came in or they would go under. It didn't work. A number of people lost their cruises because of this. A friend of mine booked with them and when I asked if the invoice came from the cruise line or Hobbit Travel, he responded. "Hobbit". I told him to cancel immediately and call my agent. He did and got the same cruise for the same price. He would have been one of the people who would have lost their cruise and their full fare. Luckily, he received his money back from the cancellation just a month before the company went under.
Quite often agents and agencies get in financial trouble and they "think" they can get out by floating the payments for a while. It usually doesn't work in the long run and rarely works out well for the client.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
The agency owner in the video was obviously going through some angst over this, and no doubt the financial and public relations damage is really endangering her business.
I know a man who booked a cruise from an agent (one person agency) and he foolishly paid the cruise deposit with a check made out to the agency. This was about 12 years ago. She was not a crook, but she did have a mental breakdown a few months later and entered a mental hospital, leaving her business flapping in the breeze. Of course he didn't know it because the cruise was still months away. He found out by accident and by then his deposit was tied up in the mess. He eventually got it back but not without a lot of effort and wait.