The travel industry enjoys a relatively trustworthy perception. 192.com polled 1,500 UK residents asking them who they trusted most when making a transaction. Over a third “mostly trusted” a hotel receptionist when taking debit card details over the phone, and 39 per cent trusted a travel agent when making a payment to them. Car dealers, by contrast, enjoyed the trust of just 11 per cent of the survey, and estate agents by 15 per cent.
There is evidence to suggest fraudsters are taking advantage holidaymakers’ trust in the travel industry, particularly online. Increasingly, travellers are targeted by agents selling fictitious holidays and bogus airline tickets.
Reduce the risk of becoming a victim of fraud by following these simple steps:
• Look beyond a company’s website. Verify its name and business address on listings websites.
• If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re determined to proceed, consider searching the company’s credit report. There you can see if it has any legal notices stating it owes money, see if its directors are involved in numerous or defunct companies and determine if it’s filing accounts. All three are indicators of a company’s authenticity (or lack thereof).
• Avoid companies that have been setup or changed hands recently, as this is often a sign of fraudulent enterprise.
• If a company claims membership of a trade body or consumer protection scheme such as ABTA, make sure the membership is genuine. ABTA has a member search located in the middle of its home page.
• Steer clear of traders who encourage you to pay in cash, by not accepting credit card payments or by charging high credit card fees.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…
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