I’ve written about the resort fee scam, hotels hiding the ball on how much their rooms really cost so they show up better in online search and when you’re comparing two potential properties.
But what about actual fraud? There are supposed travel agents online that will sell you packages, hotel rooms, tickets for activities. They will charge your card. You’ll show up, and they’ve simply taken your money and not booked anything for you. You have a paper confirmation that doesn’t mean anything.
With the number of horror stories I’ve gotten from readers over the years you might think that online site is called “Expedia” but it isn’t. It’s something you’ll find come up from time to time, and one of the things to watch out for booking through a site you’ve never heard of before.
OBL Travel sold packages to the ‘Essence Festival’ and at least 100 customers turned up in Louisiana only to find no accommodations, no concert tickets, no access to VIP parties.
The agency’s owner even sold travel insurance for these non-existent items. The travel insurance of course was also made up.
- Initially she was going to receive a 12 year sentence, with 3 years’ suspended.
- However after hearing from victims the judge imposed a 15 year sentence, 6 years’ suspended.
That’s the same 9 years in prison but three of the years will be on active probation and she’ll enter into a plan to make restitution to victims.
No one should ever buy travel from an agency using the initials of Osama bin Laden. Even if travelers don’t realize that (it’s amazing it’s been 19 years since the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole and 8 years since bin Laden was killed), travel agents should certainly know better. Other agents booked Essence Festival packages through OBL Travel on behalf of their customers.