Unfortunately, some travel companies are much better than others. It's always
important to check out a travel agent or tour operator thoroughly before dealing
with them, but sometimes even careful consumers run into problems. The following
are some tips on who to contact if you feel you've been scammed by a travel
company or you wish to make a complaint.
If you received the offer or made arrangements through the mail, notify the
postal inspector at your local post office right away. You can also contact and
file a complaint with Chief Postal Inspector of the U.S. Postal Service,
475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, D.C. 20260.
Other organizations where you can file a complaint for any kind of travel fraud
include your local Better Business Bureau (although you may get charged a
small fee to file the complaint and they do not actively investigate claims) and
the American Society of Travel Agents (they keep complaint files on non-member agents),
(703) 739-2782, Consumer Affairs Dept., 1101 King St., Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314,
or online at www.ASTAnet.com. You can also call the Federal Trade Commission
at (202) 326-2000 to file a complaint. Reporting the incident helps protect others from
being taken by the same company, and for some companies, a complaint
might be an incentive to work the problem out with you.
If you've been a victim of fraud and seek a group to help you take action, contact
Call for Action, 5272 River Road, Suite 300, Bethesda, MD 20816, (800) 647-1756.
You can also call the consumer hotline at The National Fraud Information Center,
(800) 876-7060 or write to Box 65868, Washington, D.C. 20590. For senior citizens,
the AARP has a consumer affairs section. You can call (202) 434-6030, write to
Consumer Affairs Section, 601 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20049 or visit them
online at www.aarp.org. (Note: AARP is an organization serving individuals ages
55 and up.) If the fraud or other problem involves air travel, you can contact Ralph
Nader's Aviation Consumer Project at Box 19029, Washington, D.C. 20036 or
(202) 638-4000. For fraudulent airline advertising, contact the Dept. of Transportation
by writing to The Office of Consumer Affairs, 400 7th Street SW, Washington, DC
20590, or calling them at (202) 366-2220, or visiting their website at
If you can't resolve a dispute with a hotel or motel, and you've contacted the
manager and the corporate headquarters to no avail, you can contact the American
Hotel and Motel Association at 1201 New York Avenue NW, Suite 600, Washington,
DC 20005-3931, (202) 289-3100, or online at www.ahma.com.
Another place to head if you've been cheated is to contact your local and/or state
Office of Consumer Protection or Consumer Affairs
to register a complaint. They will not only take a report of the problem, but often can provide information
such as what remedies you may have available to you and may be able to
assist you with your claim.