Be Careful How You Book: BBB Has Warning for Travelers

According to the BBB, from 2017 to 2019 there were 39 reported travel scams from Connecticut residents

The Better Business Bureau says travel schemes are a growing trend as we head into the summer season and warns consumers to be careful.

A Litchfield man reached out to NBC Connecticut Responds after finding out the hotel didn’t have his trip deposit to Mexico.

The summer season means summer travel. For Tyrus Williams, Mexico was his place of choice.

“This is our one big time, you know, for all of our family to get together,” said Tyrus Williams. “The price was phenomenal.”

The Litchfield resident booked an all-inclusive trip to Mexico, seven days and six nights, for $698 through Florida-based 360 Tri-Star Travel.

“After speaking with my wife and everything, I said let’s book this,” said Williams.

Williams said he’d never used a travel agency for this kind of trip before.

When he reached out the hotel to confirm the reservation, he ran into trouble.

“I said, and we’re all set? And they go, yeah, except you got to send us your money,” said Williams. “I said, what do you mean I have to send you my money? I said this has already been paid for.”

Williams said the hotel didn’t receive the deposit. He showed us his receipt and bank statement for the $698 payment. And he said he had no luck getting in touch with Tri-Star.

“You call them, nobody answers,” said Williams.

After Williams exhausted all of his options, he turned to NBC Connecticut Responds.

“You have the means more than I have to really go out and get these people,” said Williams.

The Florida Attorney General’s office has received four complaints against 360 Tri-Star travel. They include: taking money and not providing the trip, unanswered phone calls, and the company offering refunds not given.

On the BBB’s website, there were 24 complaints closed in the last three years. All of those complaints went unanswered with many customers unable to locate the business.

The issues ranged from paid vacation packages, to reservations, to no response from the company.

According to the BBB,  from 2017 to 2019 there were 39 reported travel scams from Connecticut residents, claiming it cost them $52,487.17 total.

Luke Frey with Connecticut’s BBB says the cheapest price isn’t always the best option.

“Whenever you make that last payment, you should have your hotels, you should have your airlines. You should really have everything you’re purchasing in that last payment. So, you know you actually have a trip that is booked,” said Frey.

Remember to check the company’s cancellation policy.

“If you have to cancel due to health or other issues. And really see what that refund policy is, especially if you’re being pressured to pay on the spot,” said Frey.

The BBB says you should check online reviews of any travel agency before booking a trip.

We reached out to 360 Tri-Star travel multiple times. We’re still waiting to hear back.

Meanwhile, Tyrus Williams said he was refunded the $698.

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