2 Girls. 1 World. A Whole Lot to See

TRAVEL JOURNAL

Travel Agent Issues: Not Cool

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I never complain about travel.

But … I will complain about booking travel.

The husband and I are going to Mexico in June. We booked the vacation with Liberty Travel and began paying on it a few months ago.

Despite the allure of online travel booking, I like using a travel agent for many reasons:

  • They give you  many options and amenities that you might not find on a website.
  • You are talking with a real person that in most cases has been to the place you want to travel to.
  • They save you time.
  • They have connections
  • You can pay in installments!

The husband and I usually book our adult vacation up to a year in advance with no problems.

This time, booking with them has turned into a BIG problem.

Saturday morning we decided to do some after Christmas shopping. We took a quick look at the checking account so we could budget. Good thing we did.

I saw this!

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I calmly called my husband over to the computer and asked him if he booked a cruise for $1,092.

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He looked at me and started laughing because he thought I was kidding.  I slowly turned the computer around to show him what his checking account looked like and asked him where we were going on our cruise, trying to be funny.

Needless to say, he flipped.

We did the necessary things like calling the bank to freeze our account. How this could have happened?

I knew instantly how it happened.

We were just at the agent’s the previous day paying on our Mexico trip.  She must have used our credit card number to book a vacation for someone else. I was hoping it was an accident, but these days, you just don’t know. Unfortunately, it was one of those cards that can be used as a debit or credit card. The money was taken right out of my husband’s checking account!

RANT: What the heck? Was this really an accident? It better have been an accident. Does she realize that she even made the mistake? What are we going to do now? I have bills that will be taken out on Monday morning including my mortgage payment.  Do I call the police?  I need to stay CALM or my husband will lose his mind.

We called the travel agency, but they were closed. We called the cruise line, but they could only tell us that we did have a cruise booked, but it was NOT in my husband’s name.  All they said is that it was booked by Liberty Travel and gave us the name of the agent. Now we confirmed that she used the card.

At this point, I felt worse. This better have been a huge accident. We had to wait until the next day to try to get some information.

This is where it gets good.

Today I drove to the agency after several phone calls by my husband and them telling us they are “working on it.”  I walked in and they were clearly busy.  I spoke to the first woman and stated my name asking to speak with a manager. She CLEARLY knew my name and told me that I had to wait.

RANT: Are you serious?  I wanted to tell everyone in that room that they should not be booking with them. They steal money! (At least, that’s how I felt.) I needed to sit there calmly and try to be mature even though I wanted to cause a scene demanding they write me a check for $1,092.

Finally after 13 minutes (yes, I timed it) she came over and apologized for what had happened.  They are working on getting the money back to me and I just have to be patient. Patient? She has no idea how this happened and there is really nothing she can do until Monday morning.

UGH.

So here is what I learned from this experience:

  1. DO NOT make payments using your debit card.
  2. Pick your agent wisely. Don’t just walk in and sit at the first table.
  3. Don’t book right away. Take the time to do some research.
  4. Stay in contact with them about payments and scheduled payments.

Has this ever happened to you? Do you use travel agents? Any problems?



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