Vacation club scams

Be wary of deeply discounted deals offered by vacation clubs

Consumer Reports Money Adviser: July 2012

The discounts offered by vacation clubs sound appealing. But before you sign up, check out the company behind the club.

When we looked at Federal Trade Commission cases, Better Business Bureau reports, and consumer-complaint websites, including Complaints.com and RipoffReport, we found plenty of gripes about vacation clubs. For example, in March the New Jersey attorney general sued a company and its owner for failing to provide the deep discounts, vacation accommodations, and other travel services that they claim had been promised. But the company did collect one-time membership fees that ranged from $995 to $8,500, plus a $29.95 monthly charge. “We allege that consumers paid significant money for sham memberships that were essentially worthless,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, director of the state’s consumer affairs division, in a statement.

If you’re at all tempted to join a club, ask one of its representatives for a detailed explanation of any vaguely worded descriptions, such as “5-star” accommodations, the FTC says. Also ask about trip-cancellation and refund policies. Get the answers in writing. Check the BBB website for any reports on the club, and try a Web search using the company name to find out what customers are saying. Be especially wary of unsolicited promotions that come by regular mail, e-mail, or fax offering deeply discounted travel packages.


E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

More From Consumer Reports

WASHING MACHINE REVIEWS
The Best Matching Washers and Dryers These washer-dryer pairs cleaned up in Consumer Reports' tests.
TV REVIEWS
Best 4K TVs to Buy Right Now The top picks from the hundreds of 4K TVs we've tested.
CARS
Best New Car Deals Save money on the cars that Consumer Reports recommends.
GENERATOR REVIEWS
How to Pick the Right Size Generator for Your House Add up the items you need to power before making your choice.

Cars

Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more