Don’t Be Fooled By Fake Vacation Photos!

Buyer Beware!  Some sellers use fake photographs. For instance it is not at all that unusual for a photograph of a resort or hotel to be doctored in some way (as in the inlaying of a beach scene) or for a very old photograph to be posted (as in a photograph that was taken before the hurricane!)

 

To make things even more complicated not all sellers with bad photographs are out to get you. Sometimes you are just dealing with someone who cannot take a good photograph or who does not have access to a good photograph. The photo may be too dark or even altered in some way.

 

If you encounter a poor quality photograph, your best course of action is to try and find another photograph of the destination online. This is easily done by going to Google’s search engine and typing a search into its image database.

 

If the photo seems deliberately altered you can also read up on the latest news about the destination online. Almost always an altered photograph exists in a location where there has been bad weather or a natural disaster. In some extreme cases, it can also mean that the hotel has not even been built yet or that the photo of a better hotel has been substituted for the one you are looking at.

 

In any event if you suspect for one second that there is something false about the photograph you can email the seller and ask for a better photograph or more photographs. You can also email or phone the site and complain and ask to have better pictures forwarded to you by email and then make your evaluation of the whole deal from how the seller and the site responds to your request.

 

Of course one of the problems with buying anything online is the inability for you to inspect the product and this is especially true of vacations. One way for you to protect yourself if you do find yourself winning a bid from a seller with a bad vacation is to print out a copy of the photograph. If it does not at all resemble your destination then you have some hard evidence for your case when you ask the site for your money back for being duped.

 

So what to do? Before bidding on an item, be wary. First, look at the picture carefully and print a copy for future records in case you get something that doesn’t look like the picture at all. Second, read the description very carefully and try to objectively interpret what is being described as opposed to what you think the seller is trying to describe.  If the description doesn’t match the picture or vice versa then you might be bidding on a dud destination.

What Happens If You Are Not Satisfied With a Vacation Package?

Part of the nature of taking a vacation and in particular taking advantage of the discounts available on discounter vacation auction sites is that you are always taking a risk. In the case of bidding on a vacation package you will find that the actual name of your vacation hotel or condo is not revealed until you have been awarded the bid. So if you hate staying at the Holiday Inn but then find out that the vacation you bid on is at the Holiday Inn then there might not be that much you can do about it after the fact. This is the type of disappointment that you must be prepared to take if you decide to engage in online travel auction biddings or in purchasing vacation packages that are a bit vague with the details.

 

However, if you find yourself the victim of a real scam when it comes to bidding on a vacation on an auction site you are not without recourse. This would be the case if promised tickets did not show up in the mail or you were sent to a land where a hotel doesn’t exit or where your reservation has been sold to someone else.  You can also nail a seller if they do not deliver the goods in a timely fashion or deliver something less valuable then they advertised when they described the travel item in the first place.

 

However keep in mind that when it comes to going after a seller for false advertising it can be difficult to go after a seller who is selling a vacation or hotel booking with a minimum reserve bid that is already sixty percent or less of the vacation’s value in the first place.  It might be implied that you understand that something could be wrong with the item and that is why you are on an auction site offering discount travel in the first place!

 

However if you are really dissatisfied, you can go after the seller of a vacation if they fail to disclose all of the relevant information about the destination or the terms of the sale.

 

If you run into a problem try to work it out directly with the seller with the auction web site.  Some travel auction sites are more cooperative then others if you end up having problems. Know that some auction sites like eBay do not have a comprehensive intermediary program for people who encounter problems if they purchase a bad vacation and simply encourage bad feedback as being the best revenge.

 

You can always file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or visiting the FTC’s web site.