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BBB warns of some online travel agencies and possible scams

As people begin planning summer vacations, many will turn to the internet to book airfare and hotel rooms.

Although many online travel agencies are reputable, there are some that may be a scam.

ABC 17 News looked at a site called

It’s a website that touts booking options for 145,000 hotels worldwide.

But the Better Business Bureau has received more than 150 complaints about the website. 83 of those complaints were in the last year and the most recent was filed Sunday.

“With this website, basically the complaints that we’ve heard about at BBB is that people think they’re dealing directly with the hotel that they’re wanting to travel to, but in reality, what’s happening is that they’re dealing with this particular website,” said Mike Harrison with the Better Business Bureau.

When ABC 17 News went to the website at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, there was a toll free number listed to call and make a reservation.

When ABC 17 News checked the website at 5:30 p.m., the toll free number listed had changed. At 7:30 p.m., the number listed on the website had changed again.

ABC 17 News called two of the three numbers listed and talked to a representative about a hotel in Florida.

The representative said they work directly with the hotel to make the reservation. But when ABC 17 News called the hotel directly, the hotel said it had never heard of

“It all goes back to doing your homework when you’re going to use a third party website,” Harrison said.

And is not the only online travel agency the BBB has had complaints about.

“We’ve heard of situations where somebody shows up to their travel destination and the hotel never existed,” Harrison said.

He said although there are many reputable online travel agencies, it’s always a good idea to call the hotel directly after booking on those websites to make sure your reservation is on file.

“We recommend that you read the fine print on anything, especially online,” Harrison said.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association, as well as the Federal Trade Commission and hotel leaders have met in Washington D.C. over the past few weeks to find ways to protect consumers from deceptive online advertising.

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