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On Your Side

Prevent Billing Mishaps When Booking Travel

Don't let your dream trip turn into a credit card nightmare

Reader complaint: My dream trip turned into a credit card fiasco

International travel can be expensive, especially when you are billed several times for the same trip. Laura Kohl, 66, found multiple $6,150 charges on her Bank of America credit card for a dream holiday she took to India through New Delhi-based Make My Trip. After a year of phone calls and emails to her bank and the travel company, she was still on the hook for an extra $6,150. "AARP was really my last hope," she says.

We contacted Bank of America's executive offices and within two weeks had negotiated a complete $6,150 credit.

Here are simple tips to prevent or resolve such credit card mishaps.

Stay local for overseas bookings

Consider using a domestic travel agent. John Pittman, a vice president with the American Society of Travel Agents, says local agents have relationships with travel vendors "all over the world."

Keep your cool, and hold your tongue

The quickest way to get sidelined is to make threats, swear or make disparaging comments about a company or its employees. Be businesslike, and be sure to keep calm.

Be prepared to take your case online

Large companies hate to see bad reviews on websites. Let them know you are more than willing to criticize them on the Web if they ignore your complaint.

Consumer advocate Ron Burley writes the On Your Side column for AARP and is the author of Unscrewed: The Consumer's Guide to Getting What You Paid For. Got a complaint? Tell your consumer woes to Ron at aarp.org/ronburley.

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