9/30/2020

9/28/2020

Hotel Credit Card Fraud

The following incident just occurred to a friend of ours staying at a Dayton House resort in Myrtle Beach. It was a last-minute girl’s weekend at the beach. Our friend called the hotel, made a reservation, provided a debit card, and headed to the beach. Everything was normal with check-in and she got to the oceanfront room booked. Shortly after check-in, she received a phone call claiming that the front desk had an issue with the card provided, and they needed to run her card again. Without thinking, our friend gave them the card number over the phone. Luckily her traveling companion thought it might be a good idea to get an updated receipt from the front desk. At the front desk, they were told they did call her room. The desk agent then confirmed this was a known scam that was hitting area hotels. When asked why she did not warn them at check-in, the desk agent said it’s something that just happens, and they are not responsible. This was on a Sunday, so she was limited to locking her account. She then had to take time out of her vacation to visit a local branch to request a new card.

It is true that this happens regularly, and it is not normally the fault of the hotel. However, the hotel was aware of the problem. This is no different than signage placed in the parking decks to warn guests to lock doors, removal valuables, and that the hotel is not responsible for the loss. Signage is there to limit liability for the hotel and to provide a basic warning. So, what is the liability for attempted fraud in the hotel's name, if the hotel is aware of the issue? It is a good idea to check the state Attorney Generals' consumer for guidance. Per the consumer protection section of www.findlaw.com:

Generally, a hotel will not be responsible for crimes committed on or near the hotel’s premises. The exception to this is if the hotel should have anticipated the crime and failed to prevent it. A common example of this would be if the hotel were located in a high crime area, but didn’t put any safeguards in place (such as locked windows and bright lighting). Hotels must also warn of any known criminal problems around the hotel.

In this case, the hotel staff confirmed that this was a known issue, and confirmed they failed to notify the guest at check-in, but felt they were not responsible. To confirm if this was a property management issues or just the fault of a single employee, we checked the hotel's safety tips, and a generic comment is made about people physically attempting to access the room, but it does not mention any attempts to collect payment in the hotel's name.


To avoid a similar issue, we recommend the following tips:

  • If you received any call after checking into a hotel claiming that there is an issue with your card. Always return to the front desk.
  • If the person pushes back or threatens you, let them know that you provided a credit card to check-in, and will settle issues at check out.
  • Although convenient, avoid giving credit cards over the phone. If the company you’re working with has a website, use that as an option, or just book a room. If the hotel does not have online booking, use a third-party website as an alternative.
  • If you prefer paying at the hotel, websites like Booking.com, hotels.com, and Travelocity.com offer options for paying at the hotel instead of prepaying for the booking.
  • If you do must give a hotel a credit card over the phone to book, I recommend using a prepaid card. You can request one from your bank or current credit card company. The prepaid card is issued in your name, offer cash back, travel, or rewards points, and provides a buffer between you and your backing information.


8/28/2020

Walmart Layaway 2020

Walmart Holiday Layaway is available in stores during the holiday season. All supercenters offer layaway year round for jewelry purchases only. Layaway is not offered for online purchases.

How it works:

  • There’s no opening fee
  • All you need to do is make a small down-payment of $10, or 10%, whichever is greater.

The rules:

  • Minimums - Individual items must be $10 or greater. Total purchases must be $50 or greater
  • Terms - Layaway begins August 28, 2020. Final payment and pickup must be made on or before December 9, 2019, at the same store where layaway was initiated, if not the Layaway account will be canceled. Excludes all wireless phones.


  • In addition to our Every Day Low Prices, Walmart stores offer even more opportunities to save money while holiday shopping: 

Be sure to check out the online Savings Center where Walmart highlights their best values, including items on Clearance, Rollbacks, Special Buys—many of which can be put on Layaway in our stores. To get to the savings, simply visit the page at www.walmart.com/savingscenter

Kitchen Aide Classic on clearance

 


  • Cancellation - If the account is closed or canceled, items will be returned to inventory. Down payment and payments made will be refunded, less $20 or $20%, whichever is greater. The cancellation fee does not apply in Ohio, Maryland, Rhode Island, or Washington DC. Cancellation fee in AL will not exceed $25. Cancellation fee in NC will not exceed $50
  • Returns - Walmart Returns Policy applies to all layaway transactions

Pickup & Pay:

  • Location - Layaway may be initiated at the Pickup Desk, Photo Center or Garden Center. Look for signs at the entrance or see the Pickup Desk for details. Payments can be made at any register. Upon final payment, customers may be asked to pick up Layaway merchandise at a separate location such as the Garden Center

Restrictions:

  • In stores only (not available for online purchases)
  • Available for Electronics, Auto Electronics, Large Furniture, Toys, Infant Toys and Furniture, Select Sporting Goods, Small Appliances and Jewelry
  • Excludes all wireless phones
  • Layaway not available on Thursday, November 26th

3/04/2020

Worried about booking due to the Coronavirus - Airlines Waiving Change Fees



There is fine print, of course. The biggest, in all the change-fee waivers to date: you can’t buy a nonrefundable ticket under this policy and request a refund if your plans change or you don’t want to travel. You can change or cancel the ticket for free. If you cancel, you’ll receive credit for a future flight.
An airline-by-airline look:
American Airlines: American’s waiver allows travelers who purchase tickets between March 1 and March 16 to change or cancel them without paying fees that start at $200 per person. The new policy covers tickets purchased for travel through late January 2021.
On American, the fee will be waived for changes made up to 14 days prior to travel. So if you buy a ticket for a summer trip and need to change it for lingering coronavirus concerns or any reason, you just have to change it at least two weeks before departure to avoid the fee.
Fare differences will apply: If you book a $150 round-trip ticket from Chicago to Orlando and the going rate is $300 when you change the ticket to another date, you’ll pay an extra $150.
Delta Air Lines: Delta’s waiver covers travelers who buy tickets between March 1 and March 31 for international travel, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Flights within the U.S are not covered. Tickets can be purchased for travel as far out as February 2021. Fare differences apply to changed tickets.
United Airlines: United’s waiver covers travelers who buy tickets between March 3 and March 31 for travel to any destination. Travelers can change their ticket to another flight (fare differences apply) or cancel the trip and receive a credit that is good for a year from the date the ticket was purchased.
JetBlue Airways: JetBlue’s temporary change fee waiver, which applies to tickets purchased between Feb. 27 and March 11, covers travel through June 1. Travelers will receive credit for a future flight. Fare differences will apply on the new tickets.
Alaska Airlines: Alaska’s waiver covers tickets purchased Feb. 27 through March 12 for travel through June 1. Fare differences will be applied to any changes.
British Airways: British Airways’ “Book with Confidence″ policy covers tickets purchased between March 3 and March 16. Changes can be made any time before departure, but any fare difference will apply.