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April 15, 2019

Fly to Hawaii for $6 Roundtrip?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail,Sweepstakes,Travel — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:10 am

Arby’s is running a promotion offering 10 lucky people the chance to buy roundtrip tickets to Hawaii for only $6.

Arby's contest

There are two opportunities to enter the sweepstakes: last Friday, and today (April 15th) at noon Eastern time. You will be flown first to Los Angeles, spend a night in a hotel, and then the next day, you will be whisked off to Honolulu in either first or business class. All for only $6. What a deal.

Except for one thing in the official rules.

Mouse Print*:

official rules

Your flights to and from Hawaii have to occur on the same day – April 27th. That’s right. Your day in Hawaii starts out with six hours on a plane going there. Then visiting an Arby’s to try three of their new sandwiches and be in a television commercial. And then another six hours on a plane back to the mainland.

As their ad states, “no volcanoes, no pineapple farms… just you, sweet buns, tender meat.”

So, if this is your idea of a fun vacation, hope you’re one of the first five today to win the trip. And here’s one additional consumer tip: You can save the $6 on the ticket by entering the promo code “Aloha.”




  ADV


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March 11, 2019

It Pays to Read the Fine Print, Literally

Filed under: Travel — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:06 am

Since 2006, we have encouraged you to always read the fine print so you don’t get snookered by the strings and catches buried in advertisements, contracts, etc. A Georgia teacher did just that a few weeks ago and got an unexpected surprise.

She had visited a travel insurance website called SquareMouth to buy a policy for an upcoming trip. Like all insurance policies, there was a ton of fine print that could trip up a purchaser. Most people don’t have the patience to wade through that stuff, but our teacher did.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Squaremouth excerpt

The section above says because most customers don’t read the fine print of travel insurance policies to their detriment, the company launched a contest to highlight this problem. It went on to say that the first person who spotted this section of the policy and contacted the company would win $10,000!

This smart Georgia teacher found the clause a mere 23 hours after the contest was launched, and is now $10,000 richer.

Squaremouth winner




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October 23, 2017

AA & UA Penalize Carry-on Luggage Cheats

Filed under: Travel — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:23 am

A number of the full service legacy airlines have recently introduced “basic economy” fares that are stripped of some usual conveniences. One of the rules of these fares is that you can only take a small personal bag onboard that fits in the seat in front of you. You are prohibited from taking a larger piece of luggage that normally would go in the overhead bin.

How do airlines enforce this new restriction? They’ve started checking at the gate since basic economy passengers all board last. And if they catch you with a piece of forbidden luggage, you not only have to pay the normal baggage check fee but they also assess a penalty for trying to cheat!

*MOUSE PRINT:

Baggage details (American Airlines)

You can board with 1 item like a purse or small handbag that fits under the seat in front of you and is not larger than 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm). You won’t have access to overhead bins.

All other items must be checked at ticket counters and cannot be carried on. If you take them to the gate you’ll pay an extra $25 gate service fee per item plus the applicable bag fee. [Emphasis added.]

That’s the rule at American Airlines. Over at United, they have the same policy:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Full-sized carry-on bags are not permitted

You’re not allowed a full-sized carry-on bag unless you’re a MileagePlus Premier member or companion traveling on the same reservation, the primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card or a Star Allianceā„¢ Gold member. Everyone else who brings a full-sized carry-on bag to the gate will be required to check their bag and pay the applicable checked bag fee plus a $25 gate handling charge.

If you want to avoid these penalty fees and restrictions, remember that Southwest Airlines does not charge checked luggage fees for the first two bags.




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July 31, 2017

Hotels Tighten Cancellation Policies

Filed under: Travel — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:05 am

Many people are used to canceling hotel reservations sometimes at the last minute without penalty or cancellation fees. Not anymore.

Several major hotel chains quietly imposed stricter cancellation rules recently, including Marriott, Hilton, and Holiday Inn.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Buried on the Marriott website is their announcement:

Marriott International is implementing a cancellation policy at hotels in the Americas including the United States, Canada, Caribbean and Latin America, across all brands with the exception of MVW and Design Hotels.

In an effort to better serve guests seeking last-minute accommodations, guests will now be required to cancel their room reservation 48-hours prior to arrival in order to avoid a fee. The revised cancellation policy will take effect on June 15, 2017 for reservations made on or after June 15, 2017.

So the old 24-hours policy is giving way to 48-hours advance notice (and at some locations, 72-hours) or the traveler will be charged for the first night’s stay.

Hilton followed suit announcing that reservations made on or after July 31, 2017 would incur a cancellation penalty of the first night’s stay if not cancelled at least 48 hours in advance. Some of their hotels will also have a 72-hour cancellation requirement as well.

And last, IHG, which runs Holiday Inns, Crowne Plaza, and Kimpton Hotels is imposing a 24-hour cancellation rule as of August 4 in the United States.

Once upon a time it was common for a hotel to allow cancellation as late as 6 PM on the expected date of arrival. No more. So be sure to check the reservations page so you know what policy applies at your particular hotel.




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May 29, 2017

Payless Car Rental’s Shady Practices Get National Spotlight

Filed under: Travel,Uncategorized — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:21 am

Last year, Mouse Print* brought you a story from Consumer World reader Marcie S. alleging that Payless Car Rental engaged in various shady practices that often left customers with much higher bills than they bargained for.

Complainants said they reserved a car at one price, but were charged more at the counter. Others said they declined optional charges like roadside assistance, gas refills, and additional insurance, but were charged for them anyway.

We tipped off our friends at Good Morning America about the issues and they took on the case. ABC News went undercover, hidden cameras and all, and discovered similar things happened to them too. Their story aired last week.



After receiving more than 800 complaints, the Better Business Bureau has now issued a national warning about Payless and given the company an “F” rating. (Text version of ABC story and BBB warning is here.)

The class action lawsuits filed last fall against Payless continue. The question remains, however, what are our state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission doing about Payless?




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