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Booking travel online offers lots of perks — the ability to compare prices and scour online reviews among them — but it also comes with some risks. And recently, certain scams that target consumers booking travel online have been popping up more and more.

SiteJabber.com — a website that was partially funded by the National Science Foundation, where consumers review online businesses — analyzed data for MarketWatch to look at what types of travel complaints were popping up most this year among consumers who booked their travel online.

Founder Jeremy Gin says that he’s seeing “significantly more” complaints about something he calls the bait-and-switch, where consumers think they’re getting one thing and end up getting another. “This kind of practice has been around forever, but it seems to be amping up, ” he says.

To be sure, sometimes consumers may feel like they’ve gotten the bait-and-switch trick, when in fact it’s that they simply didn’t read the fine print or understand the terms. And not all online reviews of online travel agencies are accurate. Still, Gin says that the concentration of such a high number of complaints about certain bait-and-switch-type issues may mean there’s something shady — sometimes legal and shady, and sometimes not legal at all — going on with some online travel booking sites. Here are four of the issues he says are on the rise.

1. We have no record of your booking travel.

This happens when a third-party site claims to have booked travel and takes a consumer’s money in payment for that, but the hotel or airline has no record of them having done this. While this is rare (and usually illegal) it’s happening more often this year than last year, says Gin.

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Source: www.marketwatch.com
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