Trying to save money? Read the fine print!

Trying to save money? Read the fine print!

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

It seems a common thread among RVers is that of trying to get the most mileage out of the travel dollar. Whether shopping for cheap gas prices or the lowest rates on RV parks, you can count on RVers to do their shopping. But be careful, not every deal is a great deal — slow down and read the fine print.

This is certainly true for a woman trying to make reservations for Yosemite National Park. Not an RVer, the woman was shopping for accommodations in the park’s lodge, and she turned to an Internet site called NationalParkReservations.com. Sounds about right, huh?

She was good and happy to book 10 rooms for her extended family. She was completely turned on her head when her credit card was dinged — not only for the rooms — but an additional $758 charge for the reservation fees.

Turns out, the Internet site isn’t affiliated with the U.S. Government or the Park Service. But when we visited the website, front and center of the home page is the disclaimer:

“National Park Reservations is a reservation service providing lodging and activity reservations both inside as well as in the gateway communities of the United States National Parks. National Park Reservations is not an authorized concessionaire of any National Park nor are we in any way affiliated with the National Park Service of the Federal Government …. For this service, National Park Reservations charges a 10% non-refundable reservation fee based on the total dollar amount of reservations made. This reservation fee will be billed separately to your credit card and will be billed under the memo ‘National Park Reservations’.”

Call it a $758 reading lesson.

The reading lessons also apply when shopping for other RV stuff. The Internet auction service eBay is a great resource for finding hard-to-find RV parts and supplies. But always, always read the advertisement closely, and pay attention to shipping fees. If you’re not completely certain of what the seller is offering, don’t plunk down your money — send the seller a request for more information.

Pay close attention. Folks like these may not be illegal, but they’ll be happy to take your money and run.

photo: CJ Sorg on flickr.com

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