Bear Country Vacations in California is not a reputable travel organization. They're also based in several other locals and have different names.
Thrifty Travel and Net Travel mall baited us and switched the companies accomplishing the travel reservations until we got stuck with Bear Country. Trying to get refunds has taken a year at this point. After the Atorney Generals got involved (in all except CA, which is why she is doing business there), our money was finally refunded.
I've read many complaints about the abusvie nature of this individual (Patricia Anderson), so be ready for it.
On 6/21/04 Thrifty travel said, " I did hear from Patricia Anderson from Bear Country. She e-mailed me that you would be receiving your refund with in 3-5 weeks of $360". Well, a year later and we are still waiting. Thrifty doesn't even try to answer anymore.
Travel with these companies employs "bait and switch" tactics and misrepresentation where there is no full disclosure at any level. After writing to the State Attorney Generals and Better Business Bureaus in Kentucky; Maryland; California, Connecticut, money has been refunded by everyone except Bear Country. They also lied to Thrifty Travel which appears to post the bait and switch offers before they pass off costomers to the next level (there is a fee at each level). Bear Country Travel said in writing they would refund our money. That was back in June 2004. The travel was supposed to take place in June of 2004.
On UBID Thrifty sold certificates that cover the cost of a group instead of 2. Six of us were supposed to travel and I really only needed to buy 1 certificate.
How many more people are being ripped off, by these companies. Others who have posted information about Bear Country get abusive dialog from the company.
Somehow Net Travel Mall was involved in this scam, too, but they have since refunded our money after a call from the State Attorney General. On Thrifty tried to work this out Net Travel and Bear Country just don't answer anyone, not the Better Business Bureau nor their respective Attorney Generals.
Scam companies appear to be protected by CA law. They have a Travel Restitution Board...but it only protects California residents!! See below what the State Attorney General of CA posts as warnings. So atleast if you are from CA, you can follow this information and get some help.
THE PROBLEM TRAVEL FAILURES & SCAMS
Vacation tours are generally paid for in advance. Consumers complain that some of the travel services
purchased for a tour were not delivered as promised and that, in some cases, the seller of travel went
bankrupt, or absconded with the consumer's moneys.
One of the most common scams involves a promoter who entices a consumer with "free" hotel rooms if
airline tickets are purchased directly from him or her; in these cases the air fare paid by the consumer is the rate paid if a ticket is purchased the day of the flight, a rate that is much higher than the economy ticket rate which the promoter pays to secure the ticket for resale to the consumer. The "free" rooms are often
inadequate, forcing the consumer to pay for an upgrade. In brief, the cost of the free room for the promoter
is more than covered by the profit he makes by selling the consumer the higher priced air tickets which he
bought at the economy rate.
a) A new California law, effective 1/1/96, protects California travelers from travel business failures,
under certain circumstances. The "Sellers of Travel Law" requires anyone who sells tours with air or sea
transportation to register with the State Attorney General. Even agencies located in other states must
register with the Attorney General if they do business in California - that is, sell travel to Californians. The seller's registration number is to be displayed in advertising and on contracts. It is illegal to sell tour services and not be registered. Therefore, only do business with registered sellers of travel when air or sea travel is involved. The Office of the State Attorney General can verify if an agent's registration is valid. Send the seller's name and registration number to the following address to verify that it is current and in good standing:
Office of the Attorney General
Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
b) Pay by credit card, do not allow the travel seller to debit your checking account. See "Identity
Theft/How To Fight Back (g)" for process of obtaining a credit on your credit account for undelivered
services. In September 1995, a major cruise line shut down. Consumers who paid by credit card for
canceled cruises had the charges erased from their account within 24 hours while those Californians who
paid by check had to go through a cumbersome reimbursement process which lasted over one month.
c) The rule that "if it sounds to good to be true, then it isn't true," should be considered when examining
travel promotions with "free" hotel rooms or cruises. Also, promotions may be offered at times when the
weather in exotic locales is not suitable for vacationing. Practice comparison shopping and consult with
d) Ask the travel agent to write out as much detail on your travel as possible. If you require special diet
food, then have that condition specified where necessary. If a trip to a foreign country involves ground "transfers," have the agent specify the type of transportation and length of the trip. For example, one couple purchased a tour to Cost Rica which included a transfer from the airport to a luxury hotel. Unfortunately, the transfer was by way of an old car which took five hours to reach the hotel. The consumers in this case expected a short ride from airport to hotel.
e) Don't leave home without your airline tickets. Be skeptical of tours where air transportation tickets
will be waiting for you.
HOW TO FIGHT BACK
a) If you buy air or sea travel from a California travel agent or tour operator, your travel is protected from losses due to business failures and fraud, provided the seller is a legally registered seller of travel.
Depending on the cause of the loss of service, the consumer may be eligible for up to $15,000 in coverage of
losses. Your travel agent may be able to facilitate claims, unless, of course, the agent is the problem. In
either case, claims must be filed with the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation (TCRC) within 60 days
of the date which the traveler knew of the loss(es). File claims with the TCRC by writing, as follows:
Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation***
P.O. Box 6001
Larkspur, CA 94977-6001
*** Warning...this is a new state program without a proven track record for making timely payments to
b) If you deal directly with a sea cruise line, you're protected from losses by federal law which requires
that cruise lines be bonded.
c) Exercise your credit card chargeback rights.
I am glad to see there is a place to voice complaints. The CA State Attorney General needs to hear from people about this company: Irene Chavez, Staff Services Analyst; California Dept of Justice; Attn: Public Inquiry Unit; PO Box 944255; Sacramento, CA 94244-2550