Mike gives a warning over holiday visa scams

new-medway

News from Medway Council website

Holidaymakers are being warned by not to be misled over websites associated with travel insurance and visas.

The warning comes from Medway Council’s Trading Standards Team.

The EHIC – The European Health Insurance Card – will provide families with medical treatment throughout Europe and is available free through the NHS. Consumers can get more information from www.ehic.org.uk

Some commercial websites charge for these documents and have paid for adverts to appear at the top of internet search engines. Don’t be fooled by these adverts. These companies will charge up to £20 per person to check applications

The Office of Fair Trading has taken action against a number of these internet based traders who misleadingly supplied EHIC which resulted in three sites pledging not to engage in deceptive practices and fourth site being suspended.

Similarly prospective holidaymakers travelling outside Europe may find similarly confusing information on purchasing their visas. If you are travelling to the Unites States of America it now vital to obtain an ETSA which typically cost $14 from the US Department of Homeland Security. Some commercial sites on the internet have been found offering the ETSA for a fee of $39 per person. Consumers are advised to approach https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ for further information on visas to the USA.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Customer Contact Cllr Mike O’Brien said: “Hopefully this warning will help residents avoid paying out for avoidable and often unnecessary extra charges when booking their holidays.


“It is important for consumers to always question the information supplied by internet search engines and not always assume that just because a site appears at the top of the results page it is automatically an official website.

“I would strongly urge residents to do their homework and to check the terms and conditions in the small print on these websites.

“If anyone is unsure I would advise them to contact the NHS website, the Government site responsible for issuing the visa or Consumer Direct by visiting http://www.direct.gov.uk/ or call 08454 040506.”

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