Watch out for the lesser-known flight comparison websites and their brokers.

Using a flight comparison web site these days is a sensible thing to do. It gives you a comprehensive idea of what’s available and can work out even cheaper than booking a flight directly on a low cost airline’s web page. Many of us have happily bagged a genuine bargain.

But beware of the lesser know sites, especially if a broker asks for an immediate deposit without a flight confirmation. Sea Breeze Holidays, based in Perivale, Middlesex, were named and shamed recently in the Daily Telegraph for failing to refund a customer’s £100 deposit when they were unable to provide flights to Japan on the agreed dates. Sea Breeze has since promised on a number of occasions to return the deposit but has failed to come up with the goods, leaving an angry customer out of pocket.

Try to use a flight comparison web site that links directly to an airline website and be especially careful when using flight brokers who ask customers to phone rather than book online. Reputable brokers will not ask for a deposit before confirming flights in writing; they should be able to hold seats for the agreed price until they receive payment from the customer. And check that there is no fee to pay if flights are cancelled before ticket issue (Sea Breeze charge £75).

Make sure you use well known sites and reputable brokers so that you end up saving money, not being out of pocket!

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