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How do I know if a USA travel agent is legitimate?
I'm from the UK and have got a quote from kingdom magic travel, it's a great price but I'm not sure how to check if the company is legitimate. They lady seems lovely and so helpful but I am a little concerned as in the uk travel agents work very differently to the US ones.
Sorry if these are silly questions but
Please can you advise if you have heard of this company and if its ok and also how to check USA travel agents for validity.
Clare Loves Stitch
"sometimes the right path is not the easiest one"
Grandmother Willow - Pocahontas
Proud DVC owner at BWV from March 2011
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I've known the folks at Kingdom Magic for many years, though I've never booked travel with them. They don't participate here on the PassPorter message boards, so I'm not sure how many PassPorter folks will know of the agency or be in a position to make a personal recommendation, though asking in our WDW, DLR, or DCL planning forums is always a good step. (Only travel agents and some moderators can reply to posts in this forum.)
Generally, travel agents in the U.S. are required to register with their state authorities. Those requirements vary state by state, and I'm not certain that every state requires it (some states have a strong interest in consumer protection, some states lean more towards "caveat emptor"). Kingdom Magic's site lists their Florida Seller of Travel number. This registration number helps you to check with (or complain to) the state agency in charge of such things. You'll very commonly see a "CST" number on web sites as well. This is "California Seller of Travel," and many web-based agencies will have this, as it's required of agencies both inside and outside of California that sell to residents of California. Again, it's not a seal of approval, but a license number. Here's the California Attorney General's web site, which explains how it works. It's common to see two registration numbers on a site - the agency's home state registration number, plus California's. Each state has different licensing requirements, but commonly, in addition to conforming to the state's general business registration and taxation requirements, the agency must also follow certain financial/insurance requirements in order to safeguard their client's payments.
You'll also often see the logos of the IATA (International Air Transport Association), CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), and others. Both of those large industry organizations offer agent/agency training/accreditation/certification programs. I'm not sufficiently expert to explain specifically what the IATA and CLIA logos on an agency web site represent.
"Authorized Disney Vacation Planner" also has meaning, as it indicates the agency has a contractual relationship with Disney and that it conforms to specific Disney requirements. Again, I'm not sufficiently expert to explain all the specifics.
I trust that the agents here will fill in the gaps, and explain where I may have gone wrong .
Co-Author, PassPorter's Walt Disney World, PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line, and PassPorter's Disneyland and Southern California Attractions
Florida Seller of Travel requires some rather large bonding requirements. And each agent who does business with anyone in FL is required to register and pay a fee each year. It wasn't worth it to me so I don't work with anyone from FL.
But anyone show the CLIA or IATA logos should be considered "legit". Both organizations watch for improper use of their logos.
One thing to be safe is to make sure the agency doesn't directly handle your money. When a client gives me their credit card numbers I call it directly to the supplier and the charge shows up as that supplier. As long as this is what you are seeing you should be vary safe.