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LETTERS

Good guys deserve their due

August 15, 2004

I wish to comment on "Unofficial Park Sites Can Cost You" [Travel Q&A, Aug. 1]. I represent a privately owned vacation rental company called Yosemite's Scenic Wonders (www .scenicwonders.com) that specializes in renting homes and condominiums in Yosemite West, Yosemite National Park.

I applaud you for educating your readers on the importance of reading the fine print and knowing with whom you are doing business. However, your advice to the consumers challenges the validity of legitimate businesses such as mine.

Your statement advising your readers to book only at official websites listed at www.nps.gov is damaging to my business. The only official website listed at that website is Delaware North Inc., the contracted concessionaire for Yosemite National Park and a major competitor of mine and many other local, smaller lodging operators in the area.

Then there is your advice to "beware of toll-free numbers." Yosemite's Scenic Wonders owns (888) YOSE-MITE and (800) 2-YOSEMITE, and your statement suggests that we could possibly be a scam. For years, our guests have been making reservations through our toll-free numbers. We provide excellent service and follow up with reservation confirmations, maps and park information to avoid any misunderstandings.

I provide comfortable, affordable lodging, and have many satisfied and grateful patrons who return year after year.

Your statement "Watch for sold-out scams" again gives a negative impression. Yosemite National Park in peak season usually books up a year in advance, and at most times throughout the year it is difficult to obtain lodging. If the public followed your guidance, they could miss out on a wonderful opportunity to experience Yosemite National Park with other nonofficial park lodgings.

It is tough enough competing with the big establishments (with their large marketing budgets) in and around Yosemite National Park without having to also deal with bad publicity.

Ken LeBlanc, president,

Yosemite's Scenic

Wonders Inc.

Santa Monica

*

Boy, did Laurie Berger hit the nail on the head. I just got caught with the same problem as she described, and I have been a travel industry professional for more than 25 years. After looking up a company's website, I called and made a reservation by phone; the company neglected to advise of penalties, and it e-mailed my written confirmation, again not advising of cancel penalties. I canceled, and have found penalties on my Visa.

Thank you for sharing your information with the public.

Jeanne Porro

Laguna Niguel

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