The travel agent story reminded me of the last time I used an agent--DH received a travel voucher/coupon for a work anniversary, that had to include airfare, and be booked by this one company.
before calling the agent, I researched and chose the city and even the flights and possible tours we wanted, and with combined deals, had a nice combo package. All I needed was a hotel with breakfast provided in a nearby location to selected events.
Well, the agent claimed that her flight deals were better, with the same airline, but her prices were higher and her times were worse. (kids were at camp so had limited time) She claimed she could not get package deals.
I finally got her permission to book everything myself, I did all the work, but because of the company voucher deal that I had to "use it or lose it", she still got a decent "cut" and received payment for nothing.
And since she was basically the owner, no one I could report to.
DH no longer works for the company that gives away anniversary vouchers, but I heard similar tales from a friend who received the same voucher from the same company. She did not take the time to do her own research, and afterwards found that the family spent about 2k to "use" their 1k voucher. yikes!
With my on-line shopping and deals, we almost pennied out to 1k. And had a great time without the kids!
Admittedly, the friend took her whole family on a longer trip, further away...but I am sure she could have saved more doing her own work.
I, too, will avoid travel agents in the future.
As for banks, there are many many
reasons I really like my credit union.
For one, both my teens have accounts there, and they have always been treated with respect.