BBB Warning: Cruise Promotion Too Good to Be True

August 08, 2014

With the cost of travel skyrocketing, consumers are increasingly susceptible to fraudulent offers for special deals on vacations, and Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning vacationers to be wary of joining 'travel clubs’ and redeeming ‘vacation certificates’. Complaints to BBB show that many travel clubs promise huge discounts on hotels, airfare, and cruises but fail to deliver for members despite the high cost of joining. The travel club companies lure you in to sales presentations by offering vacation certificates just for attending. Consumers quickly find out that in order to redeem the vacation offer there is a non-refundable deposit required.

Most recently North Texas consumers received a mail piece touting 8 days and 7 nights cruise for 2 on Norwegian Cruise Lines. When you call the number to redeem your prize you are schedule to attend a 90 minute ‘vacation club’ presentation hosted by International Travel Solutions at several local hotels in Wichita Falls. On your way out the cruise voucher that lured you to the presentation is offered through a separate company by the name of Travel Select Rewards. The BBB in Arizona is not currently rating the business because the BBB has recently received numerous complaints against this business, and will issue a rating after it has fully evaluated them.

A recent BBB investigation has found that consumers are very curious about the promotional mailings. Unfortunately, they are often disappointed when they find out that the awards notifications are merely promotions to get consumers to attend high-pressure sales pitches for expensive travel club memberships that don’t deliver on promised savings. The trip you receive in exchange for attending the session is far from FREE and very difficult to schedule.

To avoid the negative experiences of those consumers already taken by this scheme, BBB offers the following tips:

  • Check prior to attending a travel club presentation;
  • Be wary of offers that claim you’ve won a contest that you did not enter;
  • Be wary of solicitations that fail to disclose the name of the soliciting company, in this particular promotion there were 3 unaffiliated companies involved;
  • Be wary of sales staff who use high pressure sales tactics or tell you that the offer is only good that day;
  • Be wary of suspiciously high savings claims that you aren’t able to verify prior to making a purchase;
  • Research your right to cancel prior to going to a sales presentation;
  • Only attend a presentation if you are actually interested in what the company is offering, not solely for the promise of a gift;
  • Be wary of companies that conceal their identity or are vague with the details. This could be a sign of a fly-by-night distributor; and
  • Be wary of companies that use generic names or work out of what appears to be a short-lease office space. Hotels are popular locations to host sales presentations.

 For tips you can trust visit