Flurry of 'Free' Travel Offers Carry Strings Cautions BBB

August 20, 2014
BBB Offers Roadmap to Navigate Promotions

Have you recently received a postcard with an enticing image of a cruise ship or airliner congratulating you on receiving free flights, travel vouchers, or hotel accommodations? These promotions are generating curiosity around Maryland neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, recipients are often surprised when they find out that the award notification is merely a promotion to get them to attend high-pressure sales pitch for a travel club membership. Many of the promotions fail to disclose the sponsoring company's name, address or direct contact information. 

Reports to BBB suggest that oftentimes the free promotion is far from free and difficult, if not impossible, to redeem. 

To avoid disappointment from a promotional travel offer, BBB offers the following tips:
  • Look for transparency. Is the company offering the freebie identified on the card and do they list their physical address?
  • Investigate the company or website, if provided, at bbb.org prior to signing up for a presentation. Next, check the phone number and if you still can't find anything type the number into your web browser to look for information.
  • Be wary of offers that claim you've won a contest you did not enter.
  • Be cautious of vague or incomplete details.
  • 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.
  • Watch out for high pressure sales tactics or sales reps who tell you the offer is only good if you sign up today.
  • Only attend a presentation if you are actually interested in what the company is offering, not solely for the promise of a gift.
  • Research your right to cancel prior to going to a sales presentation.
  • Be skeptical of making a purchase based on high savings claims before you are able to verify the facts.

    For more tips you can trust visit bbb.org.
Pictured below are actual solicitations received by Maryland consumers: Travel Club Postcard


Travel Club Postcard Inside