I'm not sure I can classify this as a complaint, but certainly not a commendation. However, I post it here so others may be aware of a few things.
This seems to be a legitimate company, but with a very high complaint rate with the BBB: http://www.bbb.org/south-east-florida/business-reviews/vacation-certificate-and-voucher-promotion-services/ramada-plaza-resorts-in-fort-lauderdale-fl-27000137. (BBB rated them an F - lowest rating.)
I received a call for a 10-second survey and then a free cruise on 2/29/12, and for sure the survey is a come-on. The salesman was very good and the more I said no, the more "treats" he 'threw' in and the better the price got. After an hour on the phone, I had bought 3 days 2 nights in the Ramada Ft Lauderdale; 7 day free Alama car rental; 2 n 2 d outside ocean view cabin cruise to the Bahamas on the Bahamas Celebrity; $50 in match money (gambling); 3 d 2 n in the Island Seas 2 br condo - all of this for 4 people (some extra charges for the 3rd & 4th person) and for only $706. Good price, I agree.
After hanging up I thought, 'What the heck did I just do?' I didn't want the vacation and I was relying on getting siblings to go with me to share in the expense, which was stupid to impose on them in that way, and since I had to "buy it now," I couldn't even confer with them.
I remembered that in some states you have 72 hours to cancel a sale if you were solicited (*not* if you went to them - but if they came to you). So after seeing so many forums with complaints against them), I was quite concerned, and decided to try to use that 72-hour law. So I called them the next day. However, after understanding I wanted to cancel, they put me on hold and after 30 minutes, I hung up.
However, the following day (38 hours later) I called, planning it when I had lots of time, and got through to the *first* round in only 15 mins of holding. Then I got through to the next round and finally was able to get an email confirmation that they canceled my package and my CC would be refunded $706.
If you purchase something like this, then realize you made a mistake, here are some tips:
1) Cancel within 72 hours (not sure of law in all states, though). If you can't get through via the phone, get an address, and send a certified letter requesting cancellation and refund. Their address was on my credit card activity which posted about 24 hours after the transaction.
2) Stay calm and friendly - other reports say the company hung up on them, or yelled at them, etc. I did not experience this, but I did experience frustration with their insistence on going through their routine before I could insist on my money back. I think remaining calm and friendly, complimenting them and telling them it is a generous offer but I still want to cancel, helped make them easier to work with.
3) They will try to find out your reason for canceling - they have a new sales pitch for every reason you have to cancel. Try not to give them *any* reason, especially time or money - that's their easiest one to counter with you. Here are some examples:
ME: 'I just changed my mind.'
THEM: 'But something must have appealed to you when you decided to purchase it.'
ME: 'I can't think of what it could have been now,' or, 'The pressure to buy-now-or-lose-it,' seemed to work for that question.
THEM: 'Have you been to Fla or on a cruise before.'
THEM: 'What cruise lines?'
If you lie about having been on a cruise to the Bahamas or whatever your package is, be prepared to have the name of a cruise lines available that actually sails out of there. I didn't tell them my cruise was 40 years ago!
Don't come up with any answer that they will be able to counter against. They are in sales - they will re-convince you to keep it and they are GOOD. You already purchased once - chances are they can get you again. Stick to your guns. They even will cut your price in half and possible more, taking out part of the package, of course. Financial reasons / time reasons you give them WILL NOT GET YOU OUT of a new sales pitch. They will keep digging for something they can work with. Be vague, don't give any tangible answers. 'I just want to cancel.'
Keep in mind that the first guy that handles you does not have authority to cancel it, but he needs to go through his 'protocol.' Be patient with him/her and don't agree with any reasons he suggests to you or he will focus on that and try to make you look stupid for wanting to cancel (kind of like a cross-examination - they want to catch you with your words). He would never answer me directly each and every time I asked him if he had the authority to cancel my package. His answer was (and this is a verbatim partial transcript of our recorded conversation):
HIM: "I have the authority to be able to assist you, ma'am. You called in for assistance and that's what we're here for..."
ME: "Can you cancel this, yes or no?..."
HIM: "Okay, I'm not refusing your rights for that; I have a job to do I have a protocol to go through."
ME: "Will you answer my question?"
HIM: "I have answered your question."
ME: "No you haven't. I said, yes or no, can you cancel this for me?"
HIM: "I will not refuse your rights towards cancelling but I have to at least do my job."
Since I could see I wouldn't be able to pin him down I let him do his job, thinking carefully before answering any of his questions. One answer I calmly gave to something he said about 'working this out' was, "I don't want to work this out, I want to cancel it." That seemed to get me to Round 2 [ding, ding!].
Round 2: Similar tactics, same firm replies I gave back, "This sounds very generous, but even so, I still want to cancel." I tried to remain calm and *patient* throughout, and when they could see that I wasn't giving any answer that they could work with, they canceled.
The entire ordeal took 1 hour and 9 minutes. And I have an email with a confirmation and the amount they are crediting my credit card. With that, if they do not credit my card, I can dispute it easily with my card company.
From what I've Googled, this is a legitimate company, but your vacation may not be as wonderful as it sounds and there will most likely be added costs when you get there, like all the hotel taxes, possible transportation costs in the Bahamas, additional port fees for persons 3 & 4, and additional food costs, etc.
If you cancel within the 72 hours, good. But they seem to be a company that will hold you to it after that. You can extend the time frame in which to take it - out to three years (but the forums I read don't have very good things to say from people who tried that).
Think about it -- this *cruise* is really just a ferry to the Bahamas -- the day you board it (that's your first day and you'll just be getting settled in), sleeping on it while it sails to the Bahamas (1st night), docked in the Bahama's while you're out and about (2nd day), and sleeping on it on its way back to Florida (2nd night). You'll hardly be on the ship.
I'm sure that if you don't expect 5-Star accommodations and all, and if you are prepared for every additional cost, you'll have a decent time. But I can bet you when you go and book that trip with a date, they will give you more reasons to buy more of something else. Be prepared for another sales pitch.
Sorry this is such a novel, but I hope this helps someone. These mistakes are very taxing.