• Report: #209577

Complaint Review: FloridaWay Dream Escape

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  • Submitted: Tue, September 05, 2006
  • Updated: Wed, September 06, 2006

  • Reported By:Jacksonville Florida
FloridaWay Dream Escape
2655 Ulmerton Road Unit 407 Largo, Florida U.S.A.

FloridaWay Dream Escape ripoff Largo Florida

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: HERE'S THE ACTUAL SCRIPT THEY USE!

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: YOU CAN FIGHT BACK! HERE'S HOW THESE CROOKS DO IT!

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I got a call from one of the associates of FloridaWay Dream Escape and he caught my interest by stating that I had won a tarvel packet. Curious I stayed on the line and spoke with The individual. I tell you this guy spoke so fast, Icould barely understand him but at some points I could. He did inform me that we were being recorded and proceeded with his script he asked for my acount number for whatI throught was in order to enter you had to have a active bank account. He said something about 149.00 and then transferred me to another lady which is when I stated i was not interested, which was not recorded by the way. Next thing I know unautorized activity is going on in my account. Money is debited with a paper check and I'm out of 149.00. I call back and they are no longer the nice associates i spoke with earlier these are evil, rude jerks. I have requested a refund in writing and hopefully I'll get it. What if I don't? What do I do? I feel stupid, voilated and helpless. Please help me.

Crystal
Jacksonville, Florida
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/05/2006 02:36 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/FloridaWay-Dream-Escape/Largo-Florida-33762/FloridaWay-Dream-Escape-ripoff-Largo-Florida-209577. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

HERE'S THE ACTUAL SCRIPT THEY USE!

AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

Many people have complained about being debited even before receiving anything. How can they get away with this? Well, I am posting ONE of the scripts the agents use while on the phones. I say ONE b/c many agents there reword the script just to make a sale. I have a copy of a NON APPROVED script. Here is the regular script they normally use. Read below.

HERE IS AN ACTUAL SCRIPT THEY USED OR STILL USE.

When they call people they use this Script.

*Agents Travel Network Script & Verification!!!!

Hi, (Customers name)

My name is __________ I'm a registered agent calling on behalf of *Agents Travel Network (or Travel Agents Direct which is what it's called now) in regards to your bank account. As a valued customer we are going to send you $400.00 in American Airline Saving Vouchers and two free nights of hotel accomodations, just for accepting a 14 day free trial into our *Agents Travel Network program.

* Note: IT IS NOW CALLED TRAVEL AGENTS DIRECT

This program will give you the same hospitality benefits usually only available to travel professionals, such as discounts of up to 50% on cruises, rental cars and airline tickets. You'll also receive major discounts at thousands of resorts and hotels nationwide, including Hilton, Marriot and Radisson and you'll save a ton of money on selected theme park tickets. Your membership will arrive with your own personalized Agents Travel Network (now TAD) identity card.

After your 14 days, if you decide to keep it, it's only $19.95 a month billed to your checking account, with a one time activation fee of only $40.00. If you decide to cancel, just call the 800 number in your package during your free trial period, you'll never be billed, and there's no further obligation, Either way you still keep the airline vouchers and your free hotel accomodations, as our way of saying thanks for looking over the program. So you can't lose!

Now we will be shipping your package to (Verify Address) is that correct?

How does your name appear on your checking Account?

If different from customers name: are they authorized signer on this account?

What is the name of your bank?

And you opened your account in (Customers City and State)

Now we are going to pull up your information to confirm that everything is correct. Please Hold.

(Obtain the nine digit ABA routing # from your manager)

OK, (Customers Name) I'm going to verify your ABA routing number that's on the bottom left hand corner of your check book. If you can follow along with me to make sure the numbers are correct. (Confirm ABA Routing Number with customer) Is that Correct?

** Now there will be a symbol after those numbers I just verified with you, please go ahead and verify the next set of numbers, which is your account number.

Thank You!

** Note: ASSUMING YOU GAVE THEM YOUR INFORMATION THEY THEN PREPARE TO RECORD THE CONVERSATION FOR BILLING PURPOSES. NOTICE ON THE RECORDING SCRIPT BELOW THAT THERE'S NO DATE SO YOU DON'T KNOW WHEN YOUR TRIAL PERIOD ENDS. THE ONLY DATE THEY RECORD IS THE DATE THEY CALLED YOU ON. ALL THE AGENT TELLS YOU IS THAT AFTER TWO WEEKS WHEN YOU RECIEVE THE PACKAGE IS WHEN YOU WILL BE BILLED IF YOU DON'T CALL TO CANCEL. PROBLEM HERE IS THAT YOU NOR SUNTASIA KNOW THE DATE YOU'LL GET THE PACKAGE EXACTLY B/C IT IS SHIPPED REGULAR MAIL. THIS IS SO THEY CAN CHARGE YOU AT ANYTIME IF THE PACKAGE EITHER NEVER ARRIVES OR GETS TO YOU LATER.

Verification Must Be Read VERBATIM.

Thanks for holding, the remaining portion of this call will be recorded OK??
(Must get affirmative, YES, OK, OR CORRECT) I'm speaking with (customers Name) and todays date is __________.

Now we will be shipping your package to (Customers Address) Is that correct? OK. Great ! And I'm showing your telephone number as (read customers telephone number back) For security purposes we need to attach a password to your file. What city were you born in ?

And what is your email address? These will act as passwords whenever You contact us.

How does your name appear on your checking account.

If different from customer name: (Are you an authorized signer on this account?)

What is the name, city & state of your bank?

Now, please read your routing number back to me that starts with a 0,1,2 or 3. Now please read back to me the account number that YOU PROVIDED. Ok great.

After your 2 week trial period, the program is just $19.95 a month with a one time activaction fee of $40.00 billed to the checking account YOU JUST PROVIDED to us. If you decide to cancel your membership, just call the 800-number in your package. Theirs no further obligation and the airline vouchers and hotel vouchers are yours to keep just for accepting the membership for the first 2 weeks. With your permission we'll rush your Agents Travel Network card (Now TAD) and materials to you and your benefits will start immediately. OK?

If funds are unavailable upon deposit after the free trial your bank may charge you a processing fee.

Now, (Customers name), you qualify for 2 additional packages

FLORIDA PASSPORT UPSELL!!! (Changed to Floridaway)

As a new VIP member The Florida Passport (FloridaWay) would like to sponsor your first travel agent fam trip. Its called the Fun in the Sun Dream Escape, you'll receive 6 days 5 nights of hotel accomodations in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. You will receive this on a 7 day free review basis. This fam trip is subject to blackout dates of Christmas, New Years & Special Events. These vacations are fully transferable and will be sent to you with a travel date of 1 year from today, which can be changed at no additional charge. This vacation package comes to you risk free for 7 days. If, during your free review period, you do not call to cancel,the promotional fee of only
One Hundred Forty-Nine Dollars will be applied to the checking account we have just verified with You. OK? Great. (Must Get an Affirmative, Yes, Ok, or Correct)

TELEFLEX COMMUNICATIONS UPSELL!! (Changed to Prism Communications)

As a Special Bonus you will also receive a free 21 day trial of unlimited long distance with voice mail from Teliflex communications (Now Prism). This has nothing to do with your home phone its in the form of a calling card and comes with a pin number. You can use this service from any touch tone phone at your home or office and call anyone, anytime, anywhere, coast-to-coast and talk as long as you want, free for 21 days. If after your free trial you decide to continue its only $49.95 a month billed to the checking account used today and thereafter, but keep in mind you are under no obligation to continue. If You feel its not for you simply call the customer service number within the free trial period and you will never be billed its that simple So with your permission under the terms described your billing information will be transferred to TELEFLEX Communications (Prism) and they'll send out your free trail in the mail. OKAY?? (must get an affirmative)

*** Thank you for your time and have a good day/night.

*** Note: You are told to hang up immediately and not engage in any other conversations with the customer b/c he or she might end up asking too many questions.

END OF SCRIPT..

Notice a few things on this script. I capitalized some words purposely b/c it lets you know how they get away with charging you. The words are Now read back to me the account YOU PROVIDED or . . .billed to the checking account YOU JUST PROVIDED. This places YOU responsible NOT them for giving out your information in order for them to have the right to bill you.

Also, with Suntasia there is no SPECIFIC date when the trial period begins or ends. They don't know when you will be receiving the packages and that is where the confusion starts.

On the recording it says:

"After your two week trial period the program is just $19.95 a month billed to the checking account you just supplied to us. If you decide to cancel your membership, just call the 800 number in your package. There's no further obligation and . . . . . . . ."

HHmmmmmmmmmm. . . . Let's see what's wrong with this picture?

Well for starters the word "free" is not found after the word "your" and before "two" even though the agents stress it's a "free" trial before the recording began.

Also , there is no SPECIFIC date when your "trial" (NOT "free" trial) period starts or ends. All the agents tell the customer is that when you recieve the package in the next 7 to 10 business days, your "trial" period will begin two weeks from then. Unfortunately, Suntasia REALLY doesn't know when the package will arrive to them (if they sometimes ship it out at all) and thus the billing can start at any time. It has happened over and over again where customers have complained about being charged, not receiving their packages or they got it very late. Many have been charged even before the package was sent out to them or on the day of recieving it. What is Suntasia's response to these complaints? It's the U.S. Postal Services fault. Yeah, pass the buck will you! Some have been able to get refunds but that's after struggling to get through customer service and it's 3 different phone numbers that ALL lead back to the same place, Suntasia Marketing.

Another thing that sticks out is they tell you to call an 800 number that's on your package to cancel the travel program but on the second package (Florida Passport or Way) they just say to call and cancel. On the last package (Teleflex or Prism) they say to call customer service # to cancel. Why? Because the truth is that they have 3 different numbers for you to call if you want to cancel everything. The agents are told NOT to give this information out to the customer in fear that they may cancel on the recording. They are also not allowed to give out the customer service number b/c many of them cancel everything on the same day.

When the customer starts asking questions like, Do I have to call 3 different numbers to cancel everything? The agents are told to say, if you have any questions or problems just call the customer service number on your package and they will handle everything. The customer might ask what is that number and the agent will say, it will be on your package the day you get it. The truth is that any numbers that the customer sees on the packages or gets from the agent themselves ALL lead to the same place Suntasia Marketing customer service department. When you call they tell you in order to cancel the other two packages you must call these numbers. Again it ALL leads back to the same place. They do this to frustrate you enough so you get tired of trying to cancel thus buying enough time to be billed later.

As for the travel discount card and the 21 day trial calling card, if you don't send back the travel card you'll get billed. The calling card has to be de-activated, by you writing a letter to them to do so, otherwise you'll get billed. Another thing is even if you liked using the calling card (most of us have cell phones so there's no need for this unless you are that dumb to pay $49.95 a month for long distance), the pin number often doesn't work at all and you constantly have to call in to customer service to either get it fixed or get another pin number.

Some have posted in other forums that they were told by the agent they needed to confirm your bank account number b/c the shipping & handling fee is $1.95 and we need your number so we can debit your account. THIS IS A BIG FAT LIE!! IT'S ALL A TRICK!! There is no $1.95 b/c Suntasia ships out the packages (if they ever REALLY do) through regular mail and they pay for that. Of course once they bill you then they make that money back and much more. This is why the agents are told to add the other two packages (FloridaWay which is a timeshare and the calling card) b/c that is where their profit is made. The $19.95 travel card just covers cost of the regular expenses (lights, security etc) in the company.

Hopefully this will bring you more insight on how these crooks work. I also know what rebuttals they use in case the customer has any objections to the products they sell. I will post those in the near future.
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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

YOU CAN FIGHT BACK! HERE'S HOW THESE CROOKS DO IT!

AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

The following information is on a company that preys on getting a customers bank account by giving away supposedly free airline and gas vouchers.

BUYER BEWARE!!

The programs they promote are marketed by Suntasia Marketing in Largo, Florida. The "free" gifts they use to sell this junk which is the gas vouchers are just coupons you send back to them with your receipt from the gas station you made the purchase from. They supposedly give you $100 worth of gas vouchers but you can only turn them in $10 a month at a time. Not ALL gas stations participate by the way. You have to be a member of the program to use them otherwise they are useless.

The airline vouchers (I believe it's $400 worth) DOES NOT cover the cost of your whole ticket either. You have to spend for every $500 airline ticket purchased you get $25 off with the vouchers. You can only use the vouchers a $100 increments at a time per ticket. The rest has to be paid by you. There are also many restrictions for using the vouchers in the fine print. Of course the agent makes it out to believe that the vouchers cover the whole airline ticket. IT'S A LIE! The managers at Suntasia will often admit this to their agents but of course they are not allowed to let the customer know. They are told to promote the "free" gifts or vouchers. Make NO mistake about it their only objective is to obtain your bank account information to debit you later.

Suntasia Marketing are the ones who promote ALL these shameless products like Travel Agents Go Direct, FloridaWay, Prism Communications, Distinct Advantage and Freedom Gold.

Suntasia's corporate address is:

8751 Ulmerton Road,
Largo, FL 33771
Telephone: (727) 471-0276

Their website is: http://suntasia.com/

There are about 8 rooms total that hold about 24 agents in each. Six of those rooms are outbound (an automatic dialer that calls you), the other 2 rooms are for inbound calls (people who call in and are curious about who called them or maybe have a complaint). There is also one big room for customer service ONLY where they're suppose to handle the cancellations or any other concerns from customers, like being billed without having the product in hand. Any phone numbers the agent gives you for their products they're selling (Travel Agents Direct, Floridaway, Prism Communications, Distinct Advantage, Freedom Gold etc), ALL lead to the same place, Customer Service Dept. at SUNTASIA MARKETING in Largo. They tell you to call 3 different numbers to cancel your packages but they do that to frustrate you enough so you won't.

AGAIN ALL THE NUMBERS GIVEN TO YOU LEAD BACK TO THE CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT AT SUNTASIA.

As for the calling card, many have been charged anyway despite cancelling over the phone. This is b/c you have to write them a letter stating that you want to de-activate the card and no longer want to use it otherwise you'll get charged. It also isn't surprising to find out your card didn't work. Most of the time it doesn't and people have to either get the pin # re-set or get a new one altogether.

They con you into receiving ALL their offers b/c that's how they make their profit. The first offer is the "Travel Discount Card" for $19.95 a month. This charge covers their cost (IE: lights, security, maintenance etc) of running their shameless company building. The $149 and $49.95 is their gravy or another words, PROFIT. The longer they hold your money in the bank the more interest they will make on it. Now you know why they give you the 3 different numbers to call.

Many times agents have stated that you have "won" this "free" vacation or that b/c you purchased a product at Costco or Walmart, this is how you qualified. ALL A BIG FAT LIE! They bought the names and addresses from a company that sells the lists. The agents prey on gaining your trust and making you think their free vacation or gas vouchers is a once in a lifetime deal. Forget it! In times of high gas prices and over worked families it is easy to fall for their pitch. Their main goal is to obtain your checking account and once you give that up, chances are you will be charged before you even get the package.

When I first started working there (I don't anymore of course) I remember managers bragging and joking about how dumb people were that they didn't check their bank accounts for months sometimes even years not aware that the $19.95 was being taken out of their checking account. This is why they tell their unsuspecting customer over the phone that they have over 30,000 active clients. The truth is the word should be 30,000 unaware clients. Funny thing is, they also tell the customer they've been in business for 10, 20 or even 35 years (pick a number) which should be a big red flag when you consider they only have 30,000 clients.

Nothing surprises me any more about this company. They are certainly getting lots of attention from people around the country, state attorney generals offices and the media. Copy and paste the link below on your address bar to see the first news story that was done July 6, 2006 on Suntasia Marketing by the ABC Affiliate KOMO Channel 4 News in Seattle exposing Travel Agents Go Direct. Same routine, free gas and airline vouchers.

http://www.komotv.com/buyerbeware/story.asp?ID=44298

Distinct Advantage was also exposed on August 23, 2006 by the ABC Affiliate KETV Channel 7 I-Team in Omaha, Nebraska. Copy and paste the link below on your address bar to see the news investigation done by reporter Carol Kloss basically saying that Distinct Advantage (which is under the Suntasia umbrella) is a scam.

http://www.ketv.com/iteam/9727067/detail.html

As long as you don't tell them anything, for example: what is the name of your bank and where did you open it at, then you're safe. If you did, then call your bank immediately and inform them to close the account then open up a new one. This way they can't take anything else out. Banks are becoming increasingly aware of these crooks. Suntasia Marketing which promotes Distinct Advantage and other programs is part of FTN Promotions (Florida Travel Network) which is currently being investigated by the Florida State Attorney Generals office for illegal debiting of checking accounts.

If you visit other sites (click below) and type in the search box Suntasia Marketing or "Distinct Advantage" you will see there are many, many people out there ticked off with this company.

http://www.ripoffreport.com/ (Type Suntasia or Distinct Advantage in the search box)

(((ROR REDACTED LINK FOR SECURITY PURPOSES)))

Google (Type Suntasia or Distinct Advantage in the search box)

If you've been ripped off by this company, I suggest you contact your State Attorney Generals Office.

IN FLORIDA THE ATTORNEY GENERAL NEW FRAUD HOTLINE (((ROR REDACTED PHONE NUMBER AND LINK FOR SECURITY PURPOSES))

They have been caught by the government before with deception. Here is the link.

(((ROR REDACTED LINK FOR SECURITY PURPOSES)))

Finally, I suggest you close your account and get a new one. Let your bank know what's going on. They can give you a refund providing you do this within 60 days. Believe me they are very well aware of this scam and will understand your situation.

I hope this information I just gave you has made you understand how things operate at Suntasia.


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