October 1, 2011
GLOBAL TRAVEL SOLUTIONS:
Vacation and Travel "Club" Rip-Off / Scams ????
The below paragraph is a "form" of disclaimer on my part. None of what I address in this "RIP-OFF" REPORT contains any false statements. This report tells what I found to be fact and contains NO intentional inaccuracies.
The definitions for being "RIPPED-OFF AND/OR SCAMMED" vary, but all definitions pretty much mean the same thing. We were cleverly, skillfully, shrewdly & expertly mis-led to think we were joining, at substantial cost, a vacationing club which would save us so much money where-ever we chose to go. In reality, this club provided NOTHING or real value. To go a step further, I saw no way of even breaking even. I personally feel we have been SCAMMED / RIPPED-OFF, based on the below printed definitions which I copied & pasted from a few web-sites of which I have identified the publisher and or site. These definitions fit my situation perfectly. Below is my report, you can check the definitions at the end of this report and see if you agree.
This report accurately describes my regrettable introduction by way of a "presentation" to Global Travel Solutions. My lady friend of 25 years and I came as a couple. We were asked to attend a "presentation" along with "free gifts" as money and a 7 day cruise for two, to places of our choosing on a major cruise line. It appeared that this company was targeting mostly seniors as we and most of the others couples were. The initial questioning included our financial status.
Our vacations always favored cruises as that is where you get the most for your money. We wanted to try something new before we get too old, so we decided to try the "90 minute presentation" given by Global Travel Solutions.
Here is the details regarding the "free gifts". We were to receive a $100.00 cash certificate AND a 7 day cruise on any ship to anyplace they went. Sounds great, right... During the evening, we were personally asked if we would rather have a ticket for two for any scheduled airline to anyplace in the Continental US in place of the $100.00. Sure you'd take the ticket, that's worth more than $100.00, right -- WRONG.
The company Global Travel Solutions had behind these "come-on" gifts was "Eagles Choice". A company who does NOT have a listed phone number. Only an address where you MUST send "activation" fees totaling about $300.00 just to "activate" the certificates you were given by Global Travel Solutions. The $300.00 does not cover anything else. What you will have to cover additionally are all the taxes and extra hidden fees and surcharges which will you will have with the plane and cruise.
Because there is no phone numbers on the certificates, you have no way of getting any information on the air fares or cruise until you pay the $300.00. Then it is written that within 15 days you would received the "vacation documents".
Searching the Internet got me the phone number of "Eagles Choice" who answered under another name as "The Travel Center". They knew about the "freebies" from Global Travel Solutions. What I was told by The Travel Center representative was that the airline tickets for two to any place in the continental US had a limitation that you can only fly out on a Wednesday or Thursday and can only return on a Sunday.
This air line schedule makes it almost impossible to arrange the flight times to somewhat coincide with the "free cruise" time unless you are agreeable to paying for a few days in a hotel waiting for the boat to come into port to start your trip. Then, after the trip, hope you can catch the plane after you depart the boat for your return home with the "Sunday only" availability. If you miss your "free" flight, your option could be to pay for another 7 days at a hotel waiting for the next "free" Sunday flight or logically, pay for a return ticket, one way, last minute, very expensive, but still cheaper than a 7 day hotel stay.
It got to a point for us that with the forced fees to Eagles Choice, a/k/a The Travel Center, and the airlines with the limited travel, we scrapped the "two free air line tickets". We were told by an Eagles Choices travel representative that if the flight was full on the Wednesday or Thursday, we "could be bumped" due to our "promotion status" thus being replaced with a full paying fare. As for the "free cruise", be prepared for the lowest grade accommodations and dont assume you will get what you want. Also, remember that you also just paid about $300.00 in "activation fees" just to have the benefit of a "nearly free" trip. Dont forget those all those taxes, surcharges, etc. According to the Royal Caribbean agent I spoke with, dont expect any special treatment such as free available upgrades as may be the case as compared to paying travelers.
So now let us consider what Global Travel Solutions can do for YOU.
Have you ever been entertained to the tune of being asked for $10,000.00 to have a lifetime membership to world travel at discount prices not available to others??? That's "Global Travel Solutions" pitch we interpreted. If that isn't all, you also have to pay a mere $29.95 per month to remain an active member. Rounding that out, you pay an extra $360.00 per year indefinitely for WHAT? It gets you nothing!!!We (or you) may have already paid +/- $10,000.00.
The "Presenter" gets you all excited about what Global Travel Solutions can do for you by your viewing of a very well planned Power Point on screen presentation. After this, you are led into a small room with the "Closer", he is the next stop after the Presenter. He will sit across from you at a desk and make many more verbal statements as to all the money you will save with Global Travel Solutions, much like the "Predator" did.
I compared the Global Travel Solutions web-site to other travel and vacationing web-sites found, and considered "apple to apples" for each comparison as travel dates are critical for pricing. No other sites required membership and I was able to match almost every plan. All these web-sites had the same or better deals then Global Travel Solutions. THE PROBLEM here is much of what we were told at the presentation and by the Closer, in reality, we could not find to be true when applying our normal travel prerequisites.
The accurate and truthful (negative) findings are too numerous to go into detail, but I shall only elude to that which I personally found to exist after spending intervals every day for a week investigating many of our desirable vacation spots and cruises with the "usual and customary" times to travel.
Remember, the purpose of Global Travel Solutions, regardless of what they have in writing on the "multi-multi page contract (which had so much gobbly -goop packed into each page and passed onto you quickly for signature) DOES NOT CHANGE THE FACT that you are ONLY THERE WITH A (100%) INTENTION / EXPECTATION, AS REPRESENTED, THAT YOU WILL SAVE A GREAT DEAL OF MONEY for vacationing the "Global Travel Vacation Way".
As for what you expected from all this, you may even have signed a paper indicating what you wanted if they are still using that page. The Closer gave us a paper to list (write) three things we expected by joining Global Travel Solutions. This paper was signed by us AND the Closer. We understood the "Closers" own signing of this paper to mean that he knew what we wanted and expected, yet he said nothing contrary to our desires which was the basis of why we joined in the first place. Said in the simplest of words, Global Travel Solutions DID NOT PROVIDE ANY OF WHAT WE SIGNED FOR or expected on this paper.
Contract??? Its Bull s**t. To me, and I'm sure you reading this, as a simple laymen, what good is a signed contract when the COMPANY GIVING YOU THE CONTRACT DOES NOT PROVIDE WHAT THE CONSUMER CONTRACTED FOR??? I interpreted my findings that we (as you might also) were scammed out of our $6,500.00 (and possibly others for up to $10,000.00) plus $360.00 per year for NOTHING of value in return.
Also, now being $10,000.00 or what-ever lighter in your wallet, how do you know Global Travel Solutions will even be in business in the next 2 - 3 years to sustain this "lifetime" membership? The "Presenter" referred to Global Travel Solutions" as a well established company for decades. A well established company??? We could find no readily available phone numbers to speak with management to verify anything? No listing of any home base, not even in Florida where the Presenter said the company was started or is/was based. This appears to be a "PHANTOM" company and I distrust it completely.
I checked Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak. Hotwire, Expedia, PriceLine, CheapTickets, Smart Travel, OneTravel VacationsToGo, Cruises.com, CruiseOne.com, Cruise411, DiscountCruies and better then most was TravelZoo (the best deals) and AvoyaTravel for Cruises -- to all these names, just add a (dot) com These places have very good deals and again, no membership.
I found that Global Travel Solutions, with paying their multiple fees in addition to the membership fees in the $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 range gets you almost NOTHING of which was promised at the presentation in terms of the represented savings under "normal" circumstances. I say "normal" because anyone who elects to travel during the worst travel times of the year will get very good savings anyway because so much more inventory is available during that time and bargains are there for the taking.
The time of year of these impressive savings was never revealed in the "presentation", only the savings. Remember, you could probably get the same bargains by shopping without Global Travel Solutions and just think how better your $10,000.00 could be used.
Europe is a desirable location, full of sights and history. Checking the Global Travel Solutions web site found very little, in fact, many destinations were not even listed as an available vacation spot. The only place I found any of my selections was under the "Net Rate Hotel" category.
Unfortunately, the "Net Rate Hotel" category listed by Global Travel Solutions offered NO real discounts. At times, I found the same hotel to be cheaper on other sites. In one instance, I found a 4 star hotel in Paris was cheaper on TravelZoo by $700.00 for the SAME week and accommodations as compared to Global Travel Solutions.
If you consider seeing Paris, London, Spain, Greece, Germany or Ireland, your better off with TravelZoo.com. The hotels listed with Global Travel Solutions (Net Rate Hotels, Reward Hotels or Resorts and Condos categories), did not match any of the TravelZoo packages.
I found a very good trip on TravelZoo to Italy for two. It included a week at an upscale hotel on the Amalfi coast, RT airfare from NYC and a week-long car rental for $999.00 plus tax. I called Global Travel Solutions at their given number, another company answered. The best they could do was $300.00 more.
As said in the beginning, cruising is our favorite. This is the only simple part of this report. Cruising rates are ALL pretty much the same where-ever you look with the exception of Global Travel Solutions. For any given date, the destination, number of days and name of ship and departure port, Global Travel Solutions may, at times, show a higher cabin rate (as compared to Royal Caribbean) or some other Cruise sites which only appears to make the Global Travel Solution net cost with the "special discount" look better.
You can select a cruise on Global Travel Solutions and get a "special price" resulting in $120.00 to $160.00 +/- savings (total for two people), or in another category from Global Travel Solutions you stay with the published price and I believe Global will send you about a 10% rebate check. The special price or the rebate check, same result. It will be an average savings of about $120.00 to $160.00.
So with these savings, you would have to take two cruises a year (usually does not happen) and using the higher savings figure of $160.00 X 2 cruises, you've saved $320.00 that year. Where does that leave you after youve paid the $360.00 yearly membership sustaining fee? Your out +/-$10,000.00 plus $40 ($360.00 less $320.00) and youve vacation twice. Where does all this leave you?
What I have also found was that with a cruising agent, you can many times get "cabin credit" of $50.00 to $200.00 to be used in any manner as dollars depending on the accommodation. I was also able to get a guarantee of a better category than what I paid for, with the agent. These perks are possible because the Cruising agencies have worked out arrangement with the ships when they buy clusters of rooms as a package and pass the savings onto the client.
I was not able to get any of these perks with Global Travel Solutions. Checking "apples for apples" (with ALL factors being the same), I did find that Global Travel Solutions, in a few instances, was on the average, $10.00 to $20.00 cheaper per person on the cruising, but when you put this figure against no cabin credit and/or no guarantee of a better cabin category, this could net out at a (guestimate) loss to you of $20.00 to $120.00 per person (when you loose the cabin credit and agent given upgrade).
Needless to say I regret ever hearing the name Global Travel Solutions. Note that NO place in this report did I say DONT join Global Travel Solutions and NO place in this report did I say that YOU will be scammed. Im just reporting that which happened to us and what I found after extensive research. I feel we were scammed and I, at my age have better use for my money than to be scammed out of it for nothing of value in return.
Common sense would dictate that unless you are a person of super-natural being and a genius able to see through that which, on the surface, looks great do you think you will be treated any differently than I was? There are two sayings that I found in life to be "written in stone" along with the Ten Commandments as Im sure you have heard:
If it sounds or looks too good to be true, it isnt". and
"Buyer beware" and in this case, be very aware.
In closing, can you get out of this if youre already stuck?
I have been trying to establish the fact that we tried to cancel this arrangement, but with the multitude of non-working phone numbers and those that I did get through on, only one person called me back, I explained the reason for cancellation. He said he would void the contract, but I never heard from him again and the contract was not voided.
I checked the BBB in New Jersey. They had eight (8) complaints on file, but no details were given. They also had a phone number for Global Travel Solutions on 20 Craig Road in Montvale, NJ, as 201: 326-4042 but calling it numerous times found that it was NOT a "working number".
In ascertaining a number for the building at 20 Craig Road in general, got me to an answering service who did NOT represent Global Travel Solutions but told me that they know that Global Travel Solutions rents space for presentations a few evenings a week and she only knew their phone number to be 201: 326-4242 (similar to that of the BBB). I called that number, it too was NOT a working number.
When I called other numbers on the paperwork given me by Global Travel Solutions, it got me to a travel planner sub-contracted and not a direct employee of Global Travel Solutions. When I asked these people for the number of the company, an executive or manager, they could not or would not tell me. I sent a fax to the number on the paperwork for cancellation, but the fax machine may not have been on. With a number of attempts, the fax started but never cleared and I know my fax machine works well.
If any of you reading this happens to actually find a working number for Global Travel Solutions with the home office in Florida or where-ever, please publish this number on "Rip-off Reports" so I and others can use it if necessary.
If others of you have a similar complaint, feel free to reply to this "rip-off complaint" as Ill be monitoring it twice a week. Meanwhile, I suggest you contact the BBB and specifically ask them who else you should call if you had or have a problem. There are many agencies that would be interested in this besides the BBB, I know the Attorney Generals Office could help. You might also ask the same question of the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357.
Now for the definitions of Rip-Off and Scams. Does or could fit your situation.
Definition of SCAM
A confidence trick, confidence game, or con for short (also known as a scam) is an attempt to intentionally mislead a person or persons (known as the mark) usually with the goal of financial or other gain. The confidence trickster, con man, scam artist or con artist often works with an accomplice called the shill, who tries to encourage the mark by pretending to believe the trickster.
As found on
rip-off (rpf, -f)
A product or service that is overpriced or of poor quality.
To exploit, swindle, cheat, or defraud: a false advertising campaign that ripped off consumers.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 2000
cheat, con (informal), scam (slang), con trick (informal), fraud, theft, sting (informal), robbery, exploitation, swindle.
HarperCollins Publishers 1995-2002
A product or service that is overpriced or of poor quality.
An act of exploitation.
Something that is not worth what you pay for it.
(Definition of rip-off noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus Cambridge University Press)