Yesterday (1.29.09) I received a voucher in the mail. The sender was addressed as Administrative Offices of IMCL: Imperial Majesty Cruise Lines. The outside of the envelope read "Free Bahamas Cruise For 2 Enclosed...no strings attached". The naive me proceeded to open the envelope to get the scoop on this so called trip to the Bahamas (bad mistake).
Enclosed was a "voucher" booklet containing the logos of Universal Studios, Imperial Majesty Cruise Line, Ramada Plaza Resort, Budget & Alamo. Seeming legitimate I continued to read more... The voucher had highlights "Congratulations...You've been identified to receive a FREE Two Night Caribbean Cruise for two adults!*" "Please call Toll Free 1-800-635-8523 in the next 72 hours to claim your FREE "Fam-Trip" Cruise." So guess what? I called.
When I called in a lady by the name of Marcia answered - probably not her real name now that I think about it. She proceeded to ask for my confirmation number (which began with a #4). Excited I gave her the number. She then went on the explain that I had won a free cruise sailing outside of Ft. Lauderdale. The only out-of-pocket money would be Bahamian taxes ($99.00 per person) and if my fiance and I decided to have cocktails or to gamble aboard the ship that would be our expense. Ok... Sounds good. Cruise for 2 for $200...
She then explains that since she has me on the line she would like to offer me the extended stay package which would total $598 to include:
3 nights at the "Gold Key" Ramada Plaza Resort in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
2 nights at the "Gold Key" Ramada Plaza Resort in Orlando, FL.
2 Night Bahamas Cruise with all meals, live entertainment and activities.
Fun guided tour of local beautiful vacation ownership resort.
7 Days transportation by Alamo/Budget Rent-A-Car with unlimited mileage.
Then she continued to say that if I acted now I'd also get:
3 Days and 2 Nights in Vegas
4 Days and 3 Nights in romantic Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
My mother always told me, "if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is". But eager - I ignored the voice that alarmed in my head.
The lady continued to give me further details including her Corporate ID# (S08328 - fake I'm sure); She told me I would be responsible for all flights as well... She then wished me congratulations as she transferred me to "Matthew Grant" their promotional manager. Matthew was to give me more details. He explained that I could only call in once. So I had to book now or my voucher could be given to someone else.
A young engaged student I immediately thought of my honeymoon, told the man I didnt have $598. He put me on hold. When he returned to the phone he said, "If you're a college student we can take $299 now and your pay the rest 30-days before the cruise". Happy I was like GREAT! I then felt weird though. I asked, "is this some sort of SCAM?" He said "Ma'am Ramada has been in business for 80+ years. We're using brands like Universal Studios, Budget etc. if anyone has a lawsuit, it would be them". Buying into his sweet talk I went into my wallet and gave him all my information! (STUPID ME!!!!!!!) Matt then said congratulations and wished me all the best in planning my wedding.
I was then transferred to the "Security Department" where I would authorize the charge and receive all last minute information. Information I received was the website: www.florida333.com; the number to Matthew Grant 954-739-4000 and the customer service line 1-800-203-9783. I was given a password to check my purchase online as well and was assured a package would be sent in the mail.
Next day (1.30.09) I wake up, go to work and try to login to the website given. Nothing works. So I start to feel a little weird. I Google online "Imperial Majesty" and Google finishes my sentence "Cruise Line Scams". Shocked! I click and that leads me to this website you're reading right now. I found so many stories of people ripped off by this very company. They had the same stories (different names though). Immediately I called my bank to tell them of the charge made on my account! Thank GOD I bank with an amazing bank prepared to assist in these types of situations. I dispute the charge and the bank flags the company! Everything solved there!
I little spiteful I get home and call the numbers given by the Security Department. They all lead me to the "real" Imperial Majesty and the "real" Ramada Inn - who have no clue who I am or what I'm talking about. So I call the voucher number first pretending to be a new customer. The lady sounds just as excited as the day before. I act interested and calmly I say "How does it feel to wake up every morning knowing you're going to scam someone out of their money". She hangs up. I call back and I begin to go in a rage about how they are rip offs and will one day get caught - the lady laughs and hangs up. One man even told my father (when he spoke on my behalf) that I would not receive any type of refund and I knew that when I spoke to the prior - LIES! ALL LIES!
I think to myself, "I'm not getting anywhere so I'm going to stop calling". My phone rings. Guess who it is? Some man sounding like Matthew Grant telling me security is coming to my house. I yell, "They'll get you before they get me (and some other words)" - he yells back but I hang up.
Say I'm stupid. Say I'm dumb. But you having the opportunity to read this just saved you from making the very mistake I just made! Hope this helps :)
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Ramada