While working for a Retirement Community here in Texas, we received a fax,on June 27, 2008, just like the one others received while they were at work.
To: All Employess
From: HR Dept.
Re.: Wholesale Vacation Packages
Reply To: Booking and Reservations at 1 800 679-3965 (This # doesn't even ring anymore today).
Supposedly, a vacation package at a wholesale rate to either Cancun, Mexico or Mayan Riviera for 6 days & 5 nights for only $361.00 pp. You choose your dates. Packages are open dated & valid for 1 full year.
So....I thought this was a great deal and I must be honest, I was skeptical. I also thought that it sounded too good to be true. So, I called the Booking & Reservations # to inquire.
June 2008: Spoke to John Moore at ext. 311. He told me his direct line is 800 731-2470. He somehow managed to convince me that this is legit so I went ahead and told him I was interested in the package. I asked him if they have a website. He told me it's lowestpricecancun.com. Gave him my credit card information. He then passed me on to a lady named Rachel who reviewed the charge over the phone. The whole conversation was being recorded. Told her that I will call & book my trip once I have my passport in place. Rachel then said that she will send me an e-ticket that I need to sign. I signed and authorized a charge of $798.00 which I was told is non-refundable. Faxed the signed copy back to (407) 363-1782.
October 2008: Called (407) 472-3320. This number was listed on the e-ticket as their Customer Service # to call to begin the Reservation process. Phone rang and rang then a recording came on. I was on hold for a very long time. Finally...spoke to Elisse. I tried to book my trip for April 2009. Elisse told me to call back in November. Too soon book. Reservations have to be made 6 months out. She said she can't access reservations this far out.
November 2008: Called several times. Phone just rings & rings. Sometimes I get frustrated I just hang up. Called again several times, same thing. When someone finally picked up, she told me that I should receive a call from Manjie. She is supposedly the Rep that will be handling my reservation. Never got a call back.
December: Got really busy with the holidays and didn't get a chance to call them back right away. Still haven't heard from Manjie. Called them again late in December. Finally got someone to pick up the phone. Gave them my April dates. I was told that the week of the 12th-17th is a holiday. There will be additional charges if I travel on those dates. Something like $300 more pp. I then said, ok, how about the 13th-18th. Same thing. I wish I was told this back in November. Now I'll have to pick out new dates and call them back again and they're so hard to get a hold off. Just getting them to pick up their phones is so frustrating in itself.
January 2009: Called the same 407 #. Got a recording that says, all circuits are busy, try again. Tried calling them all day long. Finally got them to pick. Again, the lady that answered the phone, told me that in 2 minutes, a lady named Sheila will call me back. 1 hour passed, no call from Sheila. I started getting more concerned about this vacation. I called them back, ring, ring ring, held for a very long time. Finally, I was transferred to Sheila. Not a friendly person at all. Gave her my new dates. April 18th-25th. Sheila said that this is peak season and travel on these dates will cost an additional $200 pp. I just sighed and asked her, ok, I am interested in the Cancun/Bel Air hotel. She said that the hotel is not available. I said, well what about the The Krystal. Not available either. She said I can stay at the Omni Cancun for an additional $299 (not sure if this is pp). By this time, I am already very irritated by all this. So I asked her, so when can I travel where I don't get charged more than what I already paid? She said after May 8th and only until June, after that there will be additional costs again and not to mention, I only have until July to travel. Apparently May to June is hurricane season. I told her I'd have to call her back.
Talked to my husband. He said just go ahead and book for any date after May 8. So I called back. This has taken my whole day already. Talked to Sheila again (she was still very unfriendly). I told her I'm interested in traveling after May 8. She said that she can't tell me if they have any availabilities in May because she doesn't have the dates yet. I asked her what do you mean you don't have the dates? She said, she can't access those dates at this time so I'll have to call again, say, next mont or closer to May. I couldn't believe it. I told Sheila...forget the whole thing. I told her it would be easier if I just booked my own vacation. I told her I want to cancel the whole thing. She quickly reminded me that the charge is non refundable. I told her that I know and I will no longer deal with them and I will just deal with my credit card company.
Anyway guys, bottom line is, I don't know if this is a scam or not. But I do feel that they are very deceptive. The more time in invest in trying to book this trip, the more I feel that I keep getting the runaround. I certainly felt scammed. I went on line to do some research on this company and I was not surprised to find that I am not alone in this experience. I even called the FTC to inquire about this and the lady I talked to told me that considering my experience with trying to get this trip booked, it is very likely that even if they were a legitimate business that their practices are very deceptive. I didn't know wether to call again in March or just give up on this whole vacation. Right now, I feel like, I will just run out of time to book this trip within the 1 year. I talked to my husband and he told me that even if we already paid for this trip, even if the charge is non-refundable, since we are in very good standing with our credit card company, he doesn't think that we'll have any problem at all getting a refund. We haven't gone on the trip and we have made several attempts to book this trip. I think this company has wasted enough of my time. The savings is simply not worth all the wasted time, the frustration & the headache.
I read that some of you are looking for a copy of the original fax? I have it. Do you still need it? I'll do a follow-up post to let you know how it will all work out with the credit card company. A lot of people seem to think (or know), that this vacation is truly a scam.
Victoria, TX. 77904, Texas