IT ALL STARTED ON A NICE SUNNY DAY IN NOVEMBER 2004. I received a call from Mini Vacations. The representative invited me to the presentation of Mini Vacations Travel Club in Tampa. He promised that we will get a free 7 day cruise if we agree to come and even if we do not become members. He also said that I will be responsible only for taxes and government fees.
The presentation was fantastic - people were shown that they can get fantastic vacations for fantastic low price! All they had to do was join Mini Vacations club for only $5000 membership fee!!!! And we saw people who got into it!!!
Before leaving this circus, we filed application for our free 7 day cruise. They promised that we could go on a cruise ANY TIME 90 DAYS IN ADVANCE.
When we got the certificate #88046 1 A and called Mini Vacations to plan our cruise in February 2005, the rep said that ALL CABINS ARE SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY and he can only offer us a cruise in low season - September 2005. This means that we would get our cruise almost one year later!!!
I was surprised and asked to talk to manager. The Manager, Anna, from Tampa office, extension #366, told us that if we are planning to go on vacation in February 2005 and do not want to wait one year, we can buy our cruise directly from Mini Vacation's. And she offered us couple of choices comparable with regular promotional price for cruise that we see in internet every day. But I told her that I do not want to buy the cruise, I just want Mini Vacation's to keep their promise to give us 7 days cruise where we are responsible only for taxes and processing fee, total $191 per person. But she continued trying to sell us different cruises.
I started to realize that MINI VACATIONS WAS MISLEADING PUBLIC BY PROMISING A FREE CRUISE BUT WRITING IN TERMS AND CONDITIONS IN SMALL-SIZE LETTERS THAT ALL CABINS ARE SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY. I wrote a letter to The President of Mini Vacations Michael Burke. Soon after I was called by his assistant Jag. He explained to me in a very polite manner that Mini Vacation's will keep its promise and we will definitely get our cruise, but in low season September 2005 to February 2006.
Later we spoke with supervisor Donna and did reservation for a cruise from Port Canaveral to Eastern Caribbean in December 2005. She gave us exact cost of this cruise for two people - $581.80. Initially we were supposed to get a free cruise and pay only taxes and government fees, totally $191 per person!!! Nevertheless we agreed and sent check to Mini Vacations which was cashed out in April 2005. She promised me call me back in April to confirm our reservation. I asked her about option send confirmation via e-mail but she said she is only able to call.
Nobody called me in April, not even in May. When I finally called Mini Vacations myself in September, their representative told me that they were not able to find me. But anyway my reservation for Eastern Caribbean cruise in December 2005 WAS NOT CONFIRMED!!! THE REASON WAS THE SAME - ALL CABINS ARE SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY. The representative suggested give my money back. When I wanted to talk to supervisor Donna, she said it's not possible because she took vacation. This rep constantly refused to give me her name and extension number!!! Finally, she told me that her name is Elsi, extension 365.
I STARTED FEELING THAT I WILL NEVER GET MY CRUISE. But I gave this company one more chance and rebooked my reservation to February 2006. Elsi told me that I will get confirmation in 3 weeks.
In 3 weeks I received a letter from Mini Vacations explaining to me that due to the hurricanes my reservation cannot be confirmed. I had to choose between four options. IN THIS LETTER THER WAS NO SIGNATURE, NO TELEPHONE NUMBER, IT LOOKED LIKE NOBODY IN THIS COMPANY WANTED TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT!!!! When I called to Mini Vacations to find out what fees and taxes I am supposed to pay in each option, THE REP TOLD ME THAT I WILL GET CLARIFYING LETTER WITH ALL CHARGES ONLY AFTER I REFUSE FROM MY EXISTING RESERVATION AND CHOOSE ONE OF THE OPTIONS!!! I WONDER HOW IT'S POSSIBLE TO BUY A PRODUCT WITHOUT KNOWING ITS PRICE??!!
According to this letter, if I wanted to keep my cruise, I HAD TO DO UPGRADE and the representative told me that MINI VACATIONS WAS HAPPY TO DO IT FOR ME FOR ONLY $700 MORE!!!! IF I WANT TO GO ON A CRUISE WITHOUT UPGRADE, I HAVE TO MAKE ANOTHER RESERVATION FOR LOW SEASON STARTING SEPTEMBER 2006!!!
I WAS READY TO WRITE TO NEWSPAPERS BECAUSE I WAS SURE THAT THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WERE IN THE SAME SITUATION WAITING FOR MINI VACATIONS TO KEEP THEIR PROMISES. I started with another letter to Michael Burke. After it I spoke with his assistant Jag again and he promised to help me to get a cruise in February 2006. It was in December 2005 and it was the last time I spoke with anyone from Mini Vacations. This silence started to make me nervous and i decided to call Jag. But his phone number was out of service as well as the other Mini Vacation's phone numbers. Their internet site disappeared.
MY SUSPICION IS NOW CONFIRMED THAT MINI VACATION SISTEMATICALLY RIP OFF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FOR THE PAST FEW YEARS AND THEY DEVELOPED MISLEADING STRATEGY. THEIR MAJOR IDEA WAS COLLECT MONEY FROM CONSUMERS AND PROMISE THEM MILLION TIMES THAT THEY WILL GET THEIR VACATIONS NEXT MONTH, NEXT SEASON, NEXT YEAR... AND SO ON.
I HOPE YOU CAN HELP US CREATE PUBLIC LEGAL CASE AGAINST MINI VACATIONS AND I CAN FINALLY GET MY MONEY $581.80 BACK!!!
south pasadena, Florida