My wife and I received a card in the mail offering an incentive (free trip / discount on a trip) if we attended a sales presentation by Reservation Services International (Tinton Falls, NJ). As we were in the market for a new travel agency, we decided to attend.
The staff worked the crowd (perhaps 8 couples), which included a PowerPoint presentation offering bought-in-bulk / sold-at-wholesale discount travel vacations. The cost of membership was listed at $8995 plus other sign-on and yearly fees.
During a total period of two hours, a sales representative (Jon), and individual identified as his manager, and an individual identified as an office sales manager tried to convince us of the value of their deal. My wife and I had three requests. The first was a desire to review, for ourselves, the kinds of travel vacations, destinations and discounts their web site allegedly offered. This was denied. (In the office: yes on our own: no). The second request had to do with the organizations reputation. (One should spend serious money with those one knows and trusts, or at least has the opportunity to research via the web or BBB.) The third had to do with the contract, regarding its terms, exclusions, limits, etc. It was upon asking for the opportunity to better understand the firm and review their contract that we were shown the door by the sales manager.
So we were not the victims of a monetary loss, just the loss of an evening. But being denied the opportunity to review the contract terms struck me as being unethical and potentially illegal, hence the filing of this report.
While a rip off was successfully avoided, the big lessons learned here were simple. Always ask to see, and review, any contract before signing. If a deal is good today, and will be offered to others next week, there is no legitimate reason why an offer made to you cannot be accepted after you've done your due diligence. Walk away if you are not given the opportunity to review the contract, or must put money down to do so. When you ask to better understand the merchandise (in this case the breath and value of vacation values) and you are instead get only a for-you-a-better-price pitch, seriously question the value. Finally, pay careful attention to your surroundings. For a travel service allegedly in business for more than a decade, there were precious few indications in their offices, or on the marquee outside, that they had been in business for any length of time. When there are no family pictures on the desks, only stock art on the walls, and the stories about families, ages, and vacations taken have inconsistencies, consider all this a red flag.
We were given a vacation voucher, as promised, upon or leaving. The Perfect Select Rewards voucher appears to have little value based on numerous experiences reported by others nationally.