I received a postcard in the mail offering a complimentary cruise for two for five days and four nights. The card stated that this company was registered with the State of Florida as a Seller of Travel. They also stated that this was not a timeshare or land sale offer so my husband and I thought it might be worth checking out. I called the 1-888 number and was forwarded to a marketing company that was setting up appointments for World Vacations. They informed me that World Vacations was opening up a location close to my home and wanted to give me a free cruise in hopes of generating future business. They insisted that I didn't have to pay anything to receive the cruise except for the port fees and taxes. So I booked the appointment.
I'm an internet junkie and research everything before doing anything, so I started looking up this company on the web. The postcard was postmarked from Clearwater, Florida, so I did a search for the company at this location and came up with nothing. I did a search on the BBB site and found numerous reports with this name or variances of it with website addresses and phone numbers. However, when you try to go to the sites or call the numbers, they are no longer in service. This was my first red flag.
I figured a company that could afford to give free vacations away should definitely have a website, so I called the 1-888 number back and asked them where the new office for the company would be located. The lady informed me that she thinks they were still looking for a site and would meet us at a major hotel located in the area. Still wanting to know more about the company before both me and my husband took time off of work to meet with these people, I asked if they could give me a website address or phone number so that I could call the company to ask additional questions. They informed me that they are only the marketing company setting up appointments for World Vacations as were not allowed to give me this information. They said that I would receive all of that when I met with them in person at the appointment. This was my second red flag.
Still wanting to know more, I called the Florida Division of Consumer Services to inquire about their so-called licensed registration in the State of Florida. The lady I spoke with informed me that there was no listing in the State of Florida for World Vacations especially not in Clearwater, Florida. She also stated that the marketing company should be able to give me a physical address for the company with which she could verify their license. A P.O.
box is not sufficient and should be considered a scam. She also stated the following:
"If you're told you've won a free trip or travel package, Florida law stipulates that you cannot be charged anything other than the cost to get your prize to you. If it's mailed, you can be charged postage; if it's delivered by special carrier, you can be charged the carrier's fee.
Sometimes, however, you'll be told you've been selected for a cruise or vacation -- but you'll need to send an advance payment to cover certain fees. This should be a warning that you've been targeted for something that may be less than a legitimate offer.
Consumers who agree to pay the fees involved in the prizes for which they've been selected should be aware that they might not be getting what they expect. In a worst-case scenario, they'll discover they have nothing to show for their expense and only the courts to turn to for recourse."
Since I had already been told that I would have to pay taxes and port fees, I assumed this to be my next red flag.
Still wanting more information, I called the number again to inquire about an address for the company and told them that the Florida Division of Consumer Services stated that they should be able to give me this information so that I could verfity the legitimacy of this offer. Once again I was told that they were unable to provide me with any of this information and that I would have to attend the appointment to get this. Feeling that this was another red flag, I cancelled my appointment.
So although I cannot say with certainty that this is a Rip-Off, after reading other people's post that they have actually lost money. I wanted to pass this information on so that others would possibly NOT BE A VICTIM of World Vacations.