On July 11, 2012, my boyfriend received a fax at his office. He is employed by the airlines. The fax read that a special package was available for a limited time only to airline employees offering access to company vacation packages at a wholesale rate, in the following destinations: cancun, Cabo, jamaica, dominican republic, puerto vallarta, or mayan riviera. For 6 days & 5 nights with all meals included for $175 per person. You choose your dates and packages are open and valid for a full year. Guaranteed 5 star resort.
On July 23, 2012, I called to book at the phone number (877) 634-9804. The woman on the phone took $451 dollars from me by credit card and provided me with an internet address to "corporate travel network" where I can research the different resorts included in the network. She advised me to call back when I am ready to book.
On December 5, 2012, I called the number provided to book our reservation. [continued below]....
..... It rang and rang and rang and rang and rang... I was worried. Nobody answered and there was no voice message. Then I sent an email to the customer service stated on the website asking to book my reservation. The email bounced back as "no such existing address" so I immediately google'd the "corporate travel network" and the word "scam" to see if this was a scam. It came up with plenty of search results stating that others had also paid $451 and never got through to the booking company again.
I inquired with my credit card about the charge that was taken on July 23, 2012. The name of the company who took the money was "mdsresorts.com" (funny, it wasn't corporate travel network). I visited MDSresorts.com and found similar wording and images from Corporate Travel Network's website. They clearly just changed their name and image to keep running from whoever will catch them in their scam.
I wrote an email to the EchoSign email address (the address from which my receipt was sent for the charge) - mind you the email address was "firstname.lastname@example.org" - I should have known then that this was bogus because no real legitimate company would have their customer support @gmail.com. They would use their own domain name. The email came back with instructions advising me to call a new number at (877) 764-9967.
I called and was answered after 15 minutes of waiting time by a rude woman who called herself a "fulfillment center" and she said she is a middleman agent between the resorts and the guests, and will book our reservation for us. For a minutes, I thought, maybe I was wrong... maybe this isn't a scam after all. She provided me with ANOTHER website to look up the resorts we could chose from, at www.helpdesk1.info - another fishy web address. Again, same verbiage, wording, pictures, and resort names from the previous websites this scam had directed me to. Trying to stay positive, I provided her with the dates of when I would like to book. She told me that the dates I chose would incur me an additional $350 because of "peak season" - another hidden cost that was never included in my original reservation.
My skepticism increased immediately, as I could tell by her tone and attitude that this was NOT the way legitimate companies conduct customer interaction. I gave her the name of the resort we chose anyways. She put me on hold for another 10 minutes. She came back and said that resort was booked. She provided me with the names of the only three resorts that were available in our dates. She did not clearly pronounce the names and I had to ask her to repeat herself three times and spell the names of the resorts so I can research them. They were never listed on the previous websites I had been directed to.
I looked up the three resorts and not only were their websites in SPANISH, they were reviewed on TripAdvisor.com and had HORRIBLE reviews - they were NOT 5 star resorts as I had been promised and paid for. They were cheap, cockroach hotels with bad service, bad amenities, and all negative reviews.
Why would I have ever believed for a moment that a "deal" which came through a fax machine would ever be legitimate and valid? The run-around, missing personel, dead phone numbers and emails, redirection to different websites, dealing with awful people on the phone, and being forced to book a vacation at a resort which was never listed when they took my $451?
I called my credit card company and disputed the charge, claiming that the services for which I paid were not fulfilled. Luckily, my credit card company was able to retrieve the charge. Should the company chose to dispute the retrieval, they will need to provide documented proof against my claim. I assume this will never happen because this company is a scam rig, ripping off unknowing people who thought they were dealing with a legitimate business. This is nothing more than a complicated set of hoops to jump through until the person ends up in a shitty resort at double the cost they would have found through the resort itself.