• Report: #1118788

Complaint Review: Saver Express/Happy Family Travel

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  • Submitted: Mon, January 27, 2014
  • Updated: Mon, January 27, 2014

  • Reported By: Baron — Winchester Virginia
Saver Express/Happy Family Travel
8870 N Himes AV, Suite 656 Tampa, Florida USA

Saver Express/Happy Family Travel A really expensive travel agent that doesn't deliver value Tampa Florida

*Author of original report: Update in dealings with Happy Family Travel & Saver Express

*Author of original report: Yes, I am serious. Quite serious.

*General Comment: Are you serious?

*Author of original report: Saver Express has not performed in the timely manner as presented

*General Comment: One More Time........

*Author of original report: Not utter nonsense or a figment of my imagination

*Consumer Comment: Utter Nonsense

*General Comment: What is th Real Problem with your "complaint"??

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 We attended a presentation January 6, 2014 at the Best Western in Winchester, VA. We received a "free" cruise and airline ticket through a third party vendor that required a refundable deposit of $99 and $75 respectively. We also must pay a non-refundable per person processing fee of $75/$25 when the certificates are used. We paid $3994 for enrollment into Saver Express / Happy Family Travel travel club with the expectation of receiving discounted hotel, condo & timeshare rental. There is a 3-day cancellation policy, but registration for the website takes one of those days away. They called two times in the first week to see if we had registered there yet. A simple 3-day trip has resulted in $450-$500 for the hotel portion - not the accommodations I requested either. Concierge Nicole Quinto has not delivered the search results within a timely manner as yet. I have called them four times to ask where the results are and what is taking so long. Two and a half weeks later and still nothing decent has been found. Their inventory is limited and the hotel wholesale releases they get are not available where and when I wanted. One night in New Orleans, really? While trying to navigate the poorly designed and jumbled appearance website, saverexpress.com, the elusive $75 for a week last-minute condo rental has yet to be found (although in the presentation there were 19 different offerings). They have posted on each page that if you don't see what you want to call them. Their search engines are 1980's technology at best. Overall, this has been a $4000 mistake that we cannot be refunded for. Run away from signing.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/27/2014 01:54 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Saver-ExpressHappy-Family-Travel/Tampa-Florida-33614-1627/Saver-ExpressHappy-Family-Travel-A-really-expensive-travel-agent-that-doesnt-deliver-va-1118788. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report

Update in dealings with Happy Family Travel & Saver Express

AUTHOR: Baron - ()

We booked two hotel rooms with Saver Express in Mississippi and New Orleans, LA. They took three weeks and many phone calls and emails exchanged to complete this task. They first stated their slow response was because Happy Family Travel entered the wrong email address. They had it when they sent a "welcome" email to us within the first 24-hours but lost it somehow when we requested lodging two weeks later. When all the dust had cleared, the accomodations they offered was nothing other than an Expedia search. They offered hotels 20 miles out of the cities we requested and in Motel 6 and the like that was returned through their Expedia search. Also, they only listed one room with two double beds for 5 travelers when either a two-bedroom suite or two rooms was requested. No lodging was through their "exclusive inventory", bed & breakfasts, resorts, or anything other than Expedia listed hotel rooms. We researched and asked for specific rooms to be booked at Residence Inn(s) (ones that Expedia didn't return results).

The booking company Saver Express used was Travelscape (travelnow.com), a subsidiary of Expedia. I dealt solely with a concierge in Tampa, FL. Without my knowledge nor consent, these required PREPAID reservations with my Visa card went through a Paris, France office via the United Kingdom, alerting my bank's fraud department. There were also foreign exchange fees imposed because they used an overseas booking office. My bank suggested canceling and reissuing our credit card and place fraudulent charge disputes for the reservations. We did this immediately to prevent further charges from any party Saver Express released my information to. This essentially moved money offshore for a U.S. hotel stay to foreign entities to finance who knows what - all U.S. tax free. They could be a terriorist network for all anyone here knows. Saver Express is a Hong Kong, China company.

Happy Family Travel had no part in this booking, so I still don't know what they are charging such extravagant prices for "membership" into this Travel Club. After the ineptitude Saver Express displayed for booking travel, we requested our "membership" to be canceled twenty-eight days after we signed this contract and money to be refunded from Happy Family Travel. HFT had Saver Express cancel the portion of our reservation that could be refunded without asking nor telling us about this. We ended up being able to book two rooms instead of one for $20 less than Saver Express booked at the same hotel. They were not registered to conduct business in either the state of Virginia nor the city of Winchester on the date of our presentation, January 6, 2014. They did not have a surety bond issued to cover claims nor a separate escrow account to hold money paid during the three day cancellation period (seven days in Virginia) as is required by Virginia. They eventually sent a $3595.00 refund with a $399.00 (10%) restocking fee (for what product?) being kept. They contend this is what we signed in the contract; I contend the contract is invalid as they were not a registered business in Virginia. I reported them to the State of Virginia and the investigator tried to obtain the remaining $399.00 paid, without success.

Here is what I take away from these scammers:

They want your timeshares for their "exclusive inventory" so the members of the scam companies can travel year-round, sometimes for others to stay. If you signed your timeshare over to them, they usually pay in "travel credits" to be used with Saver Express. Care should be exercised to determine who owns the timeshare and who is responsible for paying maintenance fees yet. Many of these companies require the ex-owners to keep up the maintenance fees while they retain use of the timeshare. Once the fees go unpaid for the resort's specified time, the ex-owner has foreclosure proceedings started and reports sent to the credit bureaus for unpaid accounts. The resorts then resell the timeshare and the ex-owner only has a bad credit rating to show for their trouble.

All Travel Clubs are a sham. Happy Family Travel and Saver Express spend exorbinant amounts of time and money to stay hidden from public view. All press releases I could find about Saver Express were from them and posted by a Search Engine Optimizer company to enhance Saver Express' reputation. These SEO companies are paid by other companies like Saver Express to bury negative reviews and legal action through these phony press releases and manipulating search results through search engines like Google and Bing. Happy Family Travel's address in Grandville, MI is an industrial building for a company Mail Forwarding Inc. They pass all correspondence on to HFT as they have no brick and mortar office. HFT is registered in Pennsylvania and Delaware as these states allow businesses to utilize registering agents to further hide who they are (unless you pay to see the filing). No list of directors, officers, addresses, nor contact information is ever listed for Happy Family Travel or Saver Express. The ones I did find for Saver Express were either single-family homes owned by trust entities or strip mall locations.

The consumer is on their own to get restitution from these companies. They are very well-versed in deception and keeping things barely legal in their dealings. Saver Express is especially dangerous as they are an international company gaining massive amounts of financial data on U.S. citizens. Saver Express has an injunction against them in New Hampshire to stop its sale in the state. Happy Family Travel was in New Hampshire after this injunction was in place (around Dec 30, 2013) selling Saver Express anyway. This is evidenced from postings on their Facebook page when the agent (Bob Preston) from the hotel (Seawalk Suites in Hampton Beach, NH) is asking for payment for HFT's stay there. Channel 13 (WGME) in Maine did an investigation of Happy Family Travel for doing the same ripoff as was done to me in Virginia (wgme.com/news/features/investigation/stories/13-investigates-vacation-club-complaints-8.shtml#.UyjtQPldVCg).

The best advice I can give to anyone in regards to "membership" into these exclusive travel clubs is: Don't.

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#2 Author of original report

Yes, I am serious. Quite serious.

AUTHOR: Baron - ()

Once again, bobhodges1971, you question my integrity and aim a personal attack my way with no excuse nor reason for doing this. I was not the one that used the Better Business Bureau rating concerning Saver Express, you did. They have since gone from a B+ rating with 17 complaints filed on January 28, 2014 to an A- rating with 15 complaints filed on January 29, 2014. Not sure where the other 2 cases went to. Statement of facts, not love of their rating system. Due diligence plays no part in this point for me, only you for using a statistic that is not supposed to be used in any sales presentation. I never "complained" about the incentive gift received for attendance. I stated I was never told of the fee associated with using the certificate when booked nor of the refundable deposit required to activate the certificate when the appointment was made. I didn't hear of the processing fee when booked at the presentation. I read about it once the certificate was received at the end of the presentation. Read also at that time was the stipulation only cashier's check or money order were acceptable forms of payment for activation. Again, no "complaining", only a head's up for anyone who may attend a presentation in the future. I seem to comprehend the difference between a third party vendor and Saver Express after all. I read my contract when given at the presentation. Due diligence performed. I used the service as prescribed and it was not delivered as said by either Happy Family Travel at the presentation or Saver Express per their contract. A week is well beyond the 24-72 hour window of response time for said request posted earlier. The accommodations asked for were also not delivered - either two rooms or a suite for 5 travelers. I hope when you use your service you receive better results. I too, intended to use this service frequently, hence it's purchase.

Upon it's first use it has proven to only be someone looking for hotels for us through Expedia comparison. I expected through Happy Family Travel at their presentation and on Saver Express's website video (and guarantee) for travel to be cheaper than we could book. We were misled on both fronts as to the true discount to be realized. Perhaps after you have started using your membership you will understand the frustration, and buyer's remorse felt, for having spent so much money on so little savings realized. But unlike your vehement, insulting responses to my legitimate complaint of services not rendered as promised, I hope only the best of results for you. Reread my responses and notice I not once went for a personal attack aimed at you, only the service, or lack thereof, received from Saver Express. The same courtesy should be extended towards me.

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#3 General Comment

Are you serious?

AUTHOR: bobhodges1971 - ()

I don't have a need to rebuke every item you write, only the ones that attempt to define a business as deceptive when I believe that it was unjustified. No, I wasn't at your presentation. And, no I haven't sat thru your phone calls with Saver Express. But, I did read the contingencies on the gift and the contract. And I do know the difference between Saver Express and the 3rd party vendor that supplied the gift I received at the presentation. And, I do know how to follow directions in order to redeem said gift. That seems to be beyond your comprehension. That is where you started your "complaint", and I was merely trying to ascertain why you thought you had the right to feel cheated simply because you couldn't accept the concept of complying with the rules, either for redeeming that gift or for using the services of Saver Express.

But, I believe that, contrary to your beliefs, it does and will affect my membership in Saver Express in a financial aspect if a significant number of people with what they believe is a justifiable axe to grind, such as yourself, are allowed to sway public opinion with what I believe to be a case of, again, buyer's remorse due to a deep desire to deny responsibility for your own lack of due diligence. If this happens often enough and a significant number of potential customers decide against joining Saver Express because no one challenges the veracity of these types of statements, then the  chances of higher prices for a service I highly anticipate utilizing is a  distinct possibility. I'm challanging your statement out of a desire to ensure that the integrity of Saver Express is not diminished by your efforts to that effect.

You give the BBB way too much credit. I read all of the complaints that were on the BBB website. I again assert that the fact that Saver Express is not a member of the BBB but still was awarded an "A" rating by them is simply an example of an extraordinarily high business standard. You may or may not recall that there was a report on ABC tv recently about the BBB delivering better than deserved ratings to BBB accredited, dues paying companies than to non-accredited, non-dues paying companies. Obviously, Saver Express was not one of those companies receiving a high rating because they pay BBB dues since they don't pay dues to the BBB. They earned their rating from BBB the old-fashioned way....customer satisfaction. If you had bothered to properly research a company, in this case the BBB, before you either praise or cirticize them, you might have found the story of the BBB accrediting a terrorist group called Hamas, a BBB dues-paying company, with an 'A' rating while Disneyland, a non-dues paying company,  got an 'F'. So much for the BBB. Check it out here: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/business-bureau-best-ratings-money-buy/story?id=12123843. Obviously,this is just another case of your lack of due diligence!

So, rave on, make all of the claims you want, but understand that there will be someone there, if not me, then hopefully other truth-loving individuals, to set the record straight and expose your lack of integrity.

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#4 Author of original report

Saver Express has not performed in the timely manner as presented

AUTHOR: Baron - ()

bobhodges1971, why do you feel the need to rebuke every item I write? Every word I have written is the truth, and should not affect you as a new member as of January 27, 2014. Your experience sounds like it was pleasant and truth-filled - mine was not. You have not been a party to my experience of trying to book accomodations through Saver Express, either through the website or over the phone. You were not present at the presentation I attended. You are, therefore, neither able to corraborate nor repudiate what has been said to me nor how many phone calls I have made or their results. You would have a fact-filled response if you should so need? Start with the Better Business Bureau statistics you mention to support your argument that I was not misled.

True, 17 complaints are posted online, 9 have been resolved, 8 have been closed because the complainant did not accept the business' response as resolution. These occurred over a 3-year period, with 13 of them occurring within the last 12 months. Of the 9 that are listed as resolved, all but one has a final response by the complainant stating, "Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB." (See more at: http://www.bbb.org/west-florida/business-reviews/travel-clubs/saver-express-in-tampa-fl-90082080/complaints#sthash.iOlakkta.dpuf).

You may see this by clicking on the blue words "Read Complaint Details" next to the case listing. Not all have this option and no explanation is given as to why. On the first page of the BBB listing, it states in reference to Saver Express LLC, "This business is not BBB accredited." More importantly, it states plainly, "BBB Business Reviews may not be reproduced for sales or promotional purposes. (See more at: http://www.bbb.org/west-florida/business-reviews/travel-clubs/saver-express-in-tampa-fl-90082080#sthash.R9OxTm4x.dpuf).

In order to be a member of the BBB, a fee must be paid to them and adherence to their accreditation standards - found at http://westflorida.bbb.org/bbb-accreditation-standards . Of the 750,000 members (I can only find this number in a press release created by Saver Express and posted on a PR News Service), not all are in the U.S. Those members may not have access to or are unaware of the Better Business Bureau. There are many other complaints that can be filed through the Federal Trade Commission that may not be available for public viewing until published at a later date.

Of the single request I've asked of Saver Express for 3 days accomodations, I have received one email one week after the submission, and one 24 hours later reminding me to book these rooms if I wanted them. They had two double beds in a single room for 5 travelers - not what I requested - at either the same price I could book on Expedia or marginally less in cost. So, bobhodges1971, I was misled about the deep discounts for travel and contractually not given a response within the 24-72 hour window for a reply. I have had to initiate all calls to find out the status of this request. Your personal attacks upon my intelligence, declaring I have a propensity for telling untruths, and inability to navigate the unwieldy website may now cease. You can only comment upon your own experience and not project your unusual depth of defending the honor of a company you just joined upon my posts.

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#5 General Comment

One More Time........

AUTHOR: bobhodges1971 - ()

I understand that you have a problem with the "gift" you were given by a, one more time, third party vendor. But, again, read and follow the instructions for redeeming the gift. As far as "There was no mention of the processing fee charged by the third party vendor, Smart Travel & Incentives, Inc., when you actually use the certificates. The port charges, fees for the travel providers, and government taxes - yes.  But the processing fee acts like a booking fee for something that should not have one attached", that's a he-said, she-said situation, and I can only tell you that I was made fully aware of the terms of the gift by the presenter at the very beginning of the session, including the processing fees.  His name was Tim Jones, and he was the epitome of professionalism. But, one more time, the terms are the terms. Learn to read! And, no I do not work for any of the vendors that sell the services. I live in Stephenson, Va. I listened to the presentation. I read the contract carefully, because I write multi-million dollar construction contracts for a development company in Purcellville, Va. and everyone knows that the devil is in the details. I found nothing to make me believe that this was anything but a valid offer, and I readily read and accepted the terms. When you state "There was most certainly mention of $75 condo availabilities read by the Rodney Dangerfield impersonator as examples of the last-minute giveaways available - mostly in Las Vegas, NV and Branson, MO.", I can only say, one more time, that at no time was it ever said or implied that there was anything available for $75.00, either hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly. I would have heard alarm bells sounding if anyone said anything was available for such a ridiculously low rate!

I know that there will always be complaints against big companies that sevice such a large segment of an industry. But Saver Express (NOT  Smart Travel & Incentives, Inc., the gift supplier) has only had 17 complaints received and reviewed by the Better Business Bureau in the last 3 years! Considering that Saver Express has about 750,000 members worldwide (if what I was told by Tim is true), then I give them credit for that small of a number. And, the company responded to all 17 complaints and resolved them when the "complainer" took the time to work through the problem with them. Due to their diligence resolving customer complaints, they have earned an A rating, without even being a BBB card carrying member!

One can complain about anything, and you certainly have. But just because you complain, that doesen't make it a VALID complaint, one that actually means that there was intended deception on the part of the company you target with your complaint. Did you get misinformation from Saver Express? Or did you fail to read the contingencies thoroughly and are just downright mad about not doing your due diligence? I think it's the latter and, since your failure to pay close attention to the subject at hand is costing you money, you're upset and are taking it out on, surprise, Saver Express! Look, if as many people use this service world-wide as I was told, and only 3 to 4 rambling, disjointed complaints such as yours are all I can find here on RipOff Report, I'm feeling pretty confident that purchasing a membership in Saver Express was a good move for me. If I'm proven wrong at some point, I'll be back here making my complaint. But it will surely be more coherent and fact-filled than the hatchet job you're trying to do! 

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#6 Author of original report

Not utter nonsense or a figment of my imagination

AUTHOR: Baron - ()

There was no mention of the processing fee charged by the third party vendor, Smart Travel & Incentives, Inc., when you actually use the certificates. The port charges, fees for the travel providers, and government taxes - yes. But the processing fee acts like a booking fee for something that should not have one attached. It should also be stressed that without a cashier's check or money order to pay these deposits, the certificate redemption will be void.

There was most certainly mention of $75 condo availabilities read by the Rodney Dangerfield impersonator as examples of the last-minute giveaways available - mostly in Las Vegas, NV and Branson, MO. The search engine provided by SaverExpress.com does not produce anything near that cost when a search was performed on January 22, 2014.

I didn't recieve a response from Saver Express when I requested accomodations. When I called one week later, they stated that they had the wrong email on file - Happy Family Travel must have put the wrong one in the system. Blatantly false. I received an email from Saver Express the following day stating "welcome" along with instructions of how to register and create an account online. They had the right email address. They resent the original request along with updated prices compared to Expedia prices. The only discount was for a room with 2 double beds for 5 travelers saving $54 for two days. Having taken a day to register to see example pricing DID take a day away from the three-day cancellation period.

The rebuttals thus far sound like employees responding, not attendees. If more than hotels are available for accomodations, why is my request only including those and not other options, such as condo stays, house rentals, inns, bed & breakfast, etc.? It would seem there is not such an extensive inventory as presented. My request for a Mississippi room is understandable as being limited to a hotel, but New Orleans, LA is not understandable.

Buyer's remorse? You bet there is. If you don't want to travel to casinos, show towns, or tourist traps, then this is not the service for leisure travel. The cruise pricing that I did view on the Saver Express website was at a minimum $500 more than what I just paid for a similar one in December 2013 and more than other websites offer.

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#7 Consumer Comment

Utter Nonsense

AUTHOR: Salvatore - ()

I too attended a presentation with Saver Express/Happy family travel. My experience was a most pleasant one. The entire staff was courteous, respectful and very attentive. The presentation was concise and informative and well presented. The representatives were kind, polite and well versed in their business. They explained that the premiums for attending the presentation; Airline tickets, Cruise, Hotel stay, etc. are provided by a marketing company seperate from Happy Family Travel and that port charges, fees, taxes for those premiums would be my resposibility.

Upon it's conclusion, we became members. We booked a beautiful Hawaiian vactaion 2 days later which we had previously investigated. Saver Express consierge saved us $1,273. Therefore my wife and I are similtaneously elated and perplexed. Elated that we booked our dream vacation at a fraction of the cost available thru online companys. And perplexed as to the previous comment. Well, I presume you can't please all the people, all the time. Saver Express and the nice people at Happy Family Travel came thru with everything they purported. My wife and I are very pleased. 

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#8 General Comment

What is th Real Problem with your "complaint"??

AUTHOR: bobhodges1971 - ()

I just attended a similar meeting presented by Happy Family this evening and I don't understand what the real complaint is here. You start off by saying "We received a "free" cruise and airline ticket through a third party vendor that required a refundable deposit of $99 and $75 respectively. We also must pay a non-refundable per person processing fee of $75/$25 when the certificates are used." Ok, but all this was explained up front. And, as you stated, the tickets aren't from Happy Family, but from a third party vendor. Is this a complaint....or a statement of fact. I suggest it is the latter. Then you say "We paid $3994 for enrollment into Saver Express / Happy Family Travel travel club with the expectation of receiving discounted hotel, condo & timeshare rental." Ok, another statement, not a complaint, unless you're complaining that you paid too much for a product that you really didn't want. Whose fault is that? Was there a gun being held to your head? And you follow that with "There is a 3-day cancellation policy, but registration for the website takes one of those days away. They called two times in the first week to see if we had registered there yet. A simple 3-day trip has resulted in $450-$500 for the hotel portion - not the accommodations I requested either." No one has told me that I can't cancel until after I register on the Saver Express website. Quite the contrary. I have a phone number that I can call right now, tonite, to cancel my membership, if I so desire. And calling you to see if you registered on their website is, to me, good, old fashioned customer service, nothing else. What would their ulterior motive be for calling you?? And, if you weren't satisfied with the price or accomodations you paid for, why did you pay for them? Did you give them 48 to 72 hours to find the best deak for your needs, as they explain up front in the presentation? If not, then you didn't get the best deal out there. Whose fault is that? And this I find really hard to understand :"While trying to navigate the poorly designed and jumbled appearance website, saverexpress.com, the elusive $75 for a week last-minute condo rental has yet to be found (although in the presentation there were 19 different offerings)." Because, as I said earlier, I just attended a presentation tonight, and at no time did anyone state or even infer that there wqas a $75 dollar per night condo rental available, much less a $75 per week condo rental! A figment of your imagination, perhaps? Or just downright untrue? You finish with "They have posted on each page that if you don't see what you want to call them. Their search engines are 1980's technology at best. Overall, this has been a $4000 mistake that we cannot be refunded for. Run away from signing." I was told, as was everyone at the meeting tonite, that only about 30% of their total offers are put on their website, and if I can't find what I really want, to call their concierge. That is a complaint? Again, it's a statement of fact. Even if their search engines are '80's tecnology, why is that an issue when you have a highly rated concierge available 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, to find you a deal? All I see here is buyer's remorse in the form of a laughable attempt to denigrate what, to me, has been a very staightforward offer. We signed up and look forward to many happy years of travelling using this service. As you can see, my name, as part of my display name, is on this rebuttal. Where is yours?

 

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