- Report: #1122330
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: Smart Travel & Incentives
Smart Travel & Incentives801 International Parkway, Fifth Floor Lake Mary, Florida USA
Smart Travel & Incentives Kept $20 that the Company wasn't entitled to keep. Lake Mary Florida
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Like many others (judging from the complaints to be found in the internet), I had a bad experience with this organization.
My wife and I responded to a mailer promising a free cruise for attending a timeshare sales presentation. After spending a few hours at the presentation, we decided not to buy what they were selling, although we did consider it. Then it turned out that the "free" cruise involved fees that brought the price to no less than one could buy a cruise for (judging by online research) but that one could also receive a "free" round-trip flight and two night stay in a nice hotel, to destinations in the U.S. Later, we were told (to our surprise) that we'd have to pay $100 for this, but we proceeded anyway, because it seemed worth $100.
We were advised that we should choose two dates (each with a specified destination), within the next 18 months, for our "free" vacation. We choose two dates within the last six months of the 18 month window, because that's when it was convenient for us to travel. Next, we were told that there was no availability for our first chosen time, and later we were told that there was no availability for our second. We were advised to complete and submit a form is we wanted a refund. (One wonders why one would have to complete and mail in a form to receive a refund when the company can't deliver, but that's not my main complaint.) We submitted the form. Sometime later, a check for $80 arrived in the mail.
I called Smart Travel to ask why I was refunded only $80 when I'd paid $100. I had a rather lengthy conversation with a woman who cited the following sentence in their "Additional Terms and Conditions" (a form which had been sent to me earlier in the process): "If you cancel your request prior to booking, you will be subject to a $20 activation fee." I pointed out that we hadn't canceled our request, but that Smart Travel had been unable to book our flight and hotel stay. She then argued that it was my fault for not electing to schedule travel until the last 6 months of the 18 month window. When I pointed out that we were told that the benefit was good for a full 18 months, she told me that "travel wasn't guaranteed." I responded that that wasn't the issue; that the issue was whether they could keep my $20 when they couldn't fill our travel request. At that point, she said she was going to transfer me to the office manager (or someone with a similar title; it may not have been "office manager") and I was transferred to what turned out to be someone's voice mail. I left a polite message advising that I was inquiring about an issue concerning my refund. That was around three weeks ago, and I'm still waiting for a return call.
It seems to me that this company is clearly out of line in taking $20 on account of its inability to provide the promised "free" flight and hotel stay. The "terms and conditions" provided to us certainly didn't put us on notice that they'd take $20 from us in this situation. If they'd advised us in advance that we had to request travel within six months (or some other time period) of the beginning of the 18 month travel window, or risk losing $20, I'd accept it (even though I question the ethics of requiring a $100 payment to get what was advertised as a "free" trip at the outset). But we weren't so advised.
$20 may not seem like much, but I'll bet it adds up to a lot when you consider the number of people who lose their $20 "activation fee." Although I can't prove it at present, I'll bet that not very many of the people who send in the $100 actually get the "trip," and that most of them lose $20. (If this company really wanted to provide free travel as represented, wouldn't it make more sense for them to give clients a list of available destinations and dates and let clients pick from among them, rather than having clients pick two dates with corresponding destinations only to be told that those dates aren't available and then refund only 80 % of what was paid?)
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/09/2014 04:51 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Smart-Travel-Incentives/Lake-Mary-Florida-32746/Smart-Travel-amp-Incentives-Kept-20-that-the-Company-wasnt-entitled-to-keep-Lake-Mar-1122330. 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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