I received a piece of registered mail on December 5 2008 to my home address. Imperial Majesty Cruise Line Vacations - the title reads - in conjunction with Universal Studios Orlando, Ramada Plaza Resort, Alamo Rental Cars, Budget Rent A Car and CLIA - Cruising the Best Vacation.
I was very intrigued by this piece of mail which included the following: A corporate memorandum, approval for a FREE cruise and Travel Voucher in the amount of $1300.00.
From the Administrative Offices of RPR/OFV, the envelope read, the Records Division in Ft. Lauderdale FL. Addressed to myself, and with my complete full name, and address on the voucher.
Skeptical, yes I was. But intrigued, I called the toll free number: 1-800-858-1788 to obtain more information about my free cruises and trips.
Upon speaking with an informative (infomercial sounding) agent by the name of Katherine Sullivan (probably not a real name) and ID# EN2515, I found out that this trip - retail value $3000.00 USD, included the following:
- 4 days/3 nights in Ft. Lauderdale at the Ramada Resort all inclusive
- 2 days/2 nights aboard a cruise ship to the Bahamas
- 3 days/2 nights in Orlando FL
- 7 day rental car by Alamo
As well, for confirming registration by phone today, I will also receive the following:
- 3 days/2 nights in Las Vegas
- 4 days/3 nights in Mexico
The only fees I would be responsible for were:
- gas/insurance for the rental car
Upon asking further questions and letting 'Katherine' know that I was skeptical, I was advised that this was not a SCAM, and was completely legit.
Katherine then informed me that I would have to, within the next 10 minutes give her a credit card #, so they may charge me for 25% of the total fees, as the 'FREE cruise' was only 75% paid for by the organization. She would not be taking the credit card info - it would be Senior Management as she is not authorized to do this.
Doubtful of this in its entirety, I was transferred to 'Senior Management'.
I was transferred to Lloyd Steffey (probably not a real name) ID# 9982, who was supposedly the promotional manager for this incredible deal.
He proceeded to let me know that yes, it would be $399.00 for myself and $399.00 for my guest for a total of $798.00 USD. Furthermore, there would be port charges and taxes of $99.00 for myself and $99.00 for my guest. And, the retail value of this package was $3500.00... hang on, didn't Katherine tell me earlier that the value of the package was only $3000.00?
'Remember', he told me, 'this offer is only valid for the next few minutes. We require your credit card number immediately. You cannot call back, as you are only allowed one phone call per voucher/confirmation number!'.
I put 'Lloyd' on hold, and spoke with a knowledgeable friend of mine, to confirm my reasons for this entire thing to be a complete fraudulent scam. My reasons were the following:
- where did they receive my complete information from? (Lloyd told me that my credit card company had sold him the information - whatever company I was with)
- if this was advertised as 'free' where did the additional charges come from?
- how come they weren't able to send me an invoice and then I could pay at my leisure?
- why am I only allowed one phone call per confirmation number?
- how come they could not give me any information about where to verify their ID numbers?
- how are they even able to cover 75% of the fees, with the economy crashing at an unbelievable rate?
- how do I know who is 'really' at the other end of the line?
- Katherine - conveniently - was really relatable to myself - apparently she had doubts (like myself) about this promotional package as well, but just last week came back from taking all of these trips, as well, she had never travelled around the States (just like I haven't), and was even a vegetarian (just like me).
As I went back to the phone, very polite and said the following:
'I thank you for your time Lloyd, and appreciate your assistance in obtaining information. But unfortunately I do not think that I will be following through with this offer, there are way too many differences between your information and the information obtained from Katherine.'
'Lloyd' then proceeded to tell me...'I could care less, b***h'. And hung up on me.
These events have been abridged, and much more was said between us, usually ending with Lloyd being offended at my skepticism.
And then I Googled the Administrative Offices of RPR/OFV Records Division and came up with this site. Good thing too!
I hope that everyone who reads this remembers and appreciates the story, and stays informed. Do not pass out your Credit Card info over the phone. You NEVER know who is on the other side.
It's disgusting to think that with the economy spiralling downwards, and poverty setting in, that people can take advantage of others like this. I hope that 'Katherine' and 'Lloyd' get what is coming to them. A long stay in a very hot place.
Good luck to everyone else who may experience something like this! I have half a mind to call back just to hear Lloyd call me a 'b***h' again.