Did you receive a letter in the mail claiming you have qualified for 2 round-trip airline gift certificates?
The letter probably sounds a little like this:
I am pleased to inform you that you have qualified for an award of 2 round-trip airline tickets. Congratulations. These tickets are valid for travel anywhere in the Continental U.S. The retail value of this award is up to $1,400.00. Certain restrictions apply.
We have attempted contacting you several times without success. This is our last attempt. If we do not hear from you soon, we may need to issue the ticket vouchers to the alternate.
Please call me today at 1-866-995-7151 (number's always changing).
Dana Kline (name's always changing, too)
Unless you want to waste your time and money, BEWARE!
The reason you "qualified" for the travel award is actually based on your travel purchase history. [continued below]....
..... There is a travel agency in your area doing a travel-related promotion so they are trying to reach a certain target audience that travels... and due to your purchase history, your name fell into that category! (Keep in mind that a travel-related purchase can be anything from those little fingernail clippers and tweezers you bought in a 'travel' pouch, to the purse you bought 2 months ago that rang up as 'luggage'. Congratulations.)
The letter you received came from a company called Vacation Tours USA or one of it's sister marketing/advertising companies. Those companies are hired by traveling agencies in 27 different states to help promote their companies and hopefully lure 'travelers' into joining their travel clubs. The marketing/advertising companies purchase their leads from Equifax. They ask Equifax for information on couples, either married or cohabiting, between the ages of 30 and 70, who have made some sort of travel-related purchase within the last 12 months. Vacation Tours sends out their mailers accordingly and they are purposefully written to mimic the real US Airways so that people will respond to them. Chances are, if you haven't gotten this letter yet, you probably will soon. The information asked for pertains to about 70% of us!
The goal is that people call in to claim the tickets thinking they have won them. When they call, they're asked to make an appointment to sit through a 90 minute sales presentation for a travel company in the area. The presentation is usually half marketing/half comedy and is actually a lot of fun if you like to travel. There are no high pressure sales techniques used at the presentation because they are hoping that you tell your family and friends about them and possibly use their services to save you money on future travel. So no big deal, right?
Wrong! You would have to be a member in order to use their services and the membership fee is
$4,000+. You literally spend MORE using their services than what you would if you made your own travel arrangements. There are no fabulous discounts or travel accommodations like they lead you to believe. But what about the "free" airline tickets you earned for sitting through their 90 minute
presentation? Well, you get a travel voucher at the end of the presentation that has to be redeemed within a year from the day of the presentation. The travel vouchers claim to work with ALL the US Airlines, they're good for two round-trip airfares for two adults, you pay the taxes and fees at the time of the flight, and you cannot travel 7 days before or 7 days after a holiday. That means, 316 days out of the 365 days in a year, are blacked out. Oh, and I almost forgot, you have to pay a $50 deposit in order to even attempt to use the vouchers.
There are so many hoops to jump through and tons of paperwork to fill out... by the
time you actually find a date that isn't blacked-out, the vouchers are
null and void anyways because it's been over a year since you got them! Only 2
people out of a 100 actually get to fly, which makes this operation