Two weeks ago, I went to a local Ribfest event. They had a draw for a free cruise vacation. Naturally, I filled out a ballot and wrote my address, and phone numbers. Two weeks later, I received a call telling me that I won a free cruise to the Bahamas. At first, I was extremely skeptical but the caller told me that the draw took place at a Ribfest. That completely disarmed me. They quickly began telling me all the wonderful stuff about their cruise ship and how it was luxurious and such. I honestly believed that I would be a great vacation. They told me I could secure the offer for 18 months if I paid a port fee of $118. Stupidly, I agreed and told them all my credit card information and they proceeded to charge my credit card.
Then they mentioned that I could extend my vacation and proceeded to make an offer on side trips elsewhere. It was all really fast and they kept bouncing me to different people. Finally, they offered a price ($900+) and I agreed to pay it. I bought into it so much that I even suggested ways of paying for the full cost even though the payment would exceed my credit limit. Thank goodness I don't have a US Debit Account because I would have given them that information as well.
Then my mom came home and I told her that I won a free vacation. To my absolute horror, she told me that it was a scam and that they have been trying to reach me for days. I called my credit card company to tell them I was involved in a scam and to cancel the $118. However, the payment was already processed. I also decided to look up the travel agency and to my horror, I found numerous internet pages describing the company as a scam. I called back the agency so they could explain themselves and they had the gall to "reconfirm" my credit card information. At that point, I got fed up and demanded a full refund. In a very abrasive voice, they told me I would get a refund in a week. I believe this was a hollow promise.
I found out that the company tried to charge my credit card multiple times in order to get the $900 payment. They only managed to charge much less due to my low credit limit. In the end, I will be getting a new credit card and I'm hoping that I can dispute the charges if I have not been refunded. I hope it will be easy, despite the fact that everything happened over the phone and I received no confirmation e-mail regarding the travel arrangements.
As a young adult, I am angry that I believed their hype and scammed into this sophisticated operation.