I attended a consumer trade show in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, in which there were multiple booths selling cruise packs and one in particular which was raffling a "Free" cruise to the Bahamas. Of course I entered, isn't it everyones dream to go on a FREE all inclusive vacation with your significant otther? I was optimistic and thought I was definitely going to win though the power of positive thinking.
A few days later as I was sitting with my Fiance at the computer I got a call which came up as "PRIVATE CALLER". That should have been my first clue. I figured it was my mother because she has a private number due to her job. I answered, and the woman, Meryl, enthusiastically asked me if I remembered entering a contest, I said yes, and she exclaimed "WELL KATE, YOU WON!!" I couldn't believe it, I never win anything! She began to describe a trip that sounded absolutely amazing, which the only thing I had to do was attend a tour of the resort grounds to "pay" for the trip. Fair enough, I thought. My next clue was when she said what the value of the trip was. $2500, she told me. Hmm I said, that seems quite low for a first class all inclusive cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. Oh well, I figured that retail prices were much higher when advertised. She then asked me if I had a credit card. THAT is when I should have hung up. But she convinced me that it was like any other reservation and that i was just paying the taxes. $299 for both my Fiance and I. I had paid taxes on areoplan flights before so I assumed this was customary.
I was then connected three way with another customer service representative presumably from one of their many other call centers. I forget her name, but she sounded unprofessional. I got my reservation number and gave my credit card number. She said the call was being taped for "my safety". That was that. I was going on a cruise!
I excitably told my friends and family about the trip, only to find out that two of my other friends and a girl working at the trade show ALL GOT THE SAME CALL. I was FURIOUS, as we all we all realized that we had been scammed. One girl called right away and got her $149 back, the other was charged $800 but only got HALF back, so I was scared.I immediately called my credit card company to try to reverse the charge but they said they already saw it on my account. My credit card representative was very helpful in telling me that they would back me in a formal complaint if I could not get my money back. Here's where the fun started.
I searched "Ramada Plaza Resorts" on Google, and just pages and pages of scam alerts and complaints. My stomach dropped. I began to panic and read some of the rip off reports. I decided to call the customer service number they gave me. One they gave did not even work, so I called the other and it sounded like the call center was in a god d**n McDonalds or something! People swearing, yelling, and horsing around. The first guy I talked to said that he didn't deal with cancellations or refunds so he would transfer me to a supervisor. Funny that they didn't tell me then that they didn't do refunds. After trying to sell me more crap on my "cruise" and extend the time in which I could use it, the guy tells me that the trip is non-refundable and I cannot cancel. I said to hell it isn't, EVERYONE has the right cancel and the right to a refund. And he said well as you were told when you bought the package, that wasn't an option. I said NO ONE EVER told me that i could not cancel or get a refund, and I was told I won something, this isn't a contest it's a promotion on a crappy cruise. I also was never told that I had to pay for my flight AND attend a 4 hour timeshare presentation. After him trying to convince me that I still had won something, I finally snapped and screamed that I wanted my money back. He kept saying no, and I adamantly tried to level with him and said look, I know this is your job, but I know you CAN cancel the trip, you just WON'T. He threatened to bring up the taped phone call and I said go right ahead. What I agreed to is not what I was actually getting.So finally, he gives me back 75% of what I paid, $449, and tried to make me feel bad for doing so.
I called right back because I knew this company's organization skills were crap and that I could probably get my other $150 back with a little politeness and sticking to my guns. I got on with "Katrina" and told her that I would please like a refund of my $149 and the cancel and that was it. She kept trying to sell me things and asking me had I ever been to Florida ect ect ect, I don't see how that mattered. She asked me why i cancelled the trip and I said that it was false advertising, and I was told I won a trip when I had not. She said how do you know, and i told her about all the reports. She then tried to convince me that the hundreds of reports were false. I even told her that I found an actual Police scam alert notice form a district in Canada. But since there weren't charges filed, I shouldn't pay attention to them. Yea right. I kept being polite and she actually cancelled the trip and refunded my money.
I am so sorry to anyone who actually took the trip. I was physically sick after learning I was scammed. I am a smart, straight A University PSYCHOLOGY honours student and they still took me for my money. I should have listened to my instincts, because as I now know, they are NEVER wrong.
halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Ramada