My wife and I attended a Suncoast Vacations seminar in Hillsboro, Oregon on March 3rd, 2008. The information sent to us by mail had no company name on it. Hmmm.. why would that be? How about, so you could not research the company prior to the seminar.
The company offered free airfare to anywhere in the United States just for attending.
My wife has wanted to travel extensively for many years. If the company was legitimate, then over a period of 10 to 20 years, what was being offered would have saved us a substantial amount of money. The next day was my wife's birthday.
Arriving home after the seminar, just to be sure, I began researching Suncoast Vacations on the internet. To my dismay and disappointment Ripoff.com was the first of a multiple number of sources confirming that Suncoast Vacations was not only unreliable, but under investigation by the State of Oregon, State of Florida, the FBI and a homicide investigation in Houston, Texas.
My first thought was "of course they are". I did what most people do in this situation, think it was my own fault, how stupid could I be. Then hit me like a ton of bricks, they have everything. They had both of our social security numbers, credit card numbers and every other number we own. I immediately logged on to LifeLock and ordered their services for $18.00 per month for the both of us. My wife contacted American Express to alert them as to what was happening.
Then I got mad. I am not stupid. I did not just go into this blind.
The contract we signed has a Right to Cancel clause, as do all such contracts in the State of Oregon for the past 35 years that I am aware of. I located that clause within the contract prior to signing it.
My wife and I also decided that paying the down payment of $2071.75 should initially go onto the American Express Card to be paid off from the savings account once we were sure we were not being tricked.
Once I determined that the Suncoast Vacations was indeed a scam, I knew that the clock was ticking.
I then identified each and every component of the requirements to execute the Right to Cancel clause. 1. To successfully cancel the contract a certified letter must be sent or delivered directly (oh, did I tell you they left Hillsboro the next day) to the company stating why we were canceling. (I think the FBI and the murder investigation did it for me). They state in the clause that all this can be done by telephone but a wise mentor of mine once said "the faintest of ink is better than the best of memory." If they said "we don't remember your calling to cancel" What would I do? But with the certified letter sitting on there desk and a receipt in my pocket, that risk is eliminated completely.
The 2nd requirement was that the letter needed to be sent to a specific address in Clearwater, Florida. It was.
3rd requirement was the sales material must be returned within 10 days. It too was sent by UPS overnight to the tune of $70.00.
It was confirmed today, March 14th, 2008, that the amount taken from American Express $2071.75, has been credited back to our account.
I am deeply grateful to Ripoff.Com for the anonymous alert from the person from Lake Oswego, Oregon.
I also feel it is vitally important that people get mad and act! We are not victims and are not stupid. They do not want us to read the contract, just sign and be sure to check the box that says YOU ARE NOT BEING PRESSURED. (Got to love that) Don't just sit there. READ the contract for the 3 day right to cancel clause. Then, step by step, piece by piece, item by item, execute the Right to Cancel in writing, within the 3 day period. They know the law, after the 3 days, you belong to them and they know it!
I hope this helps someone before it is too late.