The Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona warns of a potential travel company scam targeting residents in the Tucson area.
Numerous residents have reported receiving a mailer with claims that they could receive a new laptop computer for attending a sales seminar. The BBB warns that offers of prizes from travel clubs are usually tied to a requirement to attend a presentation of some kind.
The mailers came from a company called World Class Travel. The mailer said, “Attendance at a ninety-minute presentation for travel is required.”
BBB officials said the company did not respond to messages and other attempts to reach them. According to the mailing, the company is located at 5151 N. Oracle Road, Suite 104.
“These are very high-pressure and questionable sales tactics that they’re using,” said Kim States, the BBB of Southern Arizona President.
States said consumers have reported attending seminars but not receiving the promised gifts or prizes without buying the offered service.
States also said the company has been using telephone marketing in the area. Some consumers have reported receiving sales calls even though their names appear in the federal Do-Not-Call Registry.
The BBB notes that the mailings were similar to a series of solicitations sent to Southern Arizona residents by a company called Southwest Travel earlier this year.
That literature promised consumers many incentives, including a $300 Wal-Mart gift certificate, free airline tickets and discounts at various restaurant chains in return for attending a 90-minute sales seminar at the company’s office.
In the complaints against Southwest Travel, consumers said they either never received the gift they were promised or that hidden fees were attached to the offers.
Consumers who purchased memberships with Southwest Travel for $4,000 to $8,000, complained to the BBB that they didn’t receive the deals and discounts that were promised.
States said the terms offered were highly restrictive and featured an abundance of blackout days making travel difficult or impossible. “At a minimum I would be demanding to read the contract before agreeing to it,” States said.
The company also was unresponsive or unhelpful when they called to complain, States added.
Although Southwest Travel closed “for the season” in July, the BBB has received 17 complaints against the company this year. The company has an “F” rating from the BBB.
Consumers who attended similar presentations told the BBB the sessions conclude with attempts to enroll attendees in discount or wholesale travel clubs at a cost of thousands of dollars to receive elaborate and extensive discounts on their travel purchases.
In the BBB experience, the upfront costs of enrollment or purchase in these programs, which usually start appearing in Tucson during October of each year, are never recouped. Additionally concerning is that consumers say they don’t receive all the program details until weeks after they pay for the program.