You have probably seen propagandas with super cheap vacation deals. Seeming to including everything, almost for free. On TV, internet and in the newspapers these commercials pups up all the time.
Two weeks ago, my father in law asked us to find a great offer to Miami including cruise. Then there was a commercial popping up everywhere. I showed it to him and his wife and they were excited.
299 USD per person for 12 days and 11 nights. 3 days on one of the best hotels at Miami Beach, 6 days at Orlando with entry to three different entertainment parks and 3 days in cruise in the Bahamas. Sound like a great deal, right?
We all thought so. So we wrote his e-mail and phone number for them to contact him for more information.
Next day they called. They wanted him to pay right away, saying that this was the last day of the special offer. Something that was not true as that same commercial is still everywhere, two weeks after.
Due to this, he felt pressured to pay that same day. He gave his credit card details over phone, as there were no other way to pay. Not online or with bank transfer. Already, two red big warning signs!
So he started to doubt. He called, and asked my husband and me to check out if it was a serious company. He also went to a travel agency with the reservation they had sent him. They told him that this was most likely a fraud.
The same day we did some more research. We found many had been tricked the same way. We are still not hundred percent sure if this company is real. However, the phone numbers on the site and the reservation, are fake. There are actually no name of the company, just several. So this indicate that it might be a company that just take the money without arranging a trip.
That being said, what we found online was that these companies usually do arrange the trips they sold. However, many have experienced that they paid 299 USD for the trip thinking it would include everything, but ended up spending over 1500 USD per person. This because additional fees, taxes and tip is not included, and on the trip they made them pay a lot of extra money. So many felt very tricked.
It does not say anything about that additional fees are not included in the commercials. However, as the package was very cheap, we doubted that everything was included. However, when my father in law asked before booking they said it was included. But in the reservation, it said it was not, but not how much extra it would be.
In fact, we have nothing against additional fees. It is expected. We understand that companies need fees to support themselves and their staff, or even making a profit. However, the problem is the lies. My father in law have been on phone with the company afterwards, and asked several times how much the additional fees will be, for knowing. However, they do not want to answer that question! It should also be clear in the commercials.
The good thing is that they only covered 200 USD, as a reservation fee. But it is still money! They called back the next day for him to pay the rest. However, after reading all of this he obviously did not want to pay, before he was sure that this was a trusted company, and before they say how much the additional fees will be. It ended up with that the lady in the phone got very mad.
They called back the next day for make him pay the rest, again. My father in law said he will pay the rest when he is in Miami in their office for first see that the company is real. The man in the phone responded that that was okay. But we do not know if he said that because they are happy with the 200 USD they already got, and for calm him down and for not have more problems with him. Or because it is actually fine that he do so because they have an office like they claim and is a trusted company.
In other words, we actually do not know if this is a big scam or not. If they will just take the money without arranging a trip. All we know is that it looks very suspicious. And that they for sure will end up spending a lot more than 299 USD, due to many extra fees.
What do you think, is this a big scam or not? Do you have any experiences with super cheap travel package offers like this? Were they real or a scam? I would love to hear your opinions and experiences related to this topic!