Free Vacation / false advertisement - scam
This company reeled me in with a radio contest on Rumba 100.3 FM in Orlando. I called in to answer the contest question and win a free vacation. They put me on hold and transferred me to a fast-talking promotional representative named Juan Ramirez who proceeded to tell me I had won a 7-day vacation in Puerto Rico with 4 free Disney tickets included for a stay in Orlando. This person congratulated me profusely and asked who I would like to take on the vacation and how did it feel to win such a great prize. I could hear other people talking in the background of what sounded like a call-center for a telemarketing company (I have worked for a telemarketing company in the past; so I know what this sounds like).
The rep then transfers me to his manager to confirm the details and the phone disconnects. I use caller ID to call back, however no one answers and immediately I am called back by the rep from a diferent number [protected]) who apologizes for the call having been dropped. He asks to record the call and confirms that my boyfriend lives with me. I tell him my boyfriend does not live with me, and then he puts me on hold and says he has to re-record my call. He then asks if I would like to take my boyfriend, Jay Smith, with me... and he tells me that I have won a 9-day vacation, not a 7-day vacation. He tells me it involves 4 days and 3 nights in San Juan Puerto Rico at the all-inclusive San Juan Beach Hotel in Condado, Puerto Rico, and a 5-day, 4-night hotel stay in Orland where I can choose from over 20 hotels that will be provided to me in a registration packet that they will send to my mailing address within 7 days. The rep confirms my mailing address and credit card informatin and tells me that the value of this free vacation is $1, 700 and that I must pay the taxes up front in order to receive the packet and confirmation and vacation. He tells me the taxes for this prize are $339 and tries to add another $87 one-day hotel at another resort which I refuse.
I ask if I will have to pay anything else, specifically a hotel tax, upon arrival, and if flight tickets are included with the prize. The rep is talking a million miles a minute and is vague, but then admits that there is an $8 tax, per person/per day for the hotels. He tells me to call the [protected] number to confirm reservations. I call this number and am placed on hold by an automated voice mail recording, and then the line goes dead. I call back, get the same recording, and then a click over to a different recording comes on offering a [protected] to cancel or change a reservation. I call the new number and get another recording and it hangs up on me. I called 5 times on January 30, 2010, the same day this offer was made to me. Same non-response.
I finally call the number aired on Rumba 100.3 FM radio [protected] and a lady answers and transfers me back to Juan Ramirez, the original rep who told me I'd won a prize. He is very smooth and asks nicely how he can help and if I am still happy with my prize. I tell him I am not happy, as I have looked online and found numerious complaints about the resort he offered and that it is not a 5-start as he mentioned, instead it is a 2-star and I would like to cancel the request. He tells me to go online and check out Punta Cana Occidental resort to see if I like it and they can change the request to that resort. This was not the original prize I was offered. He tells me to call the reservations number to make a change. Again, that number listed in the previous paragraph got me no results.
I called back again the following day and the recording stated the office was closed. Monday morning (today, Feb. 1, 3010) I went online to dispute the charge with my credit card company, as the charge appeared on my account this morning.
This company is deceptive in its marketing and promotional practices. I believe the radio station should be concerned as well, as it allows this company to promote a false contest and should really look into why it is continuing to air this "contest" to which many unsuspecting victims have fallen prey.
I think this deserves a full-blown investigation on the television news and by the State Department of Ag and Consumer Services. I intend to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and with the State. I urge everyone who has been scammed by this company to do the same so this does not happen to anyone else.