Resolved Horizon Travel / National Vacations / TCI — The tactics of these people is truly unbelievable
I am preparing to file a small claims suit against Horizon Travel. Please read this and pass on the link to others. Bad publicity is poisonous to a sales-driven monster like Horizon Travel, so just by reading this and passing on the link, you are helping!!
So thanks again. Keep reading, for your own sake!
Like many other victims, I fell for the bait-and-switch business trap being perpetuated by Horizon Travel. Horizon Travel is owned by National Vacations, Inc.
Once I discovered how badly I got burned (just weeks after I signed up), I tried to reason with Horizon Travel for a refund. But they refused every opportunity I gave them, and even IGNORED a certified letter from my attorney! (They signed for it, but didn't respond.)
After discovering that Horizon Travel:
* Has a HORRIFIC record with the Fort Worth Texas BBB,
* Has been BANNED by the State of Indiana Attorney General from doing business in that state,
* And its affiliates have ripped off so many other victims,
I realized that I must sue Horizon Travel. I told them by phone that I would sue if they didn't refund my money. Their response: "That is your right." (in other words "Go right ahead--sue us!")
Here are the sordid details:
I was contacted by phone and offered a free cruise for attending a presentation. At the presentation in March of 2006, Mr. Yaqut Abdullah, a Horizon Sales representative, put us all at ease by telling us that, instead of doing a 90-minute presentation, he would like to do it in 45 minutes--if that was okay with us. Of course, we all liked the sound of that and breathed a sigh of relief. But that was just the first trick!
The presentation actually went on for about two and a half hours, by which time I was very hungry, tired, and pressed for another business matter I had to attend to on that day.
Mr. Abdullah led attendees to believe that HUGE discounts were realizable via the membership due to Horizon Travel's supposed ability to buy cruise vacations at the wholesale level, and as a result the $4000+ cost of membership could be recovered in about four cruises. Only later did I discover that I could get the same price (within pennies) for a cruise from Horizon Travel's booking services as I could by going to the cruise line's booking service online. SO REALLY THERE WERE NO REAL SAVINGS AT ALL!!!
The crux of the scheme is this:
On the sales contract there is a main signature line and SEVENTEEN clauses that you have to initial. At the end of clause 14), it says: "I/We acknowledge that there have been no separate oral or written promises, representations, agreements or warranties between the Club and me or any sales representative."
BINGO! If you make the mistake of initialing that clause or one like it, then they are positioned to use that as a tool to absolve themselves from any responsibility for their salesperson(s) making false promises and/or misrepresentations.
THEY GOTCHA!!! You see, nothing the salespersons say matters; only what's written in the contract matters (and naturally the promises made in the sales pitch are NOT in the contract!).
So they promise great savings in the presentation, wear you out, then barrage you with the contract and trick you with the buried clause. Deception is the mantra.
To this day, I have received ZERO BENEFIT from the membership I purchased. But Horizon Travel is intent on keeping all of my money. And of course they want MORE on top of that in the form of annual dues at $179 per year.
I feel people should be warned about the schemes perpetuated by National Vacations and their subsidiaries. And looking ahead, I am considering leading a fresh wave of legal action and coordination with other victims in filing with the Texas State Attorney General to get their operation shut down here in Texas, as has already been done in Indiana.
It is interesting to note that David G. Vavro, one of the Principal owners of Sun Country Travel, is one of the Principal owners of National Vacations, which in turn owns recently formed Horizon Travel. Sun Country Travel and its Principals David G. Vavro, Jerry L. McDonald Sr. and Jerry L. McDonald Jr., were sued by the State Of Texas in 2003 for their deceptive advertising schemes and they lost to the tune of $64 million.
From what I can tell by my research so far, the Principals of National Vacations, Inc. responded to the injunction against their subsidiary company Sun Country Travel by opening a new company--Horizon Travel--and then further refined their deceptive sales techniques and methods to get and keep maximum dollars from new victims, and without honoring the promises made in their sales presentations.
I have spent a lot of time researching Horizon Travel and its affiliates, and the more I dig the more dirt I find. I share some of my sources and otherwise damning evidence with you below. The tactics of these people is truly unbelievable.