Friday, January 29, 2010

Amazon (E-)Travel potential scam - beware, Nashville bridal show attendees!

Little Spoon and I just got off the phone with a questionable operation that set up a vacation giveaway booth at the Nashville bridal show on Jan. 17. We were called by an excruciatingly overcaffeinated "Arthur Hobbs" from Amazon E-Travel who notified us that we won a 7 day, 6 night vacation package worth over $4000. We could spend 4 days and 3 nights at one of three hotels outside of Disneyworld, then spend 3 days and 2 nights at Daytona Beach, and then spend 3 days and 2 nights in Fort Lauderdale. Somehow, 4+3+3 <> 7, and 3+2+2 <> 6. Of course, at each location, we'd have to listen to an "orientation" pitch from our "hosts" - I wonder if they'd be anything like this, but on the beach instead of the ski slopes? And despite saying that we'd get a confirmation e-mail in 60-90 minutes (along with a prepaid lump of vouchers in the mail in 5-7 days), that confirmation e-mail has yet to arrive. Not so good with the maths, these shifty time sharers.

Ooo! Ooo! And we also got a 3 day, 2 night bonus vacation to a variety of locations! Now, ordinarily the "taxes" on this prize package would be $1500, but the company just decided that's too much (and I'm sure the feds gave 'em a tax break), so they decided we only needed to give them $249 per person as a "processing fee". We just needed to start in Orlando. And pay for our own airfare to and from Florida. And give them our credit card information over the phone. Now.

Big Spoon calls bullshit.

While we were on the phone with them, I looked up their website ( Turns out that it was registered through GoDaddy on January 1, 2010. The registration expires on January 1, 2011. Given that holding a website costs all of $11 for a year through GoDaddy, and a year is the shortest period of time you can reserve a domain, I hardly think these individuals are legitimate travel agents looking to build a long-term business strategy with their current assets.

They said they were located at 529 Beville Rd., Daytona Beach, FL 32119. The first and main result that pops up on Google for this address? This time, under the name of "Amazon Travel Club". Oh, did I happen to mention that this travel agency is open for 6 hours Monday-Thursday (10a-4p) and 5 hours on Friday (10-3)? And that they doth protest too much their legitimacy by saying at least 3 times that your call is being taped for training purposes and to protect you and them?

Once again, not so good with the maths, these shifty time sharers.

So, if any of you Nashville brides signed up to win a vacation at the Nashville Premier Bridal Show on Jan. 17, expect a call from the hyped-up, over the top salesperson who wants to get your credit card information ASAP. DO NOT give them your information and hang up on them. I only stayed on as long as I did to get as much info on them as possible to warn everyone about this questionable process. They essentially hung up on us when I indicated that we'd have to wait to give them our credit card information until the beginning of next month because our credit cards were "all tapped out" due to wedding expenses. Basically, they seemed uninterested in waiting a few days for us to consider this "offer", and time-critical, pressured decision making is rarely a tactic used by businesses I'd want to use.

They said that they were offering us this great package for the advertising they'd get from us telling everyone how fabulous our experience with them was. This is the free advertising you get when you're deceptive about what "winning a vacation" means and the numbers just don't add up. It may be legal, but it still feels like a scam.


  1. Written by Thomas Meehan "OWNER" of Amazo, on 31-01-2010 20:44

    Although I have been aware of these accusations about my company for some time. I knew that we were selling an honest package, at a highly discounted rate. I did not let this bother me. In reference to having two names, The second name is a DBA under the same name with the state of Florida. I did this to secure an additional contract with other resorts to create options, and protect travelers and assure them they will be able to travel to the destinations we promiced. After numorous discusions with future and past travelers i felt compelled to reply to these posts. I have worked as a consumer advocate in my past bussineses. I have worked with the department of consumer protection in the state of Connecticut and the state legislature developing laws and guidelines to protect the consumer. You can copy and paste the following link into your web browser or google TFM SAF AIR THOMAS MEEHAN. Here is a New York Times article that validates this.

    I have also worked with EPA presenting at international confrences, for the advancement of technology in reference to protecting our public schools.

    That can be validated by Going to the following websight. (page 8 session x) File=D%3A%5CZYFILES%5CINDEX%20DATA%5C91THRU94%5CTXT%5C00000002%5C30003VVG.txt&User=ANONYMOUS&Password=anonymous&SortMethod=h%7C-&MaximumDocuments=10&FuzzyDegree=0&ImageQuality=r75g8/r75g8/x150y150g16/i425&Display=p%7Cf&DefSeekPage=x&SearchBack=ZyActionL&Back=ZyActionS&BackDesc=Results%20page&MaximumPages=1&ZyEntry=8

    These days you can google any company and put scam after it. You WILL find out there are scam reports. INCLUDING GOOGLE!

    I urge you not to fall into the category of contempt prior to investigation.

    Please contact State of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. That is the governing body whom we are license under.

    Although, there are a few grand prize winners. We never tell anyone we contact by phone."That they have Won". All phone calls are taped from inception and kept on file from our studio. (NOT RADIO STATION)

    Is there a processing fee...YES!

    A small percentage of each show is selected. This is not offered to the general public!! Yes, we will call everyone until we can reach our qouta from each show. Even if we contact you, you MAY NOT be able to travel based on your qualifications.

    At this time I will be contacting past travelers, as well as satisfied vacationers to post there comments.


  2. You mean that you don't tell your "winners" that they've "won"? Curious - I "won"der what synonym "Arthur" could have used that would have made both of us hear specifically that we'd "won" a 7 day, 6 night package. A package which was described as containing a total of 10 days and 7 nights worth of stays.

    Do the "host presentations" last so long as to occupy an entire set of three days and a night of the vacation? That's the only way the durations quoted make any sense - but dear me, that then sounds like much more than a single "hour long" presentation at each site that was described to us. That's either not a competent piece of math by the agent or a deceptive sales pitch.

    Unfortunately, one need not enter the term "scam" to find links questioning the validity of Amazon Travel Club. Simply entering the phrase 'amazon travel club' into Google tonight revealed that 8 of the first 9 links that doubt the business (which has only been registered since July 11, 2009, and whose registration lasts only until July 11, 2010, according to the Whois information provided by Network Solutions).


    This is not the case when using search engines on the names of other companies, such as Google. Furthermore, registering a domain name only for one year is not indicative of an asset that is intended to be preserved for the long term. If this is not the image that is desired to be conveyed, I suggest registering the domain names for as long as possible, which would be 10 years through GoDaddy.

    Also note that we never claimed your company approached us as a radio station. Nor is it reasonable to claim that it can alter the tax liability incurred by winning a trip by claiming that $1500 of tax liability could be taken care of with a $249/person processing fee.

    Between the verbal and mathematical errors in the initial presentation, the short-term impression I got from the publicly available web information, the complaints lodged against Amazon Travel Club, the fact that our trip's "confirmation email" is more than 2100 minutes late from the initial 60-90 minute time frame, the lack of interest in offering us this trip after we indicated that we would need a few days to pay, and the other questions that have been raised about this operation, we remain uninterested in partaking in this package.

  3. The only people who get a confirmation email are people who purchase the vacation. Most of the posts are from people who did not purchase or did not qualify. Again I would hope the average consumer is smart enough to contact the State of Florida Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services to get the true information on our company. As long as you don't think that they are part of a conspiricy, that should answer all the questions. As to us not saying "WON", We say "Selected." and it is on tape for anybody who has the contact number to hear. I have posted web addresses to information about my past history. I give the general public more credit to do thier own investigation than to make a decision based on cyber comments

  4. bigspoon i understand why your upset. if i was offered a package as good as this one and didn't have the money for it i would be upset as well. I have given the same pitch for months now and in no instance has someone accused me of mis speaking,what i said is this: the package is 4 days and 3 nights in orlando,3 days and 2 nights in daytona beach,3 days and 2 nights in fort.Lauderdale. there is also a 3 day and 2 night bonus destination where you choose your own vacation spot out of the list of over 20 we have to choose from. the best part is that there is also a 2 or 3 night bahamas cruise.this is what was offered to you. i don't know why you are confused about what i said because i always tell you more than once what the package is. so bigspoon and littlespoon please be good and kind to each other and may God bless you and yours...lots of love from arthur hobbs....

  5. WOW...have spell check?? Just by the grammar alone I would be suspicious. I read your post and thought THANK GOD someone would actually do the background before just handing over money!

  6. Hi actually, this just happened to me. A woman called me this morning telling me I won. They deny it over and over and over, saying that they never said we told you that you won. You know, I wish someone would tape record them telling their potential winner they have won. Big Spoon, what you are doing is a good thing. This company sucks and scams people left and right. When you realize the big mistake you got suckered into, and try to cancel, not only are they argumentative, if not down right rude and vulgar.
    Dear Mr. CEO, who gives a flying F if you wrote articles for the NY Times and you were a a presenter at some convention not even related to your company. You mislead people and demand to collect their personal information so that they can pay to "WIN" a trip? You deny that your representatives ever say win, but there are others out there who claim that they have won the same prize package. Really? Are we all crazy and hearing the words "congratulations you won after you placed your name in a drawing you entered" I encourage all of you to file a complaint with the Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce, The Better Business Bureau and the Department of Business Professionals and Regulations. I also encourage you to file a complaint with your respective state Attorney General's office. It appears this company shows up at bridal shows and trade shows throughout the country. The only thing we can do is get the word out and if you have to pay for a "winning" its likely not free.

  7. I'd like to thank Kerrie and the last "anon" post for their comments. I think it is really important for people other than us two to voice our opinions about this "company."

    We really appreciate you taking the time to comment here.

    - Little Spoon

  8. I just received a call from AH and he definitely used the words "I won". The whole thing sounded fishy to me so I asked for more information via email and was told to go to their website. The website looks legitimate and even had Daisy Fuentes giving a endorsement. I can't tell if this is real or not but I will take a pass. Shame on me for filling out the stupid entry form. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Never!

  9. Hey everyone,

    My fiancee and I recently went through an ordeal with this "company". I have thoroughly documented what happened on this site:

    If you scroll to the bottom, I have listed exactly what to do should you fall into their trap. Hopefully it will help others.

  10. Ama - thanks for commenting and for linking to us from your MetaFilter thread. Hopefully future brides & grooms will think to do an internet search and find our collective information before falling for this scam.

  11. Did anyone actually follow through with the package and take a trip?

  12. I was wondering the same thing. I paid the processing fee and know about paying for my flight to Florida and expenses. Half of me wants to go through the process of canceling but I would also like to find out if anyone followed through or have been on other timeshare vacations before.

    I'm definitely not interested in a timeshare deal but I am curious to see what the outcome is if I decide to play along with the so-called vacation.

  13. A day ago a good friend of mine recieved a phone call from the aforementioned company. After the whole spiel the gentleman whom "SO GRACIOUSLY" was giving the trip away said "he needed $498 dollars within two days of this phone call"(SOUNDS LIKE TROUBLE TO ME), and that there would be an E-mail containing a verification code sent within one hour of this call. It never came!!!

    Some people have said that it is totaly legit, you just have to spend alot of time with high pressure salesman, I am not for sure.


  14. I was contacted after attending the Sportsman show in Toronto, Canada. When I had a few questions, I was passed over from the "notifier" to the "supervisor".
    Of course, the fist thing they asked is if I have a valid credit card

    When I asked about black out dates or any other conditions the only thing they answered was the black out dates.

    There was NEVER any suggestion that I would be obligated to attend any sales pitch, information session or any other obligations.

    I could hear the background noise of all the other "notifiers" and when I suggested that EVERYONE who attended the show must have won, I was told that only a select few are being contacted and the background noise was a radio. NOT!!!!!

    SOOOOO glad I passed on the "opportunity"

  15. i was also told I "won"--granted, I had indeed filled out a raffle ticket at a trade show. the whole thing seemed fishy (the woman on the phone said I was being recorded live, and gave the impression it was some radio show or something, although it sounded like a very busy call center in the back ground). she spoke readily, and deflected my questions to further her sales pitch, at one time repeating herself verbatim-clearly reading off a script. when i informed her that i would need to check out her website and company before giving her my card # and authorizing a $498 payment, she hung up within 5 seconds. regardless of whether it is a ful-on scam or just a fishy and misleading sales pitch, shame on any trade show for allowing this people to masquerade as a "prize."

  16. I was contacted last night about winning a free trip that I had entered into at the Auto Show in Toronto. They definately told me I "won" a free trip. All I needed to do was to hand over $249 x 2 = $498. Sounded fishy. They tried to pressure us into agreeing quickly - saying we have only 6 minutes to make up our mind or lose the free trip.

    We passed on the offer.

    Watch out !!!


  17. If you must fill out one of those flyers, don't give out your phone number or email.
    Let them mail you the info, where you can go over it with a fine tooth comb.
    Problem is, they may give info out to other companies that then send their schpiel to you...
    If you do get phonecalls, keep em yakking so you can research them on the 'net.
    I like the idea of telling them "I don't have a credit card" ;)

  18. My husband & I both got calls from Amazon E Travel after we filled out forms when we attened a PBR bull riding event in Waco, Tx. last week. They DID tell us that first yesterday that I had "won" a cruise for 2 to the Bahamas, but they would need to talk with both of us to ask us questions, but my husband wasn't home at the time, so the guy said that he's call back tonight. Then second, my husband gets a call on his cell today and they tell him that he's "won" a 14 day vacation trip to several places, many named above, and said all of the same things. My husband had his cell on speaker and they never knew that I was listening, too... They ARE a SCAM... I also know a few people who were at that event that night and they too got calls of them "winning" a trip/trips.... We did not fall for their scams, but they get pretty upset when you start asking questions and they refuse to answer any.

  19. I just received a similar offer today. They didn't tell me I won, but did say I was one of the selected parties that entered.

    I didn't give them my credit card information. Now I'm glad I didn't fall for it. The operate kept insisting that they needed my Credit Card # so they could give me a confirmation # even though I told her over and over that I don't give out my CC information unless I call the company.

  20. Many hotels are adding high-speed Internet access to their amenities.

    Pousadas Em Natal