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 (http://www.4amazonetravel.com). 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? Amazon-travel-club.pissedconsumer.com. 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.