It begins with a postcard in the mail offering a dream vacation but it ends up an expensive nightmare!
And it's landed another one in Danielle's Dog House, a place you don't wanna be.
Vacations are one of the most important gifts we can give ourselves and most of us have to save up every dollar for the those few days of freedom but the lucky ones get specifically selected to receive one.
In this case from a company called Global Vacation Network.
"My husband received an invitation in the mail wishing him a happy birthday and telling him he should come to this presentation so that he could receive an eight-day cruise and two airline tickets," said Mary Scheidler.
That sounded like a great deal to Mary Schneidler so she and her husband went to the Crowne Plaza in Independence where they sat through a 90 minute sales pitch.
Membership entitled them to big discounts on vacations, including a deluxe condo anywhere in the world for a mere $150 a week.
"I elbowed my husband through most of it and I said I don't think we are interested in this," said Mary.
Especially when she found out this discount travel club would cost about $15,000.00 to join.
We were smelling a doghouse here.
"And I'm thinking OK. That would probably take the rest of my lifetime and my children's lifetime to make this worthwhile," said Mary.
When they said they wanted to think about it -- that's when the pressure really started, for another hour and fourty minutes.
"She said no, it all has to be done tonight. If you leave we have found you never get back to us so it has to be done tonight or everything disappears," said Mary.
Meantime nearly 500 miles away in New Jersey George Bryant and his wife also got a postcard offering a cruise for joining a vacation club. This one, run by Global Travel solutions.
"The pitch that appealed to us was the fact that you could get vacations for 80% less than you would at a normal travel agency and of course that free cruise," said George Bryant.
Unlike the Scheidler's the Bryants joined the travel club although they got a deal at only $,2000.
But the seas got choppy when they tried to book that cruise.
"I started emailing these folks then that's when they came back to me and said, I don't know where you got the idea that you're getting a free cruise. You're supposed to be getting a discounted travel plan, and I said that's not what I was told," said George Bryant.
Turns out there are a whole bunch of other unlucky vacation winners from around the country.
Some of them approached by a company called Global Vacation Network, others by Global Connections Network, or Global Travel Solutions.
But no matter what the name or who they are run by the itinerary seems to be the same.
Complaints from people who thought they were getting a free trip and instead got nothing but land locked when they tried to book a vacation.
For example -- do not pick a week before or after a holiday. And they are no good for peak season, during January through April. So when can you go?
We went to one of the local addresses listed for Global Travel, "I'm looking for a company called Global travel Solutions," said Reporter Danielle Serino.
There wasno one there by that name. And when we called the leasing office -- they had never had anyone by that name.
So we went to another address listed just up the road and there was a "Global Vacation Network" office.
Except no one was there. So we called them..."This is vacation tours?" -- another name travel name.
"What's going on. What type of operation is this," asked Reporter Danielle Serino.
The guy on the phone couldn't tell us whether all these global companies were related. He claimed he was just the marketing agency for some of these global companies.
And his mailings never say the word free...when referring to these trips.
But that didn't stop the state of New Jersey from suing one of the Global Travels...Global Travel Solutions, calling its sales pitches deceptive.
Many of these people that have been victimized are the kind of people that can least afford it. They're looking for deals because the economy is so tight.
The company settled for $3.6 million and agreed to stop doing business in the state.
But it's been a hard lesson to learn for George Bryant, that when it comes to vacations, freedom isn't always free.
"I just didn't think it's in the best interest of the majority of the people," said George Bryant.
So tonight...Global...well you pick the second part of the name...is in my Doghouse..it's a place you don't want to be.
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