Alert: BBB warns of vacation scam - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Alert: BBB warns of vacation scam

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(WOIO) -

BBB received a fax last week offering 6 day/5 night trips to Cancun, Jamaica or Hawaii for $119.  The price included our choice of a 4-5 star resort, meals, drinks, unlimited activities, and free rooms for kids. But Wait! There's More!  If we were one of the first 100 to respond, we also received an incredible 60% off our airfare!

All we had to do was call (855) 883-1867. The fax did not list the name of any company.

How could we pass this up? We called the number and were asked for our Reservation Code (WinterFun2014). We were told there were packages still available for 2 or 4 people.  When we asked for the name of the company offering the trips, the call was abruptly ended - and not by us.

The phone number listed on the fax is identified in BBB records with Express Vacations Center (Express).  Apparently, Express has issues with their phone service as many consumers have also experienced disconnected calls when trying to find out why they never received their vacation packages.   

 After paying $305 for a Sandals Resort package in Jamaica, Carolyn from Michigan never received the promised email with her confirmation.  She told BBB: "I called, spoke to...Ashley, gave her my # and she told me they did not have any Jamaica packages and they did not have any resort called Sandals. I explained what I purchased again and she said I needed to call them back.  I did but this time no one was available.  I asked to speak to a supervisor and was disconnected.  I called back again and asked for a supervisor or manager and was given the name Adam Walker, the call went to voicemail. I called back, was disconnected. I called again and was told to call back because Adam did not come in until 4:00 and there was no one else I could talk. Each time I called after that, I was disconnected or told to call 1-855-883-1865.  Now that number is no longer working, it goes straight to this number is currently unavailable. This happens repeatedly. I called back to reservations to just see if they could just refund my 305.00 and was told no, it was non-refundable.  I explained they had taken my money but had not fulfilled their end and again disconnected. I tried calling again to speak with manager and was given the name Jean Sims @ 327.  He said their was nothing he could do and sent me back to customer services. Again, the customer service was currently unavailable and still is currently unavailable.  In good faith I tried once again to get my money refunded and was disconnected."

An Arizona woman complained: "...when I did not receive my package within the 5-7 business days I called over 18 times and was hung up on over and over."

And yet another from Cody in California who paid $398 for his vacation : "...Then I asked what time and days they would be open (to book the trip) he said I was asking too many questions and started cursing at me saying F*** Y** B**** and many other profanities. He then hung up on me and when I tried to call back someone would pick up the phone then hang up. I called back a few more times and the same thing happened. I figured I probably won't get my money back as I can't even reach customer service since the number no longer works, it just rings and rings then an automated voice says "Now exiting system" and hangs up. The only number that does work is the main line 855-883-1867 and that will just get someone who will scream obscenities at you and hang up if you ask any questions."'

Express Vacations Centers' website, expressvacationscenter.com, was registered from Australia in February, 2014. BBB in Orlando issues a "D+" rating on the business and has received 7 complaints. At this time, BBB does not have a valid address for Express and, consequently, is unable to pursue the complaints.

Well, so much for our dirt cheap vacation.  If you get faxes at your office touting unbelievably low prices for fabulous vacations, check it out with us. We will make sure you don't get taken for a ride.

BBB also offers these tips:

• Don't be fooled by low cost or no cost vacation offers. They typically fail to disclose all related fees and have many restrictions.

• Obtain all company information. Avoid  travel offers received in the mail, over the phone, fax, email,  or at a presentation that do not disclose the company's name, location, and contacts.

• Get everything in writing before providing any payment. If you attend a presentation for a timeshare or travel club, make sure all verbal promises are provided in writing. Review all terms and conditions carefully before making a decision.

• Go to bbb.org to check out the business.

• Read the fine print. Make sure you understand all terms and conditions of a travel offer as well as any cancellation and refund policies.

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