These guys are going bad to their tried-and-true strategy of making up two-name companies and sending letters offering free airline tickets. (See all other posts here about these letters.) Please comment if you received one with your location.
It tells you that you have qualified for an award of 2 roundtrip airline tickets. It looks like it was actually signed by Kelly Mane, the “Vice President.” They hand write the address on the envelope and use a real stamp (sometimes!).
Here are the new companies so far:
Fletcher Adams (fletcheradams.com)
Nelson Murphy (nelsonmurphy.com)
Franklin Hobbs (franklinhobbs.com)
Duncan Jacobs (duncanjacobs.com)
Stevenson Barnes (stevensonbarnes.com)
Once you go to the sales pitch and sign up, you book through a fulfillment company. I’ve seen two lately: Universal Travel Vacations (website, BBB report) or the The Vacation Station (website, BBB report TN, BBB report SC)
I have found the answers to this mystery thanks to the great work of the folks at BBB in Tucson, AZ:
An actual story: http://www.kgun9.com/features/investigations/122887609.html
If you would like to read more about these folks, visit this post. You can read all about the sales presentation, the free offer and the what you get for your vacation membership club cash outlay.
I am pleased to inform you that you have qualified for an award of 2 roundtrip airline tickets. Congratulations. These tickets are valid for travel anywhere in the Continental U.S. The retail value of this award is up to $1,298.00. Certain restrictions apply.
We have attempted contacting you several times without success. This is our last attempt. If we do not hear from you soon, we may need to issue the ticket vouchers to the alternate.
Please call me today at 1-866-517-2406 (numbers always changing).
VP du jour (see above)
Travel Awards Division
Here is what would happen if you did call:
When I read this, it was just too good not to post. It’s from the Nebraska Attorney General (page 13 printed/page 15 PDF).
Look for the warning signs that may indicate a scam:
- Benefits sound too good to be true.
- The company has no permanent address and all presentations are held in rented conference rooms.
- They can’t, or won’t, provide you with references.
- They don’t want to give you an itemized list of what’s included in your trip until you have already signed the contract.
What you should do if you suspect a scam:
- Don’t sign any contract during the travel presentation. They are high-pressure events intended to stir the emotions of an exotic vacation.
- Contact a respected travel agent in town, give them the specifics of the trip, and ask if that seems consistent with industry pricing.
- Shop around. Compare your trip with other travel packages being offered to seniors.
Here is Michigan’s Attorney General’s advice: