Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The pain of the Scam...

Alright, it's time for a rant...there's no news story here, this is all me. I want to formally complain about the sleazy, rude and dishonest business practices of Sundance Vacations. Here's the story.

A month or so ago I was in the King of Prussia Mall and filled out a sweepstakes entry form to win a Hummer H3. I always fill those things out, but I've never won.

So you can imagine my surprise today when I got a phone call informing me that my name had come up in the preliminary drawing and that everyone who's name was drawn in the preliminary drawing have won a 3 day vacation to any Marriott hotel in the country along with a $500 Internet shopping spree. Sounds good, right?

The woman on the phone assured me many, many times that there was nothing I needed to buy and no obligation, but that in order to claim the prize I'd have to go to their office and sit through a 45 minute presentation about the travel agency. Blah, not too bad for all that. So I agreed and scheduled a time to go...tomorrow evening, to be exact.

Then I got to my computer and went to work. Google is your friend in situations like this. In less than 10 minutes I was able to pull up dozens of websites (RipOffReport, Scam.com, etc.) all listing pages and pages of people complaining about this "scam."

...and they all described in perfect detail what happened to me...

It's not really illegal, just shady. Here's what the real story is...you get to the office and have to sit through a presentation which lasts over an hour in which they try insanely hard to get your money. If you manage to get out alive, they give you a website to go to to spend your 500 bucks. The site is apparently full of dollar-store junk that all has crazy shipping costs.

So I'm a little peeved. I'm almost looking forward to the "where are you?" phone call I get from them tomorrow. The moral of the story is that in today's world, you have to question EVERYTHING...even sweepstakes winnings. :-(


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:59 PM

    Mr. Joseph,

    I was sorry to read about your dissatisfaction with my company, Sundance Vacations, and apologize if you were caused any distress. It is our intention to be clear and honest during each step of our marketing campaign.

    First off, I wanted to let you know that I have verified that your entry form has been entered in the database for the Hummer H3 sweepstakes. Entries will be collected for the sweepstakes until December 31, 2006. The drawing will take place before February 1, 2007 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, and the name of the winner will be posted to our website. Even though you say you never win anything, I wish you the best of luck. There's a first time for everything!

    We take several actions to ensure complete understanding by our customers. The result, since I started this business, is 60,000 clients whom we put on real vacations (to the shore, to Disney destinations, to Hawaii or the mountains). I realize the real story isn't as sexy as uncovering a scam.

    The real story about Sundance Vacations is that it is an honest company that employs a lot of honest people who work hard at their jobs.

    I don't want to bore you with a lot of details, but I do want to clarify a few things:

    * We place a statement on the front of the registration slip informing entrants of our intention to call them.
    * If a client says no to our offer, we do not reuse the list.
    * When a client arrives at our office, we conduct a light (and, we hope fun) and informative group presentation about our travel product.
    * We do ask customers to purchase our product -- what company doesn't? --but our intention is to present the benefits and let the customer give us an answer. It is never a hard sell.
    * As a thank you for allowing us to introduce our product all customers receive a vacation voucher for 2 nights at 600 select Marriott properties nationwide.
    * We believe we are working with one of the best incentive companies for this endeavor. When we reported that our customers needed greater availability, the incentive company was successful gaining broader availability for hotel dates. Using this incentive certificate is very similar to using frequent flyer miles with an airline; there are restrictions but customers do get a good value for their time.
    * When we were looking for a small bonus gift we turned to GoShoppingMall.com because they were widely used by several banks, car dealerships, and several other businesses. Again, we are upfront and honest about the shopping spree in a variety of ways. We tell all clients that they are responsible for shipping and handling during the telephone call and again in writing before they begin the presentation.

    If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them. We pride ourselves on helping people take great vacations and on creating awareness of our business through honest and ethical means. If you email me your phone number, I can call you and address any of your concerns.

    Sundance Vacations