I am looking for people who have been scammed by "travel" companies. Fortunately, this has never happened to me, but I have seen it happen to others.
I remember one time I went to some kind of "state fair" where I signed up to win a free cruise - by filling out a form for a "drawing". I filled it in (Oh how naive I was at the time) giving them all kinds of personal information, and tossed it in the box.
To my not too great a surprise, I won the contest!! OK, I gave them my information expecting to be contacted with some kind of cut-rate offer, but I didn't expect to be told I had WON the contest. Surely, that would mean I got something for nothing.
"Mr. Motter, you have won a free cruise." they told me.
So I asked them - what exactly did I win, and they told me, "air tickets, hotel stay, free cruise." Then the moment of truth came, I asked them what I had to do to collect my prize and they said, "well, we require a credit card number to hold the reservations for you." I said, "but I haven't made any reservations yet, how do I know what I am holding" They replied, "it doesn't matter what arrangements you decide to make, but we need your credit card info now so when you do make arrangements we are ready to handle them for you."
"Why can't I just get details on what I have won, and then make my reservations and give you the card then?"
"It doesn't work that way." they replied! "If you don't give us your credit card number now we can't award you your prize."
To which I said, "That's stupid, I am not going to give you my credit card number not knowing what I am going to get in return." And they said, "Well, are you refusing the prize then?" and I said "You bet I am, you sleazy con artists." They hung up.
The next week I got another phone call. "Mr Motter, you have won a free cruise!" "Oh really" I asked. "And when was the drawing hed?" "Just today" they said, youare the winner."
"I am the winner, and no one else?" I asked and they agreed. I said, "Well, I won this same contest last week and I turned it down then and I am turning it down now."
Two weeks later, I was attending a class at the local universtity when a gal-friend said to me, "I won a free cruise!"
I said, "let me guess, you were at a fair, filled in a form and they called you and said you had won." "Yes!" she said, "how did you know?"
"Because I won that contest, too, twice," I told her. Then I told her I hoped she had not given them her credit card information, but she already had. Turned out she ended up losing a deposit she had made when she discovered the free trip involved service fees AND a timeshare visit. The cruise was one-day trip, Miami to Nassau, and the airfare was no bargain.
Anyway - I want to hear about travel scams - especially CRUISE scams that you have been involved in. Now, this isn't the place to tell me about coupons from mainstream lines you found it hard to collect on. I want to hear about REAL con artists offering FREE cruises, etc.