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  #1  
Old January 7th, 2011, 01:12 PM
janicebrennan janicebrennan is offline
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Default Has any actually taken a "free" cruise

EDITOR'S NOTE: We have now written an article about this scam - you can find it here:

http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/...urn-080111.cfm



We received a post card for a free cruise from a travel company. They want us to attend a 90 min lecture and we are suppose to receive a free Carnival Cruise and air fare. We will be required to pay port charges and fees. My question is: Has anyone taken or know anyone who has actually take one of these?
Thanks
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  #2  
Old January 7th, 2011, 01:28 PM
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Don't bite......the cruise ships are what I calll sea buses...this is a far cry from a "real" cruise experience..fees are attached as well, so I say, toss it!
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Old January 7th, 2011, 01:34 PM
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You say Carnival cruises but I would check that very carefully and please come back and tell us. I don't know of Carnival participating in anything like that at all.

Generally those offers come on a smaller 1-day cruise to Nassau cruise line. I think ship is Imperial Majesty. It is all a scam - once they get your first payment they tack on a bunch or surcharges and special conditions that in the end makes a regular cruise a far better deal.
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Old January 7th, 2011, 01:36 PM
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I don't think Trip may have completely understood your post.

Carnival is not the "busses of the sea." It is a real and quite good cruise line. There are some day cruises that fit the "busses of the sea" profile but Carnival does not.

Having said that; I would check into EVERYTHING you will have to pay in order to receive this free cruise. My guess is that you will be required to pay the port charges, all taxes, including the airline taxes and you will end up with a three or four day cruise in the lowest category cabin and you will need to cruise on a few specific days. This will probably cost you a minimum of few hundred dollars and far from free. You will also have to sit through the time share, MLM or other pitch and the high pressure tactics associated with it. This alone would make me throw the invitation in the garbage.

There is rarely a "free" cruise.

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  #5  
Old January 7th, 2011, 02:52 PM
janicebrennan janicebrennan is offline
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The "offer" was for 8 days, 7 nights on Carnival anywhere and includes airfare. Supposedly from any port. They specify it's not for a time share, but to encourage business for Premium Destinations travel agency.
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Old January 7th, 2011, 03:09 PM
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We have friends who took a "free" cruise. Of course they paid for it by being on a previous cruise ship that sunk
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Old January 7th, 2011, 03:27 PM
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The last time we attended a "time share presentation" for a "free cruise aboard Royal Caribbean", it turned out that the taxes, port charges, and SERVICE CHARGE were nearly as much as I could have booked an RCI cruise for. Not only that, they wouldn't allow me to select the date. I could select three BLOCKS of dates, and when, and if there was an "empty cabin" then I'd get to go. I told them where to put their "Free Cruise".
The closest to an actual "Free Cruise" we've taken, was $79, plus port charges, and taxes for a seven day. That was on "Premier Cruise Lines, SeaBreeze" just before the line folded.

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Old January 7th, 2011, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janicebrennan View Post
The "offer" was for 8 days, 7 nights on Carnival anywhere and includes airfare. Supposedly from any port. They specify it's not for a time share, but to encourage business for Premium Destinations travel agency.
Janice...

This is unheard of. If you want to send me the offer I will be glad to call them and get the details for you (I am the editor here at CruiseMates. so I am not going to steal your free cruise).

In my personal experience this has NO chance of being a valid offer - it could even be a credit card scam. Private message me if you want my email addy.

Read this: Free Vacation? Free and Discount Travel Fraud
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  #9  
Old February 11th, 2011, 01:24 AM
nidachti nidachti is offline
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Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
Janice...

This is unheard of. If you want to send me the offer I will be glad to call them and get the details for you (I am the editor here at CruiseMates. so I am not going to steal your free cruise).

In my personal experience this has NO chance of being a valid offer - it could even be a credit card scam. Private message me if you want my email addy.

Read this: Free Vacation? Free and Discount Travel Fraud
I received the same post card and was thinking of checking out the offer. Did either of you happen to look into it? I would prefer not to waste 90 minutes of my time if the offer isn't legit. Thanks in advance for letting me know what you learned.
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  #10  
Old March 16th, 2011, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janicebrennan View Post
We received a post card for a free cruise from a travel company. They want us to attend a 90 min lecture and we are suppose to receive a free Carnival Cruise and air fare. We will be required to pay port charges and fees. My question is: Has anyone taken or know anyone who has actually take one of these?
Thanks
We received a "free" Carnival cruise when we bought our timeshare. It was for an inside cabin only but on a 7 day cruise. We chose the Glory when she was only 6 months old. We had to pay the port fees and taxes and we upgrade to a balcony. It was a great vacation. Check out the travel company carefully. For only 90 minutes of your time it might just be a 3 day cruise but any cruise is better than none.

I have a friend at work going on her 2nd NCL "free" cruise given to her by one of the local casinos where she is a regular. She pays the taxes and port charges and gets a 7 day/inside cabin cruise.
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  #11  
Old April 19th, 2011, 09:50 AM
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I have, more than one time. You have to be able to stand up to the high pressure sales pitch and believe me it will be high pressure. Depending on the terms of the "free" you may have an unbelieveable bad cabin with bunk beds in a noisy location and there may be blackout dates. Also, many times there are major restrictions as to whom you can make your reservations through and they will have limited access to cabins. You could find it very hard to book a cruise on a date anywhere near where you want to go and when. I have found it usually not worth the aggravation.
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  #12  
Old April 19th, 2011, 05:04 PM
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(Hello, new member here, just went with Carnival Conquest last Nov)

I just got the same postcard. Did anybody attend the presentation? Is the gift as good as the postcard stated? I'm not too concerned about attending the presentation -- I'm much more concerned about the free cruise offer, e.g. available dates, can I leave from Galveston (I live in Houston), how much will my 2 kids cost?

I have "endured" a timeshare presentation in Orlando once. It lasted 3 hours, and yes it was high pressure -- at one point, the salesman's supervisor practically questioned my sanity. Didn't buy anything but ended up getting free Disney World tickets ($200 value). I would do it again.

Last edited by revive; April 19th, 2011 at 05:18 PM.
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  #13  
Old April 25th, 2011, 08:08 PM
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I just got one of these in the mail today as well. Seeing as the wife and I have never had a real honeymoon, a cruise would be a very nice thing for us. However this offer just makes me uneasy to begin with.

Anyone got anu recommendations on a site or agency that seems to have pretty good budget cruise deals? We have a baby on the way and need to split our fun money between the two lol.

Anyways, any help would be appreciated =)

Thanks
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  #14  
Old May 24th, 2011, 02:08 PM
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Default We received the same post card and attended the sales pitch.

My wife and I attended the sales pitch for what sounded like a vacation time share. The sales pressure was on however my wife and I have been doing contract negotiations for 12 years. We didn't think of it as pressure but just another negotiation.

Anyway, we didn't buy a timeshare and we got the free certificate. We had to pay about $300 in registration fees so far. Now we are on the next step where we have to activate our certificate we paid the registration fee for within 5 days of receipt. We call the 800 number to activate it however all we get is voice mail for 2 days now. I'm beginning to think we were taken.

I have 2 days left to activate this certificate. We'll see what happens. I'll keep you all posted on how this works out.
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  #15  
Old May 24th, 2011, 02:11 PM
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Are you calling a number where all they answer with is the word "reservations..."?

I have tried calling the same number several times and gotten the busy signal. I got a real person twice but they both put me on hold. In one case I gave up waiting, and in the other case after 15 minutes they cut me off.

Please give us more details on who it is you are dealing with, despasqjj.
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  #16  
Old July 13th, 2011, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janicebrennan View Post
We received a post card for a free cruise from a travel company. They want us to attend a 90 min lecture and we are suppose to receive a free Carnival Cruise and air fare. We will be required to pay port charges and fees. My question is: Has anyone taken or know anyone who has actually take one of these?
Thanks
I booked a cruise for the Azura for March this year online with Cruise.co.uk on new years eve and received a message would back would I like to sail on the IOS sailing from Southampton 26th Jan for eighteen nights free.

Well at first I thought someone was pulling my leg but it was for real, what a great start to the year

Two other members of the forum also won a competition for the same cruise
so six of us enjoyed the cruise meeting up for dinner on formal nights

So in answer to your question yes there are free cruises out there
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  #17  
Old July 14th, 2011, 02:03 PM
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Well... I know that we have given away free cruises here on CruiseMates. Holland America has a contest on their web site right now.

But that is a different conversation - we are talking about these "you have won a free cruise" post cards you get in the mail that end up having fees and conditions attached that they didn't mention at first.

We haven't heard from our intrepid explorer, depasqjj, for quite awhile. I wonder where we stand?
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Old July 14th, 2011, 06:05 PM
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Not received anything like that on this side of the pond, lots of junk mail and phone calls win free holiday accommodation and flights, just pay for the insurance, airport taxes and transfers

Costs more than just booking an all inclusive
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Old July 14th, 2011, 06:38 PM
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Someone I know has just won a competition for a free Holday to Barbados in time for "Cropover" I told her to be careful when accepting though....
I think a lot of these prizes are fixed!! Just handed out to the favoured few. After all how many people can accept a free cruise at short notice? My wife would say Oh yeah what cabin & where is it!! (so would I)
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Old July 14th, 2011, 07:39 PM
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Hey come on John, what gives you the idea that the Spartan line would fix a competition

The "Imagine" has the highest standards and always sails on time

It's just we never publish the time we are sailing
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  #21  
Old August 3rd, 2011, 08:33 PM
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I also received the post card and when you call the number - 1-800-595-6510, it either does not give you a ring tone or you end up with 1=866-595-6510, which belongs to a totally unrelated company. Wonder who is sending postcards out.
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Old August 3rd, 2011, 10:11 PM
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I assume these prices are in addition to what you ave already paid?

Here are your answers: Cruise Details - Royal Caribbean International

Client Pays
per per breakdown
Category N inside
$ 129.00 Process
$ 75.00 Port
$ 75.00 Xtra Nite
$ 292.53 NCF & Tax
$ 571.53 Total PPDO

This cruise is currently selling for $609 per person. So, if you have already paid out about $160 per person you are overpaying by $130 per person. Taxes pp are $65.66

If you add taxes & fees this is the prices for TWO people:

Summary of Charges

Stateroom Stateroom Total $1,349.12 USDGuest 1Guest 2Cruise Fare:$609.00 $609.00 Taxes/Fees:$65.56 $65.56 Per Person Total:$674.56 $674.56

So - you could have saved about $106 by booking directly. The taxes & fees should be the same no matter what category you select - so the outcome is about the same. I don't think you saved a cent - just the opposite.

You can figure it out at the link I gave you - just go through the booking process until you see the full price - then just quit the process.

Category I ocean view
$ 129.00 Process
$ 75.00 Port
$ 75.00 Season
$ 100.00 Upgrade
$ 292.53 NCF & Taxes
$ 671.53 Total PPDO

This is currently selling for $699 per person.

Category D2 Balcony
$ 129.00 Process
$ 75.00 Port
$ 75.00 Season
$ 525.00 Upgrade
$ 292.53 NCF & Taxes
$ 1,096.53 Total PPDO

That cruise is currently selling for $1199 per person.
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  #23  
Old October 9th, 2011, 11:48 AM
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Default Divine Getaways Perpetuating Vacation Club Membership Scam

On August 5, 2011, I filed formal complaints with the Attorney Generals of the States of California, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and the U.S. Postal Service Investigations-Fraud unit against Divine Getaways, Reservations Services International, Celebrity Productions LLC, Passport To Travel, Fun Time Vacations, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Carnival Cruise Corporation.

The formal investigation were sought to identify what appears to be a joint conspiracy and fraud perpetrated by these entities with regards to the business practices of conducting vacation membership clubs and which appear to be a scam. I alleged that each of these entities played a specific role in the perpetration of the scam which has resulted in tens of thousands of purchasers paying tens of millions of dollars for services and products which these entities after signing agreements have failed to fulfill. I sought an investigation for the purpose of having the States take specific actions resulting in injunctions against these entities from conducting such business practices and to further pursue legal complaints against these entities as individuals and companies, as applicable.

In March 2011, I received a complimentary promotion card sent to me in a mass mailing through the U.S. Mail in Southern California. It invited me to a promotion presentation of Divine Getaways, a vacation membership club business. Apparently, they had set up a permanent office in one of the local hotel banquet rooms and were using a private drop-off post office box as the business address.

The promotional card provided that the entities sending the card were Carnival Cruise Corporation and US Airways. It provided that a “Complimentary 8-Day/7-Night Cruise for 2 with an outside cabin, leaving from any major port in the U.S.” had been awarded to me as a complimentary gift by simply calling a toll free telephone number and attending a presentation whether or not I purchased the vacation membership club package. The card also indicated “This is not a timeshare or land sale offer”. The promotional card had the official logo of Carnival Cruise Corporation and US Airways imprinted on it and a picture of a Carnival ship.

I returned a telephone call and was advised that this required me to participate in a 90-minute presentation conducted by Divine Getaways. Before attended the presentation, I investigated as to whether or not this company was a reputable vacation membership club business and travel seller authorized to transaction business in the State of California. I contacted the State of California Office of the Attorney General and was advised that Divine Getaways was registered with the State (Registration #2104377) and that the registration expired March 14, 2012.

I recently called the 800 number on the promotional card and was advised that the same program had relocated from its original location and was now being offered under the name “Package Vacation” at a different hotel.

On March 16, 2011, I attended the 90-minute presentation. During the presentation it was represented that Divine Getaways was the legal representative and affiliated with Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Carnival Cruise Corporation, and Reservation Services International. The vacation membership club was offered at a one-time $8,995.00 membership fee and an annual fee of $149.00, and contained certain terms, conditions, limitations and restrictions. Based on the presentation, representations and negotiations of the terms and conditions, I purchased the membership package for $2,995.00 and paid the first year’s annual fee of $149.00. After signing all of the documents, I was provided with the “certificate” that would allow me to receive the complimentary and “free” cruise.

In order to receive the free cruise, I was required to mail in a “cruise certification card” to Celebrity Productions LLC in Woodbridge Virginia with a fee of $98.00 payable to Celebrity Productions LLC as the “Vacation Activation” fee. The certificate provided “Upon receipt a reservation forms would be provided within 15-days. The certificate also stated “When you receive your reservation form, you will be responsible to pay your taxes, all services charges, fuel charges, additional security fees due to 911, which will range from $179 to 259 per person, depending on the destination”. The signed certificate and $98.00 was mailed on March 19, 2011 to Celebrity Production LLC. The certificate indicated that the cruise would be on a major cruise line such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Norwegian Cruises.

In addition, a second certificate for two round trip airfares was sent to Celebrity Production LLC with a required fee of $70.00. This certificate also had a provision that stated “When you travel you will be responsible to pay your taxes, all service charges, fuel surcharges, additional security and surcharges due to 911 which may range between $50.00 to $65.00 per person”.

I then received from another company, Fun Time Vacation located in Clarksburg Maryland, a "vacation voucher” card which set forth the “Cruise Vacation Details”. In addition, to the card stating the details of the vacations and cruises, it had the logos of Carnival Cruise Corporation, Royal Caribbean, Caribbean Cruise Line and Discover Cruise Lines printed on the card. It was represented that Fun Time Vacation was a legal arm of these companies. Further, the card indicated that in order to register for the free cruise, the vacation voucher had to be registered and that “Travelers are responsible for $29.00 registration fee, government taxes, and cruise fees starting at $59.00 and up depending on length of the vacation. A small fuel charge may apply during peak season”. It also stated "There is a $50.00 per person processing fee require by Carnival/Royal Caribbean cruises only”. Finally, the voucher stated “Celebrity Productions LLC (stamped on the voucher) is not responsible for the fulfillment of these reservations. Fulfillment is the sole responsibility of Fun Time Vacation”.

In order to receive the reservation, on March 13, 2011 a credit card charge of $58.00 and on March 19, 2011 a credit card charge of $100 was processed by Fun Time Vacation in order to receive the reservation.

On or about April 22, 2011, I received a U.S. Mail certified envelop that contained the “Registration Validation Form” as a brochure from Passport To Travel located in Tamp, Florida, now a third company in the process as I was trying to secure the free trip. It provided that the Registration Validation Form be completed and mailed to Passport To Travel with a fee of $75.00 as the “cruise deposit”, and that the participating sponsor was Fun Time Vacation. The Registration Validation Form was issued on April 26, 2011.

At this point, it appeared that in addition to Divine Getaways receiving the initial vacation membership club fees, that three separate and distinct companies, Celebrity Productions LLC, Fun Time Vacations, and Passport To Travel had intervened and had sought and received fees for the processing of three different documents to simply get to the point of being able to make a reservation. I had already spent $326.00 ($98.00 to Celebrity Productions, $70.00 to Celebrity Productions, $100.00 to Fun Tim Vacation and $58.00 to Fun Time Vacation). I chose to pay no further fees to Passport To Travel. After considerable chaos, emails going back and forth, and the threat of litigation, I requested refunds of the prior amounts. On April 13, 2011, I received a refund from Fun Time Vacations in the amount of $58.00. On April 22, 2011, I revived a refund from Fun Time Vacation in the amount of $100.00. On May 13, 2011, I received a refund from Celebrity Productions LLC in the amount of $98.00 and then $70.00. I never received a refund from Divine Getaways or any of the services which were provided for in the Vacation Club Membership I purchased.

Throughout this ordeal that began in March 2011, a Ms. Leslie Lenel, Director of Administration for Divine Getaways had consistently represented in emails and telephone calls that she would resolve this matter and arrange for the cruise reservation. She failed to follow through on any of her commitments.

I now understand that there is a parent entity by the name of Global Holidays, Inc. also involved. Additionally, I have determined that there are other entities involved in this matter including LifeSource Foundation, Inc. and God's Luv International Ministries Church. I have also determined that the lead person involved in the religious and vacation club membership entities is a Pastor Pierre Bennett. Pastor Bennett is the President and founder of LifeSource Foundation, Inc. and is the creator of God’s Luv International Ministry, both of which are non-profit religious institutions that are promoted to be philanthropic and faith based.

In addition to Pastor Pierre Bennett being affiliated with all of these entities, it is shown on the LifeSource Foundation website that Ms. Leslie Lenel is a member of the Board of Directors of LifeSource Foundation, Inc. and the direct contact person for Pastor Bennett and these entities as the Administrative Director of Divine Getaways and the other travel companies. In addition, her husband is a member of the Advisory Board of LifeSource Foundation, Inc.

There are tens of thousands of individuals in States throughout the nation which are victims of the vacation club membership scheme that is being implemented by Pastor Bennett and Ms. Lenel through either LifeSource Foundation, Inc., God’s Luv International Ministry, Global Holidays, Inc. and the various other affiliated entities.

Other companies related to Pastor Bennett include Paradise Escapes, Inc. also doing business as Divine Getaways, Packaged Vacations and Fantasy Vacations, and Package Vacations, LLC, and Global Holidays, Inc. As it becomes publically known what the schemes are that are being offered by these entities, they relocate to other geographic locations to re-establish business activity using the same tactics. They most often establish temporary business offices in hotel conference rooms to conduct their activities and implement their schemes. They avoid establishing permanent business locations where they are conducting their business.

In Johnson County, Olathe, Kansas, the District Attorney in August 2011 filed a temporary restraining order against the vacation companies Paradise Escapes, Inc., also doing business under the names Divine Getaways, Packaged Vacations and Fantasy Vacations. Similar actions are being initiated in other states, while some states have not pursued this due to not having received adequate complaints to date to begin an investigation and not having conducted the required investigations.

I have confirmed that Pastor Bennett is the founder and president of Global Holidays, Inc., a travel and marketing company which is stated to be based in Vienna, Virginia. Global Holidays, Inc. is a corporation formed in the State of Virginia (SCC ID: 06418552) July 22, 2005. Their address is 12020 Sunrise Valley Road, Suite 100, Reston, Virginia 20191.

I have also confirmed that Pastor Bennett is the President and Executive Director of LifeSource Foundation, Inc. which is stated to be based in the State of Virginia (SCC ID: 06310353) and formed February 4, 2005. In addition, God's Luv International Ministries, Inc. was formed by Pastor Bennett in the State of Virginia (SCC ID: 07312200) on December 15, 2010. The principal address of these entities is 2427 Cabots Point Land, Reston, Virginia 20191.

The website for LifeSource Foundation indicates that their contact information is LifeSource Foundation, Inc., 12138 Central Avenue 664, Mitchellville, MD 20721, 703-956-5066, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected].

The website for God's Luv International Ministries Church indicates that their contact information is Lake Anne Village Center, 1609-A Washington Plaza N., Reston, Virginia 20190, 703-395-1430 [email protected]

Ms. Lenel’s and Divine Getaways contact information is Divine Getaways, 12020 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 100, Reston, Virginia 20191, 703-476-2286 (office), [email protected]

On October 3, 2011 I filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service to seek appropriate steps related to these entities seeking civil and criminal remedies.

The actions of these entities are clear evidence that these entities appear to have conspired and conducted fraud resulting in direct damages to me and other.

As one reviews the Internet, it appears that this scam is being conducted all over the United States and that there are hundreds, if not thousands of people that are being misled and taken advantage of. They are continuing to conduct business in California and in the States of Florida, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. without any enforcement of State and Federal laws, rules and regulations. Their conduct is continuing the perpetration of fraudulent business practices on others, thereby causing damages in the tens of millions of dollars.
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Old December 6th, 2011, 04:51 PM
Sydaubel Park Sydaubel Park is offline
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Seems they are reading these or other posts and are cleaning up their postcards. I'm thinking of attending a presentation with a hidden camera. new toll free number is 877-289-9860
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  #25  
Old December 6th, 2011, 04:57 PM
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You could go with a hidden camera - but these people are slick. I am pretty convinced everything they are doing is technically legal - and that is the sad part of this whole thing. They can get away with it because they are not breaking any laws.

They are completely unethical and lie to you - but there is little in writing that they give you that guarantees you a "free cruise". It is all double-talk and promises never meant to be kept.

Note - the cards usually say "complementary" and NOT "complimentary." The first means "additive" or "coordinated" the second means "free".
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  #26  
Old December 23rd, 2011, 11:59 PM
roadnut roadnut is offline
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Just wanted to provide some interesting info regarding this cruise.

Here's the postcard I received today. It asks people to call within 48 hours to 1-855-394-9948. The ports of call are the same as previously mentioned.

The wording of the offer as as follows. Except for the ficticious name, I have used exact spacing, formatting, italics and bold font:
_______________________

Dear John Doe
In celebration of our Grand Opening in your area, you have been selected to receive a 8 Day/7- Night Cruise for 2 with an outside cabin, leaving from any major port in the U.S.

CALL WITHIN 48 HOURS. YOU WILL ALSO RECEIVE AS A BONUS
2 Roundtrip Airfares Leaving from or Going to Any Major Airport in the Continental U.S.!!
_________________________

So...did anyone notice? At no point in the above offer, or anywhere else on the postcard, did they ever say "Complimentary", "Complementary", "Free", or any other similiar language. They leave it up to the person receiving the card to interpret that for themselves...which would be an incorrect assumption!

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  #27  
Old December 24th, 2011, 05:35 AM
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Donna Donna is offline
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To say the least, very misleading for sure.
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  #28  
Old December 24th, 2011, 07:19 AM
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Paul Motter Paul Motter is offline
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Yep, Roadnut - morphing the scam for sure, but still the same old thing.
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  #29  
Old February 8th, 2012, 12:00 AM
scammed scammed is offline
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My husband and I attended a 45 minute presentation from Smart Travel Incentives Inc. after that we had a representative trying to sell us a 10k package to a club that offers discount vacation packages(That you could book yourself online for the same price minus the thousands you would pay them) then he switched places with another person that said he was busy, then they switched back, then they switched to a woman who was pissed when we still wouldn't buy their bs package. We then received our certificates for the free cruise and the free airfare for two. I filled out the forms sent them in the mail with a payment of $99 for cruise and $75 for the airfare and sent them out in the mail. Just got the check and the form returned to us with void stamped across the form. The letter said we didn't follow the protocol and send it certified mail so it was void. They received everything had it in their hands and sent it back to us. Can anyone say scam? Don't bother going to this thing the company had a C rating with the bbb because they are scam artists. But on the positive side I have gotten my $99 back so far.
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  #30  
Old February 8th, 2012, 09:41 AM
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It is unfortunate, we hear about these scams all the time. I think you were lucky to get your $ back....Lesson learned.
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