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LadyBabu's avatar

Free cruise scam?

Asked by LadyBabu (4points) September 30th, 2010

My boyfriend and I went to the Oktoberfest in Cincinnati and entered one of the “Enter to win a BMW suv” things, you know, like you put a piece of paper with your info on to a box and they will draw a winner…Anyways, we pretty much forgot about it then he got a call a few days ago that we have won a 4 day cruise to the Caribeans includes the airfares, and all the accommondations (Mexico or Bahamas of our choice). So we were very excited. But we were very cautious too so he asked them over and over again if we have any obligations or do we have to pay taxes and things like that. They said no, all we need to do was to go to a presentation yesterday.
So we went there, it’s a company called smart travel or TAN, with the expectation that they wanted to sell us something. And yes, they wanted to sell us a vacation package (“Wholesale” vacations, where you pay 15,000 for 30 vacations). We pretty much had our minds set that we are just going to sit through the time and took our cruise trip and go.
So it was the presentation and then a one on one session with a sales person. It was hard core high pressure sales there but we still were not persuaded at all. Then at the end, he figured that we would not be buying their things, so he said, well, have fun with the cruises but you have to pay port fees and taxes.
We were both very surprised that we still have to pay for some of the things but they said it’s only about $250 max per person so we thought that’s not too bad, we can pay for that..
But this whole thing, especially how they talk and how their organization is organized made us suspicious, we both feel like the cruise trip might not be simple like that, we feel like it might be a scam but not sure how?
Has anyone here knows or has experienced similar situations?

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13 Answers

Ivan's avatar

Don’t do it.

Nullo's avatar

Robert Heinlein said it best: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. TANSTAAFL, for short.
It very probably is somewhat scammy.

chyna's avatar

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck, or in this case, probably a scam.

CMaz's avatar

It is/was a free trip. Time shares do it all the time.

You just have to be tortured for a few hours. Listen to nothing they say. And at the end just say I will think about it. They try to make you believe you have to say yes.
They use plenty of manipulation on you.

I like to play along, let them think I am all over what they want to sell me. As a matter of fact I want the biggest package they offer. Marvel over what they are offering.
Might as well make the most of that time.

And when the paperwork comes out and you have to sigh on the dotted line…

Repeat after me… I HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT.

Bingo. Free trip, hotel accommodations and/or sometimes cash.

And yes, it is a big pain in the ass and time consumer. Nothing is free or easy.

LadyBabu's avatar

@ChazMaz Have you done this before? What I am afraid of is, once we “Registered” for the “free” trip, there’s going to more fees, more lies and make a vacation not pleasant at all. Then we might as well just go on vacation ourselves..

CMaz's avatar

Remember this. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING. Registering is ok. DO not give a SS# or bank account or credit card.


And yes, I have.

If it is a scam, it will show itself. If it was free and now you have to come up with $250 then it was not free. Walk away. But, if the $250 is worth it. And you want to or have planned to go. That is another thing.

LadyBabu's avatar

@ChazMaz Thanks! So there’s not going to be more fees when you are on the trip?

CMaz's avatar

I can’t say yes. I have to read the documents.

Usually, it will be made clear before you go. Usually paying in advance.

pjk5042's avatar

i wouldn’t do it

faye's avatar

Yes, time shares. So you sit through the meeting and then go back to vacation time. This is how I got to Florida and the Bahamas. Well worth it to me. We went to Sea World and Nasa. Amazing!

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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

As far as taxes, if you win a lotto you pay the taxes, win a car on the Price Is Right, you pay the taxes, that falls on the recipient. As for the trip package, a friend a Brother took a trip package, not exactly on your terms but there were cost to it, there were certain duties that he had to pay but he got a package of trips one on the west coast, another on the east with a trip to Vegas. However, you could not cancel any of the trips because then you would have to pay more for them. To get all of this at the great price was he had to sit through a presentation on the cruise. I am sure the trip package was used as a loss leader, sometimes they win, I suspect often they lose, but when they get someone it is worth the gambit.

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