Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is alerting consumers to postcards being sent out across the Tucson area promising two round-trip airline tickets, a three day hotel stay, and a $50 Priceline.com Hotel Cash Card.
The postcards, which display the logos of US Airways, Priceline.com, and several well known hotel chains, urge consumers to call a toll free number where they’re told they need to attend a sales presentation for a vacation club in order to claim their vouchers.
Consumers who contacted BBB said they attended a sales presentation conducted by a company called Travel Authority, located at 1880 River Rd. Ste 100, in Tucson. BBB has attempted to contact the company to learn more information about them, but has yet to receive a response.
BBB warns that these types of presentations conclude with attempts to enroll consumers in discount or wholesale travel clubs, often promising steeply discounted rates for hotels, cruises, flights and travel packages.
In BBB experience, the upfront costs of enrollment in these programs are rarely if ever recouped. Promised travel discounts rarely materialize, customers find they must navigate a myriad of blackout dates and legitimate travel consolidators, lodgings, airlines and rental car agencies in some cases do not recognize credentials issued by these types of groups.
The company that fulfills the airline and hotel vouchers, Smart Travel and Incentives, is based in Orange, Florida, has a ‘D’ rating with BBB and has received 42 complaints since February of 2012. In response to past complaints, Smart Travel has stated that they sell their vouchers to third party companies- in this case Travel Authority- who use the vouchers as an incentive for a product or service the company offers.
A copy of Smart Travel’s terms and conditions for the airline tickets states that a deposit of $100 is required to collect the tickets, as well as a $75 processing fee for each ticket. Consumers are charged additional surcharges for travel during “peak season,” during conventions, and seven days before and after holidays.
For more information about travel clubs or other consumer issues, visit www.tucson.bbb.org or call (520)888-5353.