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BBB of Southern Arizona is receiving hundreds of inquiries from local consumers about Southwest Travel Club, www.southwesttravelclubs.com, located on 4811 E. Grant Rd. in Tucson.
According to consumers who have attended presentations hosted by Southwest Travel, the company is a private, discount travel club that promises steep discounts on an array of travel, including cruises, packages, timeshares, special events and more for a membership fee. Consumers say the up front cost of the program is $8,995; members pay an additional one-time $399 “documentation fee” and an annual membership fee of $199. Other packages for lesser prices are offered.
Consumers who have attended recent presentations hosted by the company say they received a letter in the mail from either Premier Choice Rewards or Patterson Bell. Patterson Bell is also sending letters using multiple names including: Hoffman Sims, Richardson Blake, Sutton Perry, and Swanson Carr.
The letter from Premier Choice Rewards, which features the Wal-Mart logo, states: “Our Promotional Department has scheduled you to receive two round trip airfares to a major international airport in the continental USA. Our records indicate that by responding within 72 hours you will also receive a $300 Wal-Mart Merchandise rebate certificate.”
When consumers call the toll free number listed on either of the letters they are invited to attend a 90 minute presentation hosted by Southwest Travel.
BBB has received 152 consumer inquiries about the company since mid-December.
Consumers who receive offers for questionable travel awards can contact BBB at (520) 888-5353 or www.tucson.bbb.org. Consumers who may have complaints against Patterson Bell or Hoffman Sims regarding their airline ticket “award” program should file online at www.tucson.bbb.org and with the Arizona Attorney General at www.azag.gov.
UPDATE: BBB has learned that Southwest Travel has started doing business in Tucson under the DBA, Wholesale Travel Service. BBB has also received complaints from consumers upset about Southwest Travel’s aggressive telemarketing efforts. One Tucson consumer says she was called over 16 times in three days after she told a telemarketer she wasn’t interested in attending Southwest Travel’s sales seminar.