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JOE SHERREN: Travel the world without paying

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - It is that time of year when many will be going off for two-weeks in the sun. This is good, and in some cases necessary, especially for those diagnosed with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

Joe Sherren

 After being there for few days you start thinking “If only we could afford to do this more often.  Well, now you can, according to the scammers.  You are promised an annual vacation here, or another venue, anywhere in the world. 

 How it works is your group is approached and each presented with a scratch and win type ticket.  One of you will receive the winning ticket which guarantees you will win one of three or four prizes such as $500 cash, a video camera, casino chips, or a one-week free vacation.

 But, before you can scratch you must sit through a presentation designed to tempt you into “investing” up to $15,000 for membership in a vacation discount club.

Through the presentation you will experience four or five highly trained individuals, each one more persuasive than the last and each "authorized" to offer you an even better deal.  You will hear phrases like; “prices are increasing”, “offer good until you leave,” “one-time special only”.

Victims should realize they are only purchasing a “promise” of a discount for future travel; subject to availability. Also, the discount is off “rack” prices, which no one ever pays.

In the end, the discount amounts to nothing, and you have just paid $5,000 to $15,000 for that privilege - plus the annual membership fee.  The real rub comes when you try to use their package, when you will be informed of even more administration and processing fees.

I know there are legitimate travel discounters out there, and I do not want them to be lumped in with the high-pressure, "buy now or else" dream merchants.

So a sign to watch out for is being ridiculed for wanting to take time think it over. When this happens, walk away and leave your "prize" behind.  Only do business with reputable, established local travel companies with a real person you can speak to when something goes wrong.

Now, what about that prize you were promised?  After finally being allowed to scratch the ticket, you will discover that everyone receives the “one-week free vacation” option.

But, then comes another twist. That “free” vacation will cost you the following:  A $15.00 non-refundable processing fee due in 30 days, plus $199 (per person) admin fee (based on double occupancy), plus a $50 reservation guarantee, plus a $49 travel surcharge, plus a surcharge for a room upgrade, plus surcharges for extra guests. Do you get the picture?

Not included is the cost of getting to the resort, tips, and taxes. After checking in you might discouver even more surprise charges. So, this ”free” vacation could end up costing more than one purchased from a local (trusted) travel agent who would find a package more suitable for your personal needs.


Joseph Sherren, CSP, HoF, FellowGSF, International Business Transformation Specialist. Call 902-437-6998, or check our website

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