Sioux Falls, SD
A national company is targeting people in KELOLAND offering you steep travel discounts, only if you're willing to pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, up front.
Who wouldn't want to jet off somewhere for free? This check from U.S. Airlines for two round trip tickets looks legitimate, which is why when people get it in their mailbox, they take a second look.
"The check looked real and my first thought was, somebody wants to give me $1,300? There must be a catch someplace along the line," Russ Eng said.
Eng started hearing about others receiving the same "travel voucher" he did and called the 800 number included with it.
"In order to get these verified, get these authorized, this check, then you had to go to this meeting and that was it," Eng said.
"It's the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. But they're really smart about it because they will put on there, U.S. Airlines," Travel Agent Kay Parrott said. "There's not an airline out of this area by that name. There is a U.S. Airways; but it's close enough to the legitimate airline's name that people will assume that's the airline they're talking about.”
The official looking letter and check looks like it's from the fictitious U.S. Airlines; but if you Google the phone number on the check, you'll actually find it's from a company called Global Discovery Vacations.
A little online investigation reveals that Global Discovery Vacations has a "C-" rating with the Better Business Bureau for the number of complaints leveled against the company.
"There were indications several people were already suing this company. At that point we decided it probably wasn't a good idea," Eng said.
"It says specifically it's not a time share or land sales offer. It's not land, but you know they've got to be selling you something else. They're not selling you a week in a condo in Mexico, but they're going to be getting you into a travel club that involves you spending money over and above; it's not going to be free. It's not going to be something there is no charge for," Parrott said.
People who've attended these Global Discovery Vacation meetings to cash in their vouchers in other areas of the country report that they were given a heavy sales pitch to join a vacation club for discounts on travel. Those who didn't buy in were told they could get their tickets, which consisted of a mail-in form with a $110 application fee.
If you have any questions about this offer, call the South Dakota Attorney General's office of Consumer Protection at 1-800-300-1986 or take this link.
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