Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Warning: Do not fill out that entry form!

I've "won" three vacation packages within the past 2 months. Lucky? You decide:

I never registered to win any vacation packages. Yet all three callers insisted that I had. What I and my husband had filled out -- in two separate states -- were those little forms next to cars displayed at a shopping mall (in Nevada) and at our own Viva Vienna town festival (Virginia). We filled out forms under signs that read "Win This Car!"

Funny... in each instance, we were notified that we had filled out forms to win vacation packages. If we gave the folks a certain "deposit" on our credit card to guarantee our reservations ahead of time. In one case, even before we had made a reservation!

I have already reported one of the companies to the Better Business Bureau and another of the companies to the Treasury Dept. Fraud Bureau. Vacation Village Resorts... you're next. One more call from you and you are gonna get a report to the BBB as well.

In the old days, there was something known as "Bait-and-Switch". You purchased one thing and were given something completely different, usually worth much less. The new scheme seems to involve people filling out forms to "win" one thing, but then all of their contact information is given to these vacation/resort "salespeople". And if you tell them to remove you from their call list, they say "Well, you did fill out a form and gave us your information."

According to the Federal Do Not Call registry, even if you have a prior relationship with a business, if you request that they remove you from their call list, they are REQUIRED BY LAW to remove you.

If they are a credible business, they will do so immediately -- no argument. The customer is always right.

Well, the guy at Sunshine Promotions didn't see it that way, and refused to take me off his list. He even TALKED OVER ME AS I EXPRESSLY STATED THAT I DID NOT WANT A VACATION FROM HIM and wanted him to stop calling me.

No salesperson ever talks over me.

Sunshine Promotions, you guaranteed yourself a complaint to the BBB. In fact, I noticed that there have been five complaints lodged against you since your BBB file was opened in August 2008. And BBB reports that you have not responded to four of the complaints. Well. I guess that says it all.

So, for all of you who love filling out contest forms at malls & festivals, be warned. What you are doing is giving license to dubious anonymous salespersons to hassle you via phone.

Don't take the bait anymore.

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