Part 2 Free airline tickets: Too good to be true?

By Lynda Figueredo - bioemail

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A new discount travel club that just opened up shop in Savannah has customers wondering if their incentives are too good to be true.

Angel and Gary Shurling were disenchanted after they received an invitation in the mail to attend a marketing presentation for which they were promised two airline tickets, but after attending the meeting they soon learned it wasn't an airline.

"They are trying to sell a travel package where you pay $6,000 or $8,000 and join a travel club," said Angel Shurling.

The actual company, the Vacation Station says they used a third party marketing company to bring customers in.

"It's a different type of advertising," said Sam Campbell.

When we asked the company about the letter the Shurlings received, the Membership Director said he is not familiar with the contents of the letter.

"Do you think it is confusing, especially for this couple to see US Airlines and there is no return mailing address," said Lynda Figueredo. "I can obviously go to the marketing company that referred these particular individuals to our company, and ask them what you asked me," said Campbell.

"This promotional type thing that is questionable," said Ross Howard, the Vice President of the Better Business Bureau. Howard says the Vacation Station should be held responsible for everything that is sent out on its behalf.

"Bottom line, if you represent yourself as one thing and you are really not that is one thing the Georgia Governors Office of Consumer Affairs, as well as the Georgia Trade Commission frowns upon," said Howard.

There are ways to use this type of marketing without crossing the line.

"The company even said this is a bribe they use," said Howard. "Many companies do properly use and do the things the right way. By saying there is a new airline in town and there isn't a new airline in town, by signing someone's name that is employed by an airline that isn't the exact name of the airline, it's a little bit deceptive."

At the end of the meeting the Shurlings were presented with two airline vouchers, but would have to pay a fee and taxes on the roundtrip tickets.

"I would want to know what is that fee for? When it is all over and done with when you add up the taxes and everything else, who are you writing the check too? The Vacation Station or US Airlines?" asked Howard.

"We have to go home and see if that is legit or not," said Shurling.

The Shurlings decided not to use the vouchers after reading various customer complaints

According to the Better Business Bureau, the Vacation Station has ratings ranging from an "A -" to an "F" and says the business is known to open a location for a period of time, sell a number of vacation packages and then move to a different state.

Howard says in order to find out if a deal is good too be true it's important to ask: what the hidden costs are, the stipulations of the deal, if there's any black out dates, and how long you have before the offer expires.

WTOC spoke to another customer who paid the taxes and fees on the airline vouchers. The customer soon found out that he could only fly from a select few airports without having to pay extra fees, and he only had 30 days take advantage of the deal.

After paying all of the fees and taxes, he missed the 30 day cut off and never got the tickets.

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