The postcard in our mail looked authentic — a “parcel” notification from an overnight delivery service. It was addressed to my better half, and without giving it a second thought, she called the phone number to find out when she could pick up the package.he
But surprise! There was no parcel.
Instead, a very polished representative on the other end of the line promised she’d receive a portable USB device charger and a “brand new” Android tablet if she and I attended a presentation.
At this point, your scam-o-meter is probably off the scale. There’s a vast, hidden network of shady companies out there that dangles “free” cruises and vacations in front of clueless Americans in order to entice them into a high-pressure sales presentation for a worthless vacation club. And in the “prizes” are never, ever free.
I hadn’t seen the parcel pitch, so part of me hoped this would be different.
During the phone call, the still unnamed representative asked a few questions. What was our income? Our marital status? How old were we? Then, we were told that in order to collect our parcel, we just had to attend an “open house” by a company called Global Vacation Network.
Anyway, at this point, anyone who comes close to Global Vacations Network should do so with a healthy dose of skepticism, if not disbelief.
Before I could say “this isn’t for us” Kari had a confirmed reservation for an appointment in her “in” box.
Congratulations! It is our pleasure to confirm your scheduled reservations!
This is your invitation to the Open House Presentation. While visiting the showroom, you will learn inside information from leaders in the travel industry on how to save when traveling. During the entertaining and informative 90 minute presentation you will be amazed at the savings you can receive on all your future travel needs. This is not a timeshare or real estate offer.
At the end of our open house presentation you will receive your portable USB device charger and your brand new Android tablet, as our way of saying thank you. When you call our offices to confirm your reservation, you will also receive a great bonus gift of $100.00 Restaurant Dining Card to be used on the website Restaurant.com.
This is a promotional offer. You are under no obligation to purchase anything to receive the incentives. All we ask it that you keep your scheduled reservation and enjoy the show.
This valuable promotional offer and the opportunity to attend the presentation, while not required, are by invitation only. Seating is limited to invited adult guests only, so we ask that you do not bring children. Please let us know if you cannot keep your scheduled reservations so we can allow others to attend.
In order to receive your incentives, you must arrive at the showroom at your scheduled reservation time, where you have the ability to attend the group theater-style presentation. Additionally, after the initial 90 minute presentation, we will have consultants available to answer any additional questions you may have about our program. The presentation will start promptly on time for everyone so we ask that you arrive a few minutes early. We simply ask that you meet the following guidelines in order to attend our open house and qualify for this promotion. If you cannot meet these guidelines at this time, we ask that you reschedule your reservations and your incentive will be issued upon your next arrival when you do qualify.
This promotion is designed for persons aged 25-70, both individuals in the relationship (married/cohabitating/engaged) or singles with a combined gross annual income of $40k or more. For married, engaged or romantically involved couples, both parties in the couple must arrive together at the showroom in order to receive the incentive.
You must be a U.S citizen and speak, read and write English. Both persons in a couple will need a government issued photo id (ex. driver’s license or passport).
If you are in the process of divorce or separated, currently a travel club member, or have received a promotional giveaway like this one within the past 12 months, we will contact you for our next promotion. Customers must arrive early (10 minutes before scheduled reservations).
Please go to website referred to on your letter to see all details of this offer.
Please print and bring this letter with you to the presentation.
I’m not going to keep you in suspense: I told Kari there was no way I’d attend this presentation. Disturbingly, the company called her only a few moments later to “confirm” the appointment, which is when she canceled.
How did they get her number? Who knows.
The letter does reveal a few interesting things about Global Vacations Network. Yes, it’s a travel club. They’re targeting couples between the ages of 25 and 70 with a combined gross annual income of $40,000 or more. They don’t want any kids because seating is “limited.” (Probably disruptive, too.)
In retrospect, I think the only reason we received this is that Kari has a different last name than mine. No vacation “club” in its right mind would pitch me and expect it not to result in a little media coverage.
As a sidenote, I was asked to be an expert witness in a lawsuit against a network of vacation clubs, and when I read the complaint, I was shocked by how large, well-organized and lucrative these shady businesses are. They are truly everywhere.
It would not surprise me at all to receive a lawyer letter from Global Vacations Network after this story posts. Of course, I will publish the letter in its entirety when I get it.