Maybe you think you’ve heard this story before. It involves presentations with aggressive salesmen, lofty promises made and allegedly not kept, and fingerpointing — lots of fingerpointing.
But you haven’t heard this story. Not the way Troy Bryan tells it, at least.
He recently received a phone call from someone representing a company called Premiere Discounts.
“A representative indicated that I had won a prize from a contest that I had earlier entered,” he says. “I don’t recall entering this contest.”
Bryan took careful notes during the conversation. The representative promised him one of four “prizes”: A 2013 Dodge Durango XT SUV; $2,500 in cash; a Bahamas cruise or a Toshiba laptop.
The catch? He had to attend a sales presentation.
“When we checked in at the hotel, they verified our annual income,” he remembers. “We also had to show them our driver’s licenses and credit cards.”
The spiel was for a condominium offer made by a travel club called Gold Crown Resorts. There was pressure to buy, of course. When it was over, a representative gave him a cardboard pad with a gray circle. Bryan was invited to scratch the circle to see what he’d won.
The prize? A “vacation package” offered by another company, Choices Election, Inc. (confused yet?).
The fine print on the offer said he had to pay for all taxes and port fees, gas surcharges and a “processing” fee of $70 that had to be wired to the company — no checks or credit cards.
Bryan thought there was something fishy about the offer. If he’d won a real prize, it would be given to him without strings attached and any taxes would have to be paid to the government, not to the company.
He contacted me, hoping I could persuade the company to honor its offer of a “free” vacation.
I asked him if he could establish a better paper trail in which he asked the company to honor its promise, and it responded. And here’s where things begin to fall apart.
The response from Gold Crown seemed almost rehearsed:
Gold Crown Resort did not solicit your attendance at the presentation, nor did we offer any type of promotional gift to you.
Gold Crown Resort is not in any way involved in sales or marketing. We are a travel and accommodation service provider. We were contracted by Premier Marketing Concepts to provide these services to their registered clients. After careful review of our systems, there is no registration existing in your name.
It is important to understand that Gold Crown Resort did not issue a voucher to you and plays no role in the promotional item that you may have received.
Gold Crown Resort is a separate and distinct company from the entities you have mentioned including Premier Discounts, Premier Marketing Concepts and www.ChoiceSelectionInc.com.
For these reasons we respectfully request that you direct any further inquiries to the appropriate parties.
Thank you for your understanding.