‘We both should have known better’

Jonathan Quinn and his wife attended a sales presentation by WorldQuest International at the Hilton Conquistador in Tucson, Ariz. The pitch involved joining their club to get cheaper travel deals.

“It was quite a high-pressure sales pitch, where the presenters painted a picture of deep discounts on travel, from air fares to cruises,” Quinn says. “Although we both should have known better, we nonetheless bought into their services.”
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Seriously, how careful do consumers have to be?

Bryan Perilman shoulda known better.

He and his wife were flying from Fort Lauderdale to New York this summer on Spirit Airlines, but the their flight was canceled because of mechanical problems. When a representative offered to fly the couple on Delta Air Lines if they accepted a voucher, he should have known to ask: Is there a catch?

“A Spirit representative offered us two free round trips each,” says Perilman. “More than fair, we thought.”

But they thought wrong.
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Maybe Anthony Weiner needs this woman’s phone number

Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock
Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock
No American airline thinks of its customers in quite the same way Spirit Airlines does. And the feeling is mutual, as far as many of its passengers are concerned.

If you have any doubts, look no further than last week’s tasteless Anthony Weiner promotion. Seriously, folks. You can’t make this stuff up.

Or, for a more G-Rated discussion, consider what happened to Catherine Migliano when she tried to cancel her $9 Fare Club membership recently. The carrier’s corporate intransigence may have opened the entire airline industry to millions of dollars in damage claims.

Spirit’s “club” offers access to lower fares and discounts, but it is also — and this is clearly disclosed on the airline’s site — a self-renewing membership. It’s a never-ending source of complaints, for a variety of reasons.
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Is this a cruise club bait-and-switch?

Azamara cruise. – Photo by Jonathan/Flickr Creative Commons
Even though having the words “cruise” and “club” in a single sentence are probably enough to make some of you scream “scam!” this one is may be different.
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Is this a scam? Travel To Go leaves one couple disappointed

Should I renew my membership - or not? / Photo by tasuki - Flickr
We’ve talked about vacation club scams in the past — and I’m on record as saying I’ve never run across a legitimate travel club — but what happens to the folks who plunk down thousands of dollars for a membership?

Well, meet Cheryl and Don Harvey, who were vacationing in Branson, Mo., with friends last March when they were approached by a salesman for a company called Travel To Go.
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Is this enough compensation? Rescued from Spirit’s fare club, but still unhappy

Spirit Airlines’ “$9 Fare Club” is probably one of the most controversial legal travel clubs in the country. Scratch that. It is the most controversial travel club in the country.

The problem isn’t that customers are offered lower fares in exchange for joining the club ($59.95 a year) but that they’re automatically renewed, as per the club’s terms. That’s often a surprise, and it seems to be a scam, at least to some customers. Even scammier: Spirit is reluctant to refund the autorenewed $59.99, even though the customer no longer wants to be part of the club.

Rules, says Spirit, are rules.

Meet Judi Breinin, one of the club’s “victims.” Rather than narrating her story, I’ll just replay the correspondence between her and Spirit.
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Can this trip be saved? Left high and dry by my resort

Club Med Sandpiper Bay is an all-inclusive resort near Port St. Lucie, Fla. — the perfect place to escape the cold December weather in Washington without having to spend hours on a plane. At least that’s what Jane Winfrey thought.

Back in April, she made a deposit for the week of Dec. 2 to 10 at hotel. But in late August, she received an apologetic call from Club Med representative. There was a problem with her reservation.
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A club not worth belonging to: Massachusetts cracks down on three alleged vacation scams

I have yet to find a single travel club that’s worth joining. Some, if not all, are outright scams. The latest, according to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, are Only Way 2 Go Travel, of Plymouth, Mass., Fantasia Travel Group of Methuen, Mass., and Outrigger Vacation Club of Tulsa, Okla.

The state has filed a complaint and obtained a temporary restraining order against the companies for allegedly selling sham vacation club memberships that cost consumers hundreds of thousands of dollars without providing the promised benefits.
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