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Travel Discount Scams

Updated: Wednesday, May 7 2014, 03:55 PM CDT

In our special report we detail the major airline that's calling out a scam targeting those who love to travel.

With four children, family vacations are expensive for Frank and Jen Wlad. When they received a postcard with Jet Blue's logo stating they had been selected to receive two roundtrip airfares anywhere in the continental US and two nights in a hotel, they thought it was worth a call.

"I figured they had teamed up with Jet Blue and they were going to team up and offer that kind of package.

At worst they thought they would have to sit through a timeshare sales pitch.

"Wow. Free trip just for going to a presentation."

Frank and Jen were given an appointment at the Auburn Garden Hilton. They say on March 2 they sat through a sales pitch for American Travel Planners, a members-only travel club, and as sales people talked about incredible travel discounts, Jen took notes.

They came the first shock. The Wlads say the price of a membership with American Travel Planners was $9000.

At first Jen assumed it covered the cost of several vacations, but the Wlads say that according to the sales pitch, airfare and hotel costs were not included, instead membership would let the family in on big discounts.

"The had done their homework and research on how to get the consumer to reason with them and agree with what they were trying to sell."

Jen was skeptical and slid a note over to her husband. "What's the $9,000 for?"

"Once they saw we weren't biting, they just kept on pressing...and knocked the price down from $9,000, which they thought was a great deal, to $3,000 and he actually asked what's stopping us from pulling the credit card out now."

Frank and Jen decided to leave. A salesperson walked them into a hallway and gave them these airfare and hotel cards. Both offers require hundreds of dollars in non-refundable fees and deposits and have a long list of restrictions.

No phone number is listed anywhere on the cards and both require you to send money to a post office box before you can even make a reservation.

"With that, I think if you sent your money in, you would never see it again. It would just be *laughs* 'Thank you!'"

Similar postcards have been showing up all across central New York in recent months.

Last June, a travel seminar selling American Travel Planners memberships booked a conference room at this Cicero Hotel for a month. A day after we asked them questions about the use of Jet Blue logo and how the membership worked, they cancelled appointments and left town 3 weeks earlier than the hotel expected.

Since then, American Airlines has sued the company claiming fraud and deceptive business practices.

The Colorado Attorney General's office is also suing a company called Sea to Ski vacations for deceptive business practices. It has the same ownership, management and address as American Travel Planners.

Travel Discount Scams


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