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Gift for attending seminar costs $75

Posted by: Jane Friedmann under Advertising claims, Businesses in hot water, Scams, Whistleblower Updated: May 30, 2012 - 11:24 AM

I wrote two weeks ago about Robert Boyd, who had attended a February sales seminar in Bloomington conducted by Olympia, Wash.-based discount travel company Vacation Choices. Here is a link to that story.

After listening to the 90-minute presentation, Boyd was expecting the promised "awards" for attending: A touchpad tablet or "mini-laptop" as well as a "bonus" digital camera.

Instead he received a sheet of fine print outlining the 13 steps he would have to go through to claim each "award."

He began the redemption process, paid for certified mail and then stopped when he realized he didn't know how much money would be required of him in the end.

The answer to that is $75.

I just received a call from Minneapolis resident Elizabeth Nager. She and her husband attended the seminar with genuine interest in the travel club. She said the touchpad just "sweetened the pot for us."

Her husband made the required trips to the post office, purchased international money orders and sent forms by certified mail, as specified in the instructions. When they made it to step 13 and the amount to be paid for shipping and handling was revealed, they totalled the costs at $75.

A similar amount would have been needed for the "bonus" camera, a 5-megapixel out-of-production poorly-rated model that sells for $42 or less online.

The touchpad tablet is offered online directly from China for as low as $55.

I gave Nagel the phone number of the director of operations for Vacation Choices, Scott McCarty, who had promised in an interview to personally procure the items for disillusioned seminar attendees and make sure they received them.

Nager will call me back with McCarty's response. Stay tuned.

 

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