When Arthur Biringer received a letter in the mail offering two free plane tickets on US Airlines, he was confused. “I find a sheet of paper that says US Airlines,” he says. “People right away think, US Airways, they exist. American Airlines, they exist.”
But US Airlines, at least as a commercial airline, does not. Red flag Number One.
Red flag Number Two?
“We have attempted contacting you several times without success,” Biringer reads from the letter.
But the truth is no one from US Airlines ever tried to contact him.
Biringer called the toll free number indicated on the letter and was told he’d have to come to a presentation by a new travel agency in order to claim his prize. He made an appointment but didn’t keep it.
Instead, Local 6 showed up at the company’s MetroWest office building with a camera rolling.
There was no sign of "US Airlines." The sign on the door reads “Global Vacation Network”.
Local 6 asked to sit in on one of the travel presentations. The receptionist bolted. An unidentified man asked the crew to leave. Asked why the company was using the name of an unknown airline on its letterhead, the man refused to answer. Follow up questions were met with “no comment.”
People leaving the presentation, however, were more forthcoming.
“Waste of time,” said Martha Gonzales, who had attended with her husband, Newton. The couple had been promised free plane tickets and a computer tablet for their attendance at the presentation. They described the travel agency as a timeshare seller.
“I mean, come on, I’m not a child,” Gonzales said.
She said she and her husband were offered membership in a "travel club." The membership would cost them $4,900 for two weeks of lodging per year at resorts around the world. Additionally, they’d have to pay an annual membership fee of $379 and $159 per week each time they booked a resort.
“I’m just upset,” Gonzales told Local 6.
While William and Gloria Grabosky were not upset, they were also not interested after they attended the presentation. They said they were pitched a membership for $12,900.
“We didn't know it was this kind of promotion, because the letter we received did not say what it was about,” Mr. Grabosky said.
“It was an experience. We know that if anything like that comes in the mail, it goes in the trash,” his wife added.
No one who attended the presentation left with the free airline tickets or any other gifts promised in the letter. Instead, they left with vouchers for tickets and gifts that a separate company is supposed to fulfill.
“I thought when I walked out of office, I would get what they promised, but what I have is a piece of paper,” Newton Gonzales told Local 6.
The Internet is teeming with complaints about Global Vacation Network. The company, apparently, has conducted similar business in markets across the country. Many consumers have complained that they never received the tickets or gifts promised. Local 6’s investigation is ongoing.
If you have a complaint or any information about Global Vacation Networks, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org