CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Jack and Sandy Barber love to travel so when they received an advertisement in the mail in January stating they'd “been selected to receive an 8-day 7-night cruise for two,” they called the toll-free number for more information.
“They said come on down. We got these free gifts that we'll give you for attending the seminar,” Jack recalled.
The advertisement doesn't state "free," but it does say that if the Barbers called within 48 hours, they would also receive a bonus of two round-trip airfares.
“The gifts that they promised us in the beginning sounded good,” Jack said.
During that phone call, the Barbers say they registered for a seminar at this Tempe-based company called World Resorts International.
But they didn't just attend the seminar, they wound up signing a contract for a "private resort membership" for $4,300.
“We do all the work for you. We'll set up all the vacations and do all the footwork for you,” Jack said.
However, when it came time to redeem that eight-day cruise and airline tickets -- the incentives that got them to attend the seminar to begin with -- the Barbers say they had problems.
For example, those two airline tickets were actually going to cost $400 for taxes and other fees.
“When you start going to see about booking these things, you have to book them months and months in advance. You put in your request, you don't necessarily get them,” Jack explained. “Then when you do, they have all these extra fees added on that doesn't make the trip worth making.”
3 On Your Side contacted World Resorts International.
The company's CEO, Joseph Martori, tells us the incentives the Barbers received were actually through a third-party company he uses to bring in potential customers, like the Barbers. However, Martori provided a document signed by the Barbers indicating World Resorts International is not responsible for third-party offers.
3 On Your Side then contacted that third-party company, a Florida-based business called VIP Travel Reservations, which has nearly 300 complaints and an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
In an email to 3 On Your Side, a VIP Travel Reservations rep says, in part, "Our vouchers do not offer free travel, but can offer a substantial discount."
Jack and Sandy say they're disappointed.
“I just wanted to let other people know that they really need to think hard before they get into a timeshare or this type of vacation plan,” Jack said.