We had filled out an entry form for a free trip at a recent home show (March 2012) in a hotel in Stamford, CT. They left a message and I called back "Casey" at 603-718-1050 who said I won 4 free round-trip airfares. I could hear many voices in the background akin to a “boiler room” operation. I asked to see the contract in writing and she said the email they send once you set up an appointment has a confirmation number on it so they can't send it until you actually make the appointment (which is a few hours away in the next state to begin with!). So I said to take the number off and then email me. She said the computer automatically sends it so she can't do that. Then I said to print it out, remove the confirmation number and either fax or mail it to me since they already have my address. She talked to her manager who said they can't do that. I told her this is a big scam and they certainly know it since they can’t give me any details in writing prior to us attending a 90 minute (and some have said it lasted 4 hours) presentation. Again she spoke with her manager who said they can’t send me anything in writing beforehand. When I went to the website address she gave me, www.northeastgetaways.com, I only saw one page that doesn’t say very much other than AFTER you go through the sales pitch do you actually see the documents (at which time it’s too late to not do business with them). I asked “Casey” why they’d give away something as high-valued as 4 R.T. airfares (she said it’s actually worth $6000 which makes it $1500 a ticket – three to six times more than I’ve ever paid to travel just about anywhere in the lower 48) just to listen to a sales pitch when you could easily fill a room with financially qualified volunteers just by giving them, say, $200 (or even $50 in this economy). She said that’s how the company does business. Uh, huh. Anyone have a bridge for sale?
They are also known as KWC Marketing LLC (category “Telemarketing Services” per the BBB), 32 Daniel Webster Hwy., unit #27 in the Harris Pond Office Park in Merrimack, NH 03054 (paying somewhere around $12 per square foot). Their phone is listed as 877-819-5072 and the fax is 508-957-1808 (this is actually in their Mass. office). According to the Better Business Bureau, the business was started 7/1/11 (a day earlier - 6/30/11 - per the NH Secretary of State). In Feb. and March of 2012, they’ve had 3 complaints to the BBB (“Advertising & Sales Issues”) and all three cases have been closed. The BBB lists these contacts: Kevin - email@example.com, and the Marketing Manager Justin Theriault. They have a “B-Minus“ rating from the BBB (on a scale of A+ to F). They are not accredited by the BBB, but they might not have sought accreditation. Now, if your company is on the up-and-up and going to be around for the long term, seeking and being granted BBB accreditation would be a feather in your cap. BBB has criteria they use to determine if a business can even get accreditation.
When I checked KWC Marketing, LLC (which is also known as Inn Season Resorts) with the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office, I found their business Status is “Not in Good Standing”. The principal office address is 17 Olde English Lane, Gilford, NH 03246, which is also the office address of the Registered Agent Kevin W. Curran.
The website registrant for Northeastgetaways.com is Curran Management Services, 212 Mid Tech Drive, West Yarmouth, MA 02673. The Administrative and Technical contact for their domain is firstname.lastname@example.org of InnSeason Resorts at 508-957-1885; fax is 508-957-1818. This domain was created on 7/14/2011. InnSeason is listed in the Massachusetts Secretary of State records with these names: InnSeason Management, Inc. and InnSeason Vacation Club, LLC. The president is William Curran at the Gilford, NH address.
It looks like you’re dealing with six companies here: Northeastgetaways.com, KWC Marketing LLC, Curran Management Services, InnSeason Resorts, InnSeason Management, and InnSeason Vacation Club LLC and all seem to be headed by the same person, William Curran. Northeastgetaways.com’s Caller ID says “Gateways Northe…” – yet another name (see a pattern here?). Note that the fax listed for the NH office is actually in MA – probably at InnSeason Resorts since their fax number is almost the same. The New Hampshire office is about an hour away from where William Curran lives.
As an aside, several times I’ve received (illegal) spam faxes from a company (I don’t know if it’s them or a similar outfit) that’s offered numerous round trips plus cruises and vacation stays. You know the saying “If it’s too good to be true …” These companies rely on greed and ignorance to get people to fall for their pitches. When I asked the company who faxed me the offer (and the fax was made to look like it came from a business’ travel department and being sent internally to their employees), I asked for something in writing. They said they couldn’t mail it in time since I’d have to attend a presentation that evening or the next morning. So I asked them to fax it to me but they said their fax was down. And of course, they wouldn’t email me a copy of the contract either. If you’re reading this do not think you will EVER get these benefits without shelling out money one way or another. For example, to use the airfare, they may require you to stay at a preferred hotel where the rate would be many times higher than if you booked it yourself directly with the hotel. There are many variations of this scam; hence, they will NEVER give you a copy of the contract in writing until it’s too late! What legitimate company do you know that would refuse to show you the terms prior to making a deal?
When you look on the back of the entry form you filled out (assuming you did), there is language that says you agree to accept their calls even if you’re on a Do Not Call list. Of course, once you tell them to take you off after that, they have to (if they follow the law). If they keep calling even after you tell them to remove you, contact your state’s Dept. of Consumer Protection and the Attorney General’s office as well as those offices in their states: NH and MA. You can Google this information. Also send a complaint to the FCC and the FTC (again, Google this). Please let your state and federal legislators know – give them the facts and how their calls are causing you grief even after you tell them to stop. Ask them to pass state and federal laws requiring Full Disclosure right up front (which these companies do NOT want!). I’ve done all of the above. When enough people complain (especially during election season), the powers that be may listen and do something.
When I researched the two company names on the ‘net, I only saw complaints from consumers. Many companies will do business, then shut down after enough complaints pour in to agencies, and pop up under a new name. Notice how this one just started mid-2011 even though I was told they’ve been around for a long time. There are some great consumer gurus on radio and TV – Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey are two you can trust and learn a lot from. Christopher Elliott (on the web, newspapers, and magazines) is another one. Clark is my favorite for this kind of issue, however. You’ll hear him (and the other consumer guys) repeatedly talk about what a horrible idea it is to purchase vacation club memberships, concierge services, timeshares, and the like. Many of their callers say they can’t even give away their timeshares! Just remember: Greed and Ignorance are how many of these companies get customers (“a fool and his money …”). Stay away!
Why won’t the telemarketers send out a FULL copy of a contract showing EXACTLY what you will get, what you need to do to receive it (where their presentation is and what is the maximum length of the program you have to sit through), what fees are involved, and what else do you need to purchase to make use of the so-called “freebies”. Finally, BEWARE of anyone who wants to see your credit card when they’ve just told you that you needn’t pay any money. Your driver’s license is a legally valid photo-ID. Why would they want to see your card as even people with poor credit have credit cards? Are they going to make a copy of your card number? Put duct tape over the card’s numbers if they really need to see that you have a card. And if they want your credit card number so they can “confirm your identity”, R-U-N! I’d like to read a contract that PUTS EVERYTHING IN WRITING that we can see beforehand. They’ll promise you the moon over the phone because in a court of law, you have no proof of anything they said. Demand to see EVERYTHING IN WRITING beforehand, but of course, they will NEVER do this because no one would attend! The people that do attend these, according to the consumer gurus I mentioned, are for the most part greedy and ignorant. There are so many red flags being raised all I can say is educate yourself and tell everyone you know so they don’t fall into these traps.
Follow-up: They called again and hung up when they got the answering machine (from the same number, 603-718-1050).