Post card offers free airline tickets, delivers sales presentation

AdExample-2-png

This postcard made it appear consumers had won  round trip airfares to any place in the U.S., but all was not as it seemed.

This postcard made it appear consumers had won round trip airfares to any place in the U.S., but all was not as it seemed.

“In celebration of our new year packages we’ve selected you to receive 2 round trip airfares to anywhere in the contiguous United States —good for the next 12 months!”

But, not really.

Better Business Bureau is issuing a warning about Austin-based Platinum Travel Network’s deceptive post cards. Consumers allege they receive post cards with the American Airlines or another well-known airline’s logo telling them they won two free tickets.

However, when consumers contact the number on the post card, they are asked three “qualifying” questions, like “Are you single or married?” Those who “qualify” are invited to attend a 90-minute presentation in exchange for the airline tickets.

More than a dozen consumers have filed complaints against Platinum Travel Network, many alleging they were subjected to high-pressure sales tactics after attending the presentation. Some alleged they felt misled by the post card and the company did not provide the promised tickets.

In addition, despite the post card’s claim that the tickets are good for anywhere in the contiguous United States, the company told a BBB investigator that was a mistake. The tickets are really only available to certain cities.

BBB contacted the company about its misleading claims as well as the use of the American Airlines logo, which leads consumers to believe the offer is associated with the airline. The company did not respond to that letter.

BBB advises consumers to be wary of any letters, emails or phone calls claiming they have won a prize, especially if the consumer does not remember entering a contest. Often, these are scams meant to steal money or personal information.

To help consumers identify a sweepstakes scam, BBB provides the following:

  • Are you asked to make a purchase in order to get your prize? According to the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act, if you have won something, you should not have to pay a penny or purchase anything to receive it.
  • Are you asked to wire money? Many times scammers will instruct you to wire money to cover the fees, such as processing, administrative or tax fees, before you receive your prize. Once you’ve wired money there is very little chance of getting that money back.
  • Be cautious of look-alikes. Scammers often use names of government agencies and well-known organizations to try to confuse you and give you confidence in the winnings claim.
  • Did you receive this notification via bulk rate mail? According to the Federal Trade Commission, it is highly unlikely that you’ve won a big prize if your notification was sent by bulk rate.

To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.

Edit: DallasBBB just completed a comprehensive study explaining the complicated web of companies involved in travel club schemes. It makes for an interesting read. 

This entry was posted in BBB Investigation and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Post card offers free airline tickets, delivers sales presentation

  1. Lowell says:

    Received one of the cards, almost to the exact word, American Airlines. Made call. Must reply to age (72 years, max), marital status, income ( if you decline they’ll settle for a range, “between $60k and $100k”). Added pitch: must agree to pay $39 each in fees; need photo ID that is not a credit card, spouses, in our case, must attend a meeting pretty much immediately to hear about a travel service, “not a time share company.” Yuk.

  2. Received a “Travel Check Voucher” almost the exact wording; Note that this check voucher must be redeemed by April 25th, 2013. If you do not claim your award, it will be transferred to the alternate. This is a limited time offer and may be withdrawn at any time. Flights fill quickly. Please reference your check voucher number YU-11073. This travel check must be certified to be valid. Call 1-866-994-5908.” “This is not a timeshare or land sales offer.”
    I called the number and they said a travel agency was advertising wholesale travel; “Directvacationdeals.com. and made an immediate appointment for April 18th at 4:45 pm at the Ramada Inn on East 6th Street in Reno. Did not say we had to pay anything but both of us had to attend the meeting and had to be below the age of 70 and make over $50K/YEAR.
    We are not going to the meeting and I am tearing up this voucher!!!!
    Juanita

  3. Robin Love says:

    I just received a $1350.00 check. it says travel voucher. It was signed by Ashley Faye and says final notice. It says to call 1-866-355-0050. Please use reference number YW-55926

  4. JC DCoupler says:

    just got it…here in TN…$1350.00…thanks for the info…trashed!

  5. YUMI SAN says:

    THERE IN LAS Vegas Nevada now. Total SCAMMMMMMMM MAY, 2013

  6. Jane says:

    I received a check of $1350 and I am glad that I looked online to see if it was a scam. Thanks for the info.

  7. Jenni says:

    I just received a “check” for $1350 and the number they list is 1-866-577-6462 and the airline they’re using is US Airlines and it was signed by Charlotte Hoehn. Glad I checked the BBB! Total SCAM!

  8. Sandra says:

    Same song, second verse……….. Received a postcard the same as described above using Jet Blue. 888-639-6990

  9. Pingback: Texas Attorney General secures asset freeze, temporary injunction against alleged timeshare mediation scammers | Watch Your Buck | Better Business Bureau's Blog

  10. Anon says:

    Just received another version of this in the mail issued as a “check voucher” from “Travel Union, Scottsdale AZ 85251” signed by “Angela Hudson”. Phone is 866-815-6156, American listed on the “voucher” as if from American Airlines.

  11. James says:

    Just American on my letterhead. Respond by June 12th, 2013. $1198.00 call 866-237-6916. First flag before I looked this up. Hand addressed, no return address. Kudos for using a regular stamp. Sadly, I know at least 20 people that would have called anyway.

  12. Pingback: Multinational operation stings deceptive timeshare resellers, vacation prize schemers | Watch Your Buck | Better Business Bureau's Blog

  13. Tarah says:

    Just got mine…postmarked out of Phoenix AZ…numer and contact is 18662727990, says to contact Ali Crane the VP, hand addressed, o return mailing, also for $1198.00. Stupid.

  14. Some Guy says:

    I received a sweepstakes from Ali Crane out of Phoenix AZ with the contact number of 1-866-358-0305. Ali Crane VP.

  15. Dave D says:

    They are still at it…July 30th, 2013!

  16. GT says:

    855 879-8217
    866 346-0924

    Platinum Travel Network Inc.
    Phone: (512) 342-2740
    11130 Jollyville Rd Ste 303, Austin, TX 78759
    http://www.ptntravels.com

    BBB file opened: June 26, 2012
    Business started: 04/27/2011
    Business started locally: 04/27/2011
    Business incorporated: 04/27/2011 in TX
    Type of Entity
    Corporation
    Business Management
    Mr. Todd Folkman, Owner
    Mr. Abdul Al-Tabbah, Manager
    Contact Information
    Principal: Mr. Todd Folkman, Owner
    Customer Contact: Donald Hayhurst, Member Services Manager
    Business Category
    Travel Agencies & Bureaus
    Travel Clubs
    Additional Information
    Effective September 7, 2012, the BBB Accreditation Application for Platinum Travel Network, Inc. was denied. The company failed to provide additional information requested by the BBB regarding the industry in which they operate.

  17. Celeste says:

    Greetings from Florida! I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your site on
    my iphone during lunch break. I love the information you provide here and can’t wait to take a look
    when I get home. I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone
    .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, fantastic site!

  18. SL says:

    Got the same American Airlines offer. Q&A’d the call center rep. This is a timeshare-ish sales organization. After much prodding, could not get the black out dates for air travel. Without knowing the blackout dates, this is totally worthless reward for 90 minutes. I would also be concerned they would sell your financial information to unscrupulous rip off operations. Buyer Beware.

  19. Arnold Ziffel says:

    Got the same offer today from “American Airlines”. Thanks to the people that posted here. It looked like scam, but you confirmed it.

  20. Fool me once says:

    Decided to call but no one answered, I really want to fly somewhere for free. Bummer I believe really I do! Must be busy scamming the other fine folks of Phoenix tonight.
    LOL

  21. Claudette says:

    got one here in oregon Now has Delta Sky rewards

  22. Jennifer says:

    Just received the updated version of this “notice”:

    “Fly With Any US Airline
    NOTE: You must respond no later than Aug. 8th, 2014.

    Dear Jennifer,
    I am pleased to inform you that you have qualified for an award of 92) round-trip airline tickets. These tickets are valid for travel anywhere within the continental United States departing from any major international airport. In addition, you will receive two (2) nights at any one of over 1000 Marriott Hotel locations. The retail value of this award id up to $1,398.00.

    Because previous attempts to reach you have been unsuccessful, this correspondence will serve as your final notification.

    Please call me at 1-855-723-2978
    Your claim number is 10-000-xxxx

    Regards,
    Lisa Jackson
    Guest Services Manager”

    No return address; no stamp, just a presorted prepaid label. No logos or associated airlines other than the Marriott Hotel mention. On one side of the tri-fold mailing is the following statement:
    “Certain Restrictions Apply. Call For Details. Taxes & registration fees and/or processing fees are the responsibility of the recipient. This promotion is not sponsored by or affiliated with Marriott or any other third party business referenced in this promotion but they are major suppliers.”

    Obviously, they are trying to cover their butts with the new language. I knew right away this was a scam because of the “previous attempts” statement. I knew no one had tried contacting me for anything of the sort, nor had I entered any contests.

    We all want free flights but do not fall for this one!

  23. john says:

    2015 😦 1700 voucher American travelers first 300 callers free nights at marriot hotel yadayada. haven’t called due to just got a 1,996 for secret shopper jus days prior which was fraudulent so did research on this one. And Tara here is this thread. Tucson

Comments are closed.