Spirit Incentives Complaint

"Free" cruise isn't free and doesn't exist! - Vacation

- Florida

We were offered a "free" vacation for listening to a presentation on a travel club, the modern version of a timeshare. After the presentation we were given a certificate for our "free" vacation.

We submitted our paperwork. The paperwork asks for three travel dates that we would like. The paperwork states that summers and holidays are not available unless you pay for an upgrade. We selected 3/31, 6/8, and 7/13. The paperwork states that we will be contacted 30-45 days before the first selected date. We were sent a letter asking for the taxes. We knew this was the case, no problem. After they received the check, they e-mailed us stating that they would call us in 10-14 business days.

We never received a call. We started wondering because we wanted to make other plans if we weren't going to receive our first choice of dates. My wife called Spirit Incentives. It is a long distance call and they put you on hold for usually 5-10 minutes. The woman who took her call could not, or would not tell her if any of our requested dates were available. She said that we have to choose the date we want and if it is available, then this is the date we will get. No changes allowed. My wife decided to wait until she could talk it over with me.

My wife called the next day. Again, she was immediately put on hold for 10 minutes. Here is the conversation:

Wench: I have your choices down as Port Canaveral on 3/31, 6/8, and 7/13. Do you want to upgrade to an outside cabin?

Me: How much is that?

Wench: $199 per person

Me: Do I have to decide that now?

Wench: Yes, in order for me to book a cruise - you will also need to provide payment for that now.

Me: We'll stick with an inside room

Wench: Thank you - I'll check our availability

Five minutes of crappy music

Wench: We can offer you a cruise on Carnival leaving out of Miami to the Western Caribbean leaving on April 5.

Me: April 5 was not one of our dates

Wench: Unfortunately, that's all that's available

Me: For the summer months - we would have to pay extra?

Wench: There are no summer options available - your only option is April 5.

Me: My husband is a teacher and can't take a week off of school

Wench: I'm so sorry to hear that. You can accept this offer or we can send you a refund of all money spent

Me: Can I call you back?

Wench: Now that I've made an offer you need to accept it now or choose to take a refund.

Me: Why didn't we hear from you sooner rather than have to call ourselves.

Wench: We will contact you within 30 - 45 days of the first chosen date and we're in that time period now.

Me: Yes, but I had to call you and the email I'm looking at, dated Oct. says that you'll contact us within 10 - 14 days - at which point one of our choices might have been available.

Wench: We don't get our inventory until 3 - 6 months out - so that wouldn't have worked anyway

Me: Oct. was less than 6 months ago.

Wench: Would you like to accept this offer or shall I do a refund

Me: We'll take a refund.

Wench: It will take 10 - 14 days. Thank you for . . . .. hang up!

I called later that day. I couldn't get anywhere either and was put on hold twice. At the end, the manager that I was talking to said that they didn't have any record of our check! I had to fax him a copy of the check! At this point we are waiting for the refund.

They had never called us. My wife's second call didn't make sense regarding available dates when compared to the first call. They didn't allow us to keep our account active so that we could try a different date later.

Upon further investigation I notice that this company has 409 complaints with the BBB over the last three years. There are various blogs online devoted to this company, detailing customer frustrations. How do they stay in business? That's easy they make money by not giving any vacations. They don't have to make us happy. They just have to keep selling those bogus vouchers to travel companies, airlines, hotels etc.

I called the travel club (which I did join). They said that they are sorry. They are going to send us another voucher so we can try again!!

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Reader Comments:

Posted by twoods1527 on 01/13/2009
I have almost the same exact story, but i agreed to pay for extra day and upgraded room, but still could not accommidate me.I had a feeling there was no date that would be accommidating for them. Waiting for refund check now. A little nervous about that also.

Posted by loheabei on 03/02/2009
I got the same deal offered to me and was kinda psyched about getting the cruise! I just wrote a check and put it in the envelope to send out when my father's paranoia gene called out to me. I Googled the company and found this! Thanks for your input...guess I'll be ripping up that check...

Posted by dadesouza_2000 on 05/07/2009
I have the very same problem. I'm hope the send me my refund. I cannot believe they are still in business. I had given them 3 choices and then they come back with a choice that is so far out of wack, that we couldn't make it. Don't use them!!!

Posted by hinest3 on 09/11/2009
The same thing happened to us except we sent a money order. After I called SI and didn't get the dates we chose, our money was promptly returned (within 2-3 business days). We had 2 vouchers so we are now on the second. I'm calling today to see what crap they come up with.

Posted by rldolan on 02/18/2010
I can confirm the same thing happened to me. My cruise to Mexico wasn't available. Wanted to book me on a holiday to Bahamas at a cost of about $700 for taxes and holiday charge. Isn't it strange that they can book you on a holiday for something you don't want, but can't book you on an off season cruise that you requested?

Posted by anitadanley1 on 03/02/2010
we won this cruise from a contest.was excited never won a cruise before.we understood that we would have to pay the taxes and our lodging in fla.when we call this company to get our dates of travel thats where this company gets you . first we had to upgrade our cabin why,we had bunk beds this was now $125.00 we agree to this here is what made us want our deposit back.we live 45 minuets from 2 major airports plus atlanic city airport so three altogether,we were asked what airport we were closet to we gave them the location of the airports,we were put on hold for about 10 min now person takes us off hold this is what we were told we would have to leave out of laguadia which is in new york which is two hours in driving which is a nite mare of an airport to get to there i said are you kidding the person said thats the only airport that american airines flys to fla from ,are you kidding me so we seen that this company doesnt want to pay for this cruise so this company makes it as difficult as it can and thats why we wanted our deposit back

Posted by fcabooks on 03/24/2010
"We were offered a "free" vacation".

That's all you need to know. No one is sitting around looking for a way to send you on a free vacation. C'mon. A little common sense goes a long way.

Posted by paintnhorse on 04/08/2010
I also had the exact same problem only I forced the issue about calling back. I was told that it had to be approved, it was approved, but I was told that I could only accept the given date. The guy "David", who did not talk clear was rude, and bordered verbally abusive. I was told that I had an attitude and that everything was stated on the back of the certificate (which it isnt). The rooms offered are BUNK BEDS!!! Its 150 to upgrade to twin bed. Its a huge scam. He also told me I had to pay for all activities (ex, snorkeling, excursions, dolphin swims, etc) up front as I coudl not on the ship. (another lie, several of my friends take cruises frequently and activites are purchased on the ship). There is no transpoertation from the airport to port of call. You had to pay for the hotel as they flew you in the morning before. I came home and found a cruise to the same place with MORE options for the same about of money (1000.00 ) than what he was offereing. (He told me I couldnt find anythign cheaper) Spirit Incentives and any travel agency that uses them are liars and cheats. I was on the phone with these losers for 90 mins being insulted and arguing over what the true meaning of FREE is. I will be telling everyone I know what a crock of crap their deals are.

Posted by patojo1 on 04/09/2010
I had the same problem as everybody I was ask if I wanted to upgrade, when I said no they put me on hold, 10 minutes later Iwas told they had no available room for the dates I had selected and that I could not choose other dates and that I would get my money back. My wife and I were very excited and now we are so sad. We had plan this little get away for 6 months. I wish there was something anybody could do against this scam. And I'll never give this company any business.

Posted by dealmtp on 04/20/2010
Anyone who has to deal with Spirit Incentives needs to have a speaker phone so they can do other things while waiting. You also need to know that you will be taking their cruise, not your cruise. The scheduling options you chose are absolute illusions. You must go through the meaningless process before you get to their cruise option, which, as an option, is "take it or leave it."

Posted by NoGamesNo on 05/07/2010
While reading other commentys about that elusive Sundance Vacations cruise I found the following post:

"Sundance Vacations is a FRAUD. I also got suckered into going down to pick up the free cruise I had been given as a "gift." Now, the customer service agent was correct in that they never use the word "won". It’s just a matter of wording to keep their scams on the border-line of legal. And I understood that I had to sit through an hour of a sales pitch. which I was fine with. What I was not fine with were the LIES that they had told me in advance about this free cruise.

LIE #1: I could go on the cruise at ANYTIME during the year. I was told repeatly by the woman on the phone about how I could basically go whenever dates I wanted to, anytime during the next year. Well, that is a lie. When I received my vacation voucher, I looked at the fine print on the back page. You CANNOT use this cruise during the months of June, July, August, or any week of which there is a holiday.

LIE #2: If I didn't use the cruise, I could do with it whatever I wished. I could give it as a gift or sell it. The fact is, you CANNOT. It clearly states that the name of the trip is non-transferable and cannot be sold.

LIE #3: I was told airfare was included and that I could fly from my local airport..which is a major international airport. That isn't true. They tell you where to fly out of. For example, they mentioned Newark, New Jersey as a possibility. Plus, the fine print says it only includes "base" airfare. I'm not even sure what the fine print is on base airfare

LIE #4: I was told I would simply have to pay minor taxes on a trip which values at about 1, 200 dollars. Well, the taxes start at 225 dollars per person (35 percent tax???????) Plus, there is all kind of registration and booking fees on top of that.

LIE #5: I was specifically told on the phone I would even receive free gift cards to Applebee’s, Red Lobster, and Olive Garden if I came to the 5pm presentation. When I inquired about them, the girl gave me a funny look and told me that "they didn't give them out anymore because people don't use them." What??? I was told only the DAY BEFORE I would be getting them. So, they gave me this piece of paper and said to go eat somewhere (anywhere), attach the receipt to the paper, send a self addressed stamped envelope, and I could get up to 15 dollars for my meal. I'm not holding my breath.

Bottom line, this company is a fraud. They told me out and out lies about the cruise just to get me in. They are very shrewd. They have people designed to search these very blogs just to tell you how wonderful they are. There is an old saying. "Me thinks thou protests too much." If someone has to over and over again tell you about all the awards they won and how great they are...makes you wonder why...doesn't it?????"

Posted by patross on 06/01/2010

I have been very pleased with my 4 day cruise booking. I leave the 3rd of June. I did upgrade to a balcony room,because I ask for it. No pressure to upgrade.

Posted by Lydia on 06/03/2010
Let's see

Posted by Lydia on 06/03/2010
For some reason my comment did not post, so I'll try again.

Let's see

Posted by Lydia on 06/03/2010
I give up! Go to this blog:


Posted by normasmemory on 08/11/2010
I recieved a cruise for looking at a time share from Spirit Insentives a yr ago. Followed the fine print and had no problems at all.Had a great cruise and only paid 93.00 a piece taxes and port chages.Had to go off season but I do that any way since i'm a regular cruiser I find I like off season the best.Had to give them 3 dates ,got the 2nd one. Norma Todd

Posted by ejohnson on 01/18/2012
We need to avoid the companys that keep buying the spitit incentives vouchers. I will let companies know I will not use them if they use spirit incentives.

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