Free trip offers come with unpleasant surprises

— One NW company has been hit with 55 complaints
By Oregon Better Business Bureau

BBB complaints reveal that consumers aren’t always satisfied with the authenticity and usability of these incentives. Some complainants say giveaways are misrepresented during unwanted presentation solicitations. While other complainants allege issues redeeming travel vouchers due to restrictions, terms and conditions.

Though the company has been responsive to complaints, BBB detected a pattern of similar allegations on Vacation Internationale, or VI Resorts, of Bellevue and Vancouver, Washington. Within the last 36 months, the company accrued 55 complaints. Based on 16 factors, the company has a “C-” rating.

BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington offers free advice:

· Be cautious of free travel offers by phone or mail. There’s usually a catch.

· Avoid misleading “free” offers. Read the fine print and be aware of asterisks.

· Don’t go just for a freebie. Avoid attending presentations if there is no interest in the advertised product, service or membership.

· Look out for freewheelers. Is it a traveling seminar based out-of-state? Research businesses on the Internet, consider their complaint volume and see how they respond to complaints; visit for free BBB Business Reviews.

· Don’t waste free time. Some seminars are marketed to last a short period of time—an hour—but end up lasting two, three or four hours.

· Free yourself from the hard sell. Sales representatives may use aggressive or high-pressure tactics to convince consumers to buy products or services they don’t need or want. If bullied, walk away.

· Make decisions on free will. If it’s an enticing offer, take time to think it over. Any company that forces an immediate decision may not be worth doing business with. Review contracts and purchase agreements carefully.

· Freely report problems. Contact BBB or file complaints at

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