Cagey Consumer

Consumer Alert: Tradewinds Travel Club

In many ways, Tradewinds Travel Club is like numerous other organizations that sell travel agent credentials to the general public by promising them special rates on accomodations, transportation, and other travel services. But Tradewinds does it with a twist... a $5,000 twist.

Whereas these other organizations typically ask $495 for the credentials and associated materials, Tradewinds includes this in a $5,495 package. Regardless of whether or not the travel agent identification offered by these other companies is of any value, you will have to ask yourself whether what Tradewinds Travel Club adds to that package is worth another $5,000.

So what is the Tradewinds story?

They solicit people to come to a sales location by promising them a free vacation, including air fare, in Las Vegas or San Diego. After showing up for their appointment, the presentation begins.

After asking some questions that are designed to enable them to tilt the presentation to your personal preferences, they begin to talk about timeshares. Apparently, many of the people pulled in have previously fallen for timeshare presentations. After showing the disadvantages of timeshares, they begin to talk about how the problems of timeshares have created a situation in which many timeshare units are going unused by their owners, and how they are therefore able to make such units available to rent for amounts purportedly less than the annual maintenance fee.

You are advised that, as a member of their travel club, you receive four certificates, each of which entitles you to rent one of these condo units at a rate of either $499 or $699 for a week, depending on the date. They represent that units are available for all the Marriott and Disney properties, as well as for all properties associated with the RRC and II exchange programs, and that 96% of the reservation requests are filled at the property specified as the first choice.

Then they go on to talk about the incentives available if you sign up today.

While they go through many benefits that are part of this incentive (which they state that under California law cannot be offered to you at a later date), all of these benefits revolve around the discounts that are available as a result of posessing their travel agent identification card.

related links

  • Tradewinds Travel Club
  • Protect Your Travel Dollars (WA)

  • Cagey Consumer home page travel scams and alerts
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