The lure is simple: Sit through a sales presentation and get a "free" vacation, cruise or gift card. The Better Business Bureau tells consumers to think twice before accepting an invitation.
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.
Take the following advice when it comes to attending seminars:
*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 online, consider their complaint volume, and see how they respond to complaints and other potential concerns. Visit www.denver.bbb.org 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 the BBB with your concerns or file a complaint if you need help with a dispute.
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