Beware postcards that promise free vacations

Here's a consumer alert about a postcard or letter you may get promising a free getaway - two round-trip airline tickets or a free cruise if you call a toll-free number right away.

These "award notices" often include the names of major airlines and well-known hotels. But the real companies have nothing to do with the notices.

The Better Business Bureau warns that these are nothing more than invitations to a sales pitch for an expensive membership in a travel club.

"The presentation was very high-pressure," said Richard Parent. "'You're a fool if you don't take this offer,' they said."

Richard Parent took the bait and ended up buying a $4,000 membership.

They wouldn't let him cancel and when he tried book a trip, he didn't get the savings he was promised.

"And they came back with a quote and unfortunately the quote is higher than a local travel agency for the same trip," he said.

Thousands of people across the country have complained to the BBB about these postcard travel offers. The bureau reminds us, this is not the way to take the vacation of your dreams. No one gives away free airline tickets or cruises.

More Information:

Beware postcards promising free trips and tickets

BBB: Investigation Untangles Popular Travel Club Scheme

FTC: Travel Tips