The Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) has received several complaints from people who entered travel contests at this year’s Pride and later received phone calls asking for their credit card information.
But the Pride Society says it’s “not running or endorsing any travel contests,” according to an advisory statement on its website. It is encouraging people to notify the RCMP.
Bryan Bone, who entered a free cruise contest during Pride, received a phone call saying he’d won. He became suspicious when he was asked for his credit card number to charge a $299–per–person fee. He says the company that called him was Florida Bahamas Cruise Vacation and he was directed to the Caribbean Cruise Line website, www.caribbeancl.com
Kyall Glennie is still trying to get a refund after being told he won a trip to Florida to take a Bahamas cruise. Because the representative referenced Vancouver Pride, Glennie authorized the $299 fee on his credit card. Once he gave authorization, Glennie was told it was a two–for–one trip and he’d have to purchase a plane ticket to Florida through the company and pay an additional departure tax of $149 per person, says Glennie. The company name that showed up on Glennie’s credit card statement was Cruise Line Vacations, but the mailing address the company gave him matches that of Caribbean Cruise Line – the same company that called Bone.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) communications specialist Mark Fernandes told Xtra the BBB has a listing for a Florida company called Caribbean Cruise Line, which he says is affiliated with Florida Bahamas Cruise Vacation.
The different names companies go by makes it difficult to check if they’re legitimate,” Fernandes says.
The Better Business Bureau has received more than 400 complaints against Caribbean Cruise Line, also known as Florida Bahamas Cruise Vacation. The company has been given a failing grade of F.
A Caribbean Cruise Line manager says all contest forms state that individuals must pay government taxes and port fees and that all customers are told they are responsible for their own airfare. “We’re a major cruise line; we’re not a scam,” says manager Frank Hartman.
In 2008, Xtra reported similar cases of people entering contests to win cruises at Vancouver Pride and later being contacted for their credit card numbers.
Fernandes says event organizers should screen vendors.
VPS president Ken Coolen says the Society is doing a review to ensure such companies are not allowed in next time.