The “check” that came in the mail had a very official look to it. The US Airlines imprint could have been for a legitimate airline. And the amount – $1,450 – could pay for a lot of travel to see loved ones or take a vacation.
Except it wasn’t from any airline I was familiar with. I figured it was a come-on of some kind because you had to call a number to find out the details. Looking even more closely, it said the “check” was a voucher for travel, not something to take to the bank. So I tore up the mailer and threw it in the recycling bin. And I advised my husband to do the same.
But other consumers didn’t do that, and BBB has taken a number of complaints about the mailers, which are linked to a variety of websites for discount travel clubs, with names that vary, depending on the market where the mailers are sent. Consumers have been calling BBB to find out whether the vouchers are legitimate.
BBB Investigator Bill Smith has been researching the mailers, including one he received at home. He called the number on the mailer and was directed to set up an appointment at a hotel in St. Charles. Smith details what he found in his investigation in a BBB press release.
BBB advises consumers to be wary of unsolicited checks that come in the mail. Sometimes the checks are fake, and depositing them and then withdrawing money can expose consumers to losses or fees on their bank accounts. In other cases, the checks are valid, but endorsing them can sign you up for a service you don’t necessarily want or give a company permission to contact you for a sales pitch.
In the case of these recent mailers, the voucher/check is a large enough amount to tempt recipients to call the number to see how to take advantage of the travel deal. Typically, consumers who attend the appointments to find out more about such mailers are subjected to high-pressure sales pitches.
BBB advises consumers to check any company out with BBB before you do business with them. If you are asked to sign any kind of contract or agreement, be sure you read it carefully and understand it before signing. Ask what your obligations or costs might be under such a contract, such as a minimum amount you must spend or any associated fees.