JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Local people are receiving a letter in the mail offering them “Congratulations” for qualifying for “2 roundtrip airline tickets...anywhere in the continental U.S.”
The letter purports to be from "US Airlines" which isn’t a real airline.
Action News took the letter to Tom Stephens, local President of the Better Business Bureau. "At best, it's somewhat deceptive advertising in the letter," said Stephens.
The letter directs recipients to call a telephone number which schedules you to attend a travel seminar at a nearby hotel to cash in on $1,198 worth of tickets.
"Once you get in it, you don't have nearly as good a discount as they represented in the seminar," said Stephens.
Coincidentally I also got the letter sent to my house Monday. Because the letter told me to call by July 10th or risk losing my ticket vouchers, I got on the phone to check it out.
The woman who answered told me I'd need to attend a travel seminar to cash in on the tickets. I played along and showed up at the Southside hotel with dozens of other people invited by these letters.
We were asked to leave, but eventually the man who said he was in charge agreed to speak with us. He said he hires a marketing company to send the letters. But when we told him there's no airline called "US Airlines" he said he wasn't sure what it was.
The Better Business Bureau routinely gets complaints about travel agencies and other offers of free tickets.
The "US Airlines" letterhead has been used in other cities in the past. Now it's here in Jacksonville.
Stephens told Action News what they’re doing is technically legal.
"Legal means that they're not in jail. It doesn't mean it's ethical or it's right. It just means you haven't crossed the line and ended up behind bars," said Stephens.
We spoke with people who did sit through the seminar. They didn't come out with tickets, but tell me the company offered to mail them tickets if they sent in a shipping fee first. We'll keep you posted.
The company operating the seminars claims to be called Featured Travel or Legacy Destinations. Neither has a rating with the Better Business Bureau.