When the weather turns cold, a cruise sounds like a nice getaway. But some say a Brentwood business offered them free cruises that never materialized.
One man claims he is out $5,000, has nothing to show for it and can't even get someone to return his phone calls.
Jerry Surratt loves to travel, so when he and his wife, Barbara, got a call in September offering them deep discounts on vacations, the couple was all ears.
"I thought it would be a great segway into retirement," Jerry Surratt said.
Simplicity Travel offers people memberships to a vacation club. It costs $9,000 to join, and in exchange, customers are offered tremendous discounts on exotic vacations.
Just for listening to the company's 90-minute speech, they offer people a free cruise - regardless of whether they buy or not.
Buying in was a decision Jerry Surratt says wound up costing him thousands of dollars, with no discounts, plus countless hours spent trying to get the money back.
"I never received a product that was aligned with the $4,995. I never received anything," Jerry Surratt said.
Had he first checked the Better Business Bureau's website, Jerry Surratt would have seen an F rating for Simplicity Travel.
"All of it has built up to mislead the customer," said Kathleen Calligan, with the Better Business Bureau.
More than a dozen people have filed complaints against Simplicity Travel this year with complaints similar to the Surratts. The BBB even issued an alert after the company allegedly lied about being a member and boasted about a phony A rating.
"Saying they have an A rating with the Better Business Bureau is false and misleading," Calligan said.
Despite his skepticism, Jerry Surratt said he signed up because a man claiming to be a company leader cut the fee in half and gave him a business card with his personal cell phone number on it, assuring the Surratts he would help them work out any questions they may have.
Channel 4 News spoke with a manager with Simplicity Travel, who said the man listed on the business card left the company the day after the Surratts bought their membership.
They have since fired the marketing company which said the cruises were free and changed their language to say they are "complimentary." Customers still have to pay the fees associated with the cruise in order to receive the trip.
As for the BBB alert, the manager said his company has never claimed to be a member of the BBB and, in fact, doesn't want to be a member.
Finally, the manager said the company's contracts are ironclad, so the chances of the Surratts getting a refund are not good.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:14 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:14:20 GMT
A father is facing charges after police said he left his young kids in a hot car Monday in the Gulch area downtown. Police said the dad, Tranquilo Camaja-Lajon, went to orientation for a new job and broughtMore >>
A father is facing charges after police said he left his young kids in a hot car Monday in the Gulch area of downtown.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 8:28 PM EDT2013-05-21 00:28:00 GMT
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating a high-speed chase that came to a deadly end over the weekend, and police say as far as they can tell it was all over a speeding ticket. Shelbyville officersMore >>
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating a high-speed chase that came to a deadly end over the weekend, and police say as far as they can tell it was all over a speeding ticket.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 11:15 AM EDT2013-05-21 15:15:53 GMT
Residents in tornado-stricken Moore, OK, await news on missing love ones Tuesday, a day after a massive tornado devastated the city, killing at least 51. Rescuers worked all night, with particular attentionMore >>
A medical examiner's office spokeswoman said 24 deceased victims from the Moore, OK, tornado had been transported to their Oklahoma City office. Seven of the dead were children.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 9:39 AM EDT2013-05-21 13:39:33 GMT
Power was knocked out to thousands of residents in Nashville overnight after a truck slammed into a pole on White Bridge Road. The crash happened at about 10:50 p.m. Monday near Corbett Lane. As of 6More >>
Power was knocked out to hundreds of residents in Nashville overnight after a truck slammed into a pole on White Bridge Road.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:36 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:36:49 GMT
(RNN) – A day after long track tornadoes devastated Shawnee and Edmond, OK, another round has begun near Oklahoma City.KOCO broadcast a slow rotating cloud that slowly extended down towards the groundMore >>
Dozens of people have died after a second day of tornadoes twisted through Oklahoma, this time taking aim at the town of Moore, south of Oklahoma City.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 9:33 AM EDT2013-05-21 13:33:47 GMT
There is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms for northwest Middle Tennessee Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. The biggest threat will be west of a line from Waynesboro to Springfield, TN. An upperMore >>