Does anyone have any experience with these various Caribbean Cruise scams that are out there? My niece (senior in college) got a call from one of them the other day, telling her she "won" a free cruise, and all she has to do is pay the port taxes of $100-something dollars, oh and you can stay in Fort Lauderdale for 2 nights with a rental car for $200 extra, offer expires as soon as the call is over, so no she doesn't have time to think it over, pressure pressure, blah blah. Before she knew it, she authorized $300 on her credit card so she could treat her parents to a cruise.
As soon as she told me, I knew it was a scam, and loads of websites show it. It has a BBB "F" rating, there are a million hidden charges, you can only book during tiny slivers of the year (for instance, during hurricane season), oh and you have to attend a presentation in which they pressure you for four hours in a tiny room to buy a timeshare.
I'm a licensed attorney, so I called them to demand a refund of the $300. The woman screamed at me and told me my niece is a liar, of course they told her she'd have to sit through a timeshare presentation, they have it on tape. I said great, play the tapes. She said we'll play the tapes when you file a lawsuit against us, and slammed the phone down on me.
Is there nothing else I can do to force these scammers to issue my niece a refund, short of filing something in small claims court? I'd also like to know (1) how they got my niece's mobile number and (2) how I can raise awareness of these scammers to prevent others from getting sucked into it. One of her college classmates also got sucked into a similar scam the other day, so it seems like they go after naive college kids hard.