I was recently suckered into one of these vacation deals, and while I'm not saying that I wasn't incredibly naive by giving out my credit card info over the phone, this company does practice some questionable sales techniques. For instance, they got my contact information from a contest that I entered at a Ribfest (innocently enough), and when they called me, they said I had been "selected" to receive a fabulous and luxurious vacation package to Florida and the Bahamas (valued at $2500). Now, the package was nowhere near worth that (after I later did some research). Plus, there are many hidden fees that wouldn't be aware of until you actually go on the vacation (just Google the people who have traveled with Imperial).
However, it's natural when they quote you that value that your mind jumps to visions of grand cruise ships and the "white glove treatment" that Imperial promises. Needless to say, when I agreed to pay the heavily-discounted promotional fee of $299U.S./pp, I had no idea that this would be non-refundable and that the company had a "no vacation cancellation policy."
If you do your research, and look up the "Sellers of Travel" section on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website (http://www.800helpfla.com/complnt.html
), you'll see that according to Florida Law (and I live in Canada by the way), a consumer is entitled to a full refund within 30 days of purchase. However, every time I called Imperial's customer service, they refused to cancel the package, offering to extend the period that I could use the vacation, or a 100% money back guarantee (after you go through with the trip), or to upgrade your package. They told me that they could not refund the 149$U.S. security deposit that I supposedly agreed to. And that if I cancelled, I would lose all my money.
Know your rights. Contact your credit card company's dispute department, and they'll advise you on how to return Imperial's package (through registered mail) and with an official letter of cancellation. Or better yet, complain to the Florida Better Business Bureau (Canadians can send a complaint through our local BBB), and complain to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
I did, and got my full refund within one week (August 22, 2008) of falling for this "luxury" vacation package. Now I just hope there aren't any weird or unauthorized transactions on my credit card statement.
The irony is that Imperial Majesty keeps calling my house, and asking to speak to my parents. They seem to be aggressively targeting Canadians now, so warn your friends even if they are "smart." I considered myself smart, and yet I fell for this. They are incredibly persuasive!