Jun 032008
 

I got a cold call earlier (I am on TPS) and recorded it. Have a listen:

Key phrases in the call include:

This is a public opinion poll. You will receive two free boarding passes for an all inclusive cruise to Nassau Bahamas

In agreement with this confirmation, you are responsible for a $59 per person US Governmental Port and Service Fee paid directly to the cruise line fulfilment centre.

Please note, this is a complementary offer – you have neither won this, nor is it a prize.

The guy says it’s Imperial Majesty Cruise Line, the picture shows Regal Empress Cruise Vacations.
The company appears to be called National Research Group.

During the call, I am told to go to http://www.householdsurvey.com/ – this is a login page and site loaded with Google Ads.

UPDATE: I got a callback a few days after taking the “survey”:

The number they tell me to call back is 001 954 556 5867

Here are Wikipedia entries about Imperial Majesty Cruise Line and

Here’s a scathing criticism of Imperial

Here are other blogs mentioning this:
http://www.skyhasfallen.net/2008/05/theres-no-such-thing-as-free-lunch-or.html
http://think-pot.blogspot.com/2008/04/psa-imperial-majesty-cruise-line.html

http://smartercruising.blogspot.com/2008/04/win-free-cruise-for-life-on-imperial.html

Here are the questions asked during the survey (and confirmed in the page I was told to go to)
Note – the spelling of the word “question” is their spelling, not mine!

Qustion 1: Do You want to take the survey?
Answer: Yes

Qustion 2: Are you Male or Female? Press 1 for Male or 2 for Female.
Answer: Male

Qustion 3: What age group category do you fall into? Press 1 for between 18-25, press 2 for ages 26-35, press 3 for ages 36-49 press 5 for all ages 50 and above
Answer: Ages 36-49

Qustion 4: What type of television service do you have? Press 1 for Digital Cable, Press 2 for Satellite, Press 3 for Internet or press 4 for Over Air Antenna
Answer: Satellite

Qustion 5: Are you a Homeowner or do you currently rent? Press 1 if you’re a homeowner, press 2 if you are a Renter. Press 3 for any other type of living condition
Answer: Homeowner

Qustion 6: Have you purchased a New Television in the last 8 months? Press 1 for yes or press 2 for no
Answer: No

Qustion 7: When making purchases at grocery stores, or department stores do you prefer to use your Major Credit Card, Visa Debit card or do you prefer to write a check from your check book?
Answer: If you prefer your Major Credit Card press 1

Qustion 8: This is the 7th question. You’re almost finished. What type of internet service to you have? Press 1 for DSL, press 1 for Cable, press 3 for Dial up, or press 4 if you don’t have a computer.
Answer: DSL

Qustion 9: How often do you dine out? Press 1 for once a week or more. Press 2 for once a month, press 3 for I rarely dine out.
Answer: Once a week or more

Qustion 10: How many times to do Vacation every year? Press 1 for 1 or less. Press 2 for 2 or more.
Answer: 2 or more

Qustion 11: This is the last question. Assuming you own an automobile. Does you vehicle have either an existing manufacture warranty or an extended warranty? Press 1 for Yes. Press 2 for do it doesnt have a warranty. Press 3 for I dont own a vehicle.
Answer: Doesnt have a warranty

The information that I have provided through this process is true and correct. In exchange for my participation in a Consumer Market Research Survey, I will receive a complimentary Bahamas Cruise. I accept this reward and agree to be contacted by a travel coordinator within 72 hours to go over the information regarding this reward

Here are some places you may wish to report it:

http://whocalled.us/lookup/4047989983
http://whocalled.us/lookup/4099831671

http://whocallsme.com/Phone-Number.aspx/8007300197

UPDATE 18/06/2008

I just got a call from 08006943328 and spoke to a Welsh bloke who actually seemed quite nice. He was just qualifying the leads, and I didn’t have time to be put through. But he’s definitely in the wrong job. He seemed quite earnest and genuine…if only he knew the cack he was selling!

The interesting this is that last week I got a call telling me I had received a free cruise to Nassau, Bahamas (all I had to do was pay taxes, charges and get myself to Florida!). I gave them a false name, and they asked me various questions about whether I drove a car, had a credit card, what age I was etc.

So, I can be pretty certain that UK Debt Information Line / FSDM are buying leads from the company that did the “free” cruise.

UPDATE 26/Aug/2008
Lots more people are getting ripped off lately. This is now the highest read and commented post on this blog. Here are some other places that might be able to advise:
Post your question on MoneySavingExpert’s forums or at the UK Legal group

Be careful with personal details, don’t use your real name.

Try contacting Trading Standards – they might be able to advise more about the credit card.

There is, of course, another idea – if you’re a family, have you thought about selling the story to a paper?
You’d probably get your money back that way AND you’d be warning more people about the same thing too.
It certainly is a very bad thing that you got ripped off like this, and I’m sure the Mail/Express/Sun etc would love this.

Just so as more people are warned about this, whichever route you choose can you please mention the link back to the blog page you found it on?