Marketing by Deception (Once Again)

“You are a Finalist in our 2016 Toyota Prius Giveaway!” trumpets the letter.

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Notice: They’ve never tried contacting me before, but along with the Washington DC return address, the “Final Attempt” makes the letter seem more urgent.

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Cute electronic gizmo and a scratch-off number. Any bets as to whether the numbers match? Pull the tab, scratch the number:

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What a surprise!

So I’m guaranteed to win one of those four fabulous prizes. Let’s look at the odds of winning on the fine print:

  1. Prius: 1:180,000
  2. Plasma TV: 1:180,000
  3. Apple iPad Air: 1:180,000
  4. Cruse: 179,997:180,000

If you’ve taken 9th-grade math, you know that it’s a sure thing you’ll be walking away from this experience with a cruise (valued up to $1,900.00).

This promotion is run by “Book and Sea,” a travel club that is using this promotion to “introduce their services.”

When I called the number, the young lady launched into her pitch and told me I’d be winning one of these great prizes, plus up to a $100.00 WalMart gift card. I asked her which prize I had won, and she said that I would only find out about that at the presentation. At this point I hung up.

Based on comments found on the web, it’s just another tired clone of Global Travel Network, about which I have already written:

“It is a 90 minute presentation you must listen to about a travel club and the discount they can give you (after you pay the fee for the membership). The idea is very interesting and the price was about $11,000 for a life time membership and an additional $300 per year fee. If you are interested I would suggest you play the game and say no to them first because they will come down drastically with the dollar amount that you would end up paying . At the end we got our salesman to give us the same deal for $3,775 and he was going to throw in two additional tickets for the cruise. We did not make the purchase however several people did at full price. We walked out with a gift card to walmart, which when I call to et the balance was only $5.00.”

According to the letter, the odds for the $100.00 gift card are 4:180,000, meaning everyone else gets a measly five bucks.

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These drones are targeting married couples with a combined income of over $60,000. As I wrote about in my previous post, even the cruise is no “prize” – by the time you pay taxes and other activation fees, you could probably find a flight and cruise as cheaply by yourself on the internet. So if they can sucker three or four couples per presentation to drop $11,000 plus a $300 per year maintenance fee, handing out these worthless cruises and gift cards makes the whole operation a pretty sweet racket.

Stay away from such scummy operators. Anyone who advertises their services with such reckless deception has the morals of a honey badger.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

47 responses to “Marketing by Deception (Once Again)

  1. got my notice the other day. Guess what -my #s matched & I won !!! What a joke . Threw the paper away but was curious so I did a google search to see if there was any info on this farce and found your post. Very funny.

  2. I just received my phony bologna letter and figured it was bogus. I didn’t figure that the scratch off number on my letter would match the number on this website !!! Now I just hope they lose lots of money on advertising and on those stupid light up gizmo’s !!!

  3. Thanks for posting about the letter. I received one today and thought I would play the game. The game was shorted lived when she started asking personal questions. I have been to a similar presentation before. I reminds of a timeshare presentation with only a $5 gift at the end. Apparently this works because there are suckers born every minute. If anyone reads blog they will know the truth.

  4. I’ve seen enough of these things to know what a scam looks like, so as soon as I opened the envelope I googled and found your excellently written blog. Thanks for writing this up and sharing it.
    Paul M.

    • DITTO! Thank you! I would be angry if Inwere Toyota asI thought it was their promotion originally ( probably all part of the scam). Can they sue for defamation? Probably not eh?

    • DITTO! Thank you! I would be angry if Inwere Toyota asI thought it was their promotion originally ( probably all part of the scam). Can they sue for defamation? Probably not eh?

      On back: “odds of winning cruise 229,997:230,000” AND winners get to pay activation fees etc., Dang, sorry for those 3 losers eh?

      • LOL… That’s what I thought until I realized 2 things: #1. The three “Losers” are actually the winners of the Toyota, the Samsung T.V., and the Apple iPad Air. That’s how the numbers add up to 230,000. But most importantly #2. We are all the Losers because these scammers got our info to send us this junkmail.

  5. Woohoo! Free red LED and pair of LR41 button batteries! They’re not even soldered, just all press-fit inside the plastic case.

    • Got mine this morning. Obvious scam but I was curious. Thanks for the description of Global Travel Network’s process — I’ve always been mildly curious about how these hucksters try to rope people in. Also, for those (like me) who thought they were being cheated by getting only one battery now instead of two, take heart! The battery I got is a CR927, which (according to http://www.cr927.com) is a 30 mAh capacity, 3 Volt Lithium/manganese dioxide battery. The old LR41 (according to http://www.lr41.net) is 25-32 mAh capacity, 1.5 Volt Alkaline battery, so two of those should be roughly the equivalent of the one new battery we’re getting.

    • exactly! its a cool gadget thought thats only and likely forever in the patent pending stage…but i also thought immed of the overall bogus misleading fluff, then immediately the win of the gadget innerds! those lil batteries are always elusive at the most desperate times, so thx twt,llc idiots! if only the money and creative curtailing thoughts were put to a legitimate, direct, and integral process eh?, just like a typical criminal pattern though-the greed halts the potential- almost just shy of brilliance to billions…what dumbass fools to have gifts that could keep giving, but somehow, they all stop at the corner of dumb fuck and stuck st..

  6. Thanks for posting this information. When I received my envelope in the mail I sense a scam immediately with “Final Attempt” stamped in red along with a presorted stamp. I don’t recall anyone named “Official Document” attempting to contact me before. I also found the signed scribble above “The Manager” in the closing a bit suspicious; like some guy at the bus station opening his trench coat exposing LED code numbers next to a bunch of watches as he says, “Hey, bud, do you want to win a free cruise?”

  7. Thanks for posting it Old Wolf. It saved me some precious time.
    Also, the free LED and couple of LR41 batteries – nicely pointed out by Q – somewhat compensated for the electricity spent in shredding the trashy letter.

  8. Thanks for the post. One upside was that I was able to take apart the little gizmo and get two new batteries that look like they’ll fit my watch and a working red LED

  9. Thanks much, Old Wolf! This scam is still making its way through the U S mail.
    Got my free LR41 batteries on Aug. 8, 2016.

  10. Thanks everybody. I got my free batteries today. I didn’t even think about taking the gizmo apart until I read these posts.

  11. We received or notice a couple weeks ago. After researching TWT and finding this blog, we felt that we went to the presentation well informed.It was a good sales pitch by Tony from New Jersey. There were 3 couples there; two of them bought the program. We didn’t. Tony said in the presentation that they weren’t selling any travel deals that you couldn’t find on your own after searching on the Internet. So, I have to say, they were upfront and honest; he was very clear on everything.

  12. >Tony said in the presentation that they weren’t selling any travel deals that you couldn’t find on your own after searching on the Internet.

    Tony was more honest than our presenters.

  13. omg i just got this lettet but now its a 2017 toyota prius which is not out yet…. How can these scams be legal people? Im asking for real, im so angry because they are people out the that will believe this is true….anyone wants i can email you a snap of this letter… Where are these seminars held? Im in Sterling Heights Michigan, 40 min north of Detroit

  14. Just got mine today. Interesting in the fine print is that one of the married couple must age 40-70. My wife and I are not. Not that we were interested. In a former life I sold time share for a few months and quit because I couldn’t sleep at night. Everything is presented in this bizzaro “you’re so special” way. Thanks for posting!

  15. September 12th, 2017

    Dear Diary,

    Today was the best day EVER!! Since you know all of my secrets you know that I been struglin with bein a loser AND bein lonely… Well guess what???? That all ends today!! Thanks to them good folks at TWT, LLC I will finally overcome those two issues (leaving only 61 more to go!). Today I got a fat envelope in the mail with all kinds of pretty colors like ORANGE and RED on it with a real patriotic stamp in the corner! Thank goodness Cletus from next door fixed my screen door so I could get my hover round to the mailbox today cause this was the FINAL ATTEMPT to get a hold of me. You remember Cletus from next door right? He was married to my sisters 3rd husbands niece until they got unhitched and he moved in with his cousin Tammy. They got 3 kids now and they all look so cute when they stand together cause the little helmets they wear all the time make ’em look like a stop light cause ones red ones yella and ones green. Anyway, like I was sayin, I got this envelope that said I might could have won sumthin if my numbers matched this fancy new nightlight they sent me. Well you know what?? IT DID!! That’s right, I aint no loser no more no sir! So that fixed that problem right quick but the best part is what I is fixin to win. I could win a Toyota Prius Hybrid which I don’t understand at all cause from how I reckon that’s why Cletus’s kids all wear them helmets cause my cousin Billy said his kids is hybrid on a count of Tammy bein his relation and all (still not sure what he meant by that). Anyway… I could also win a Samsung 51″ 3D Plasma TV, but you know what Mama always said before that mule kicked her in the head, “Plasma 3D is the DEVIL!! If the good Lord wanted us to watch Plasma in 3D he woulda put us outside to stare at the sun!!” – Mama sure confuses me sometimes. Oh, also I could win a “New Apple iPad Air”… I think that’s some kind of little air mattress for an apple so it don’t get bruised! What will they think of next. Diary, To tell you the truth I am gonna pray night and day that I don’t win one of these prizes cause I want so badly to win the last one.. A “7 night Royal Caribbean cruise with airfare for 2”! Can you image?? This would fix my bein lonely for sure! I was readin the odds of winnin the cruise and it says they is gonna be 237,997 cruise winners!! Woooweee, Ise gonna find me a man for sure on that big ol boat. Oh, I almost forgot! It says I got me a 1 in 10 chance of winnin a $100 gift card to Walmart! Tammy says If I win that I can get me somethin from the “Big Girl Thong Department” they got there at Walmart and still have plenty left over to buy that 50 gallon drum of sunscreen for my cruise! That’s all for now Diary. I gotta go practice drawin my eyebrows back on cause there’s bound to be all kinda reporters gonna wanna talk to me when I win!

  16. Thanks, Old Wolf. My 7 year old can read very well and after going through the whole thing, he was certain that we had won. Now I can show him your post and maybe he’ll finally believe me that the whole thing is a fake. Thank you for summarizing so clearly!

  17. My 10 year old son was convinced that this was real…until we found your article. He now understands that this is a scam. Thanks for taking the time to document it so well!

  18. I received mine today, proving they are still working this one. However they seemed to have “wised up” regarding the batteries… My device had only a SINGLE CR927 battery. Even after not falling for this, thanks to you… I still feel somewhat cheated. Thank you for your info Old Wolf.

  19. Funny my scam sense went off immediately upon seeing this letter, but hey, who can say no to a free Prius Hybrid. And it’s signed by the General Manager, so you know it’s official! See http://www.gocomics.com/peanuts/1964/10/04.

    Then I think “General Manager of what company?” and looking see there it no company name anywhere. I finally found it in the small print, which lead me to google and find this site.

    Thank you for helping subdue my gullible self!

    • I’m glad you found it useful! Any friend of gocomics is a friend of mine. When I was a kid, I absolutely loved Peanuts; the older I got, the more I realized most of these kids were supremely dysfunctional. I’ve known far too many Lucys in my life.

  20. We attended for the experience. On the phone the recruiter promised at least a $40 Walmart card and $50 extra dining coupons. At the end I got a $5 card and no coupons. The rep said person on the phone made a mistake and they would look right into it. Right! Of course we got the cruise and air tickets, which as mentioned above, is loaded with mandatory fees, e.g., activation, port fees, taxes, etc.

  21. Thanks soo much for the heads up!!! Just got the notice and was unsure enough about it to google it, thats when i found your report. Thanks again!!!!!!

  22. Just got notified that I am a finalist in the 2017 toyota prius hybrid giveaway! Same light up pull tag with number. They are also giving away a Samsung 51″ 3D Plasma TV, Apple IPad Air, 7 night Royal Caribbean cruise with airfare for 2.

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