Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is alerting consumers to Patterson Bell, Sutton Perry, Sullivan Lang, Stanton Carney, Thompson Fuller Swanson Carr, Richardson Blake, and Hoffman Sims, self proclaimed “Awards Redemption” agencies mailing letters to local consumers that state the recipient has won airline tickets.
Since Dec. 10, BBB has received over 200 inquiries about Patterson Bell from consumers seeking to determine if the offer is legitimate. Consumers who spoke to BBB said they had no recollection of ever entering a sweepstakes or contest for the airline tickets.
Consumers say the letter states that they have qualified for an “award” of two airline tickets that have a retail value of $1,400. The letter claims that Patterson Bell has attempted to contact the consumer multiple times and if the consumer does not contact them by a specific date the airline tickets will be given to an alternate recipient.
According to consumers, Patterson Bell’s address in Tucson is 4811 E Grant Rd, STE 261 85712, and its Web site, www.pattersonbell.com
, says the company has additional locations in New York, Florida, Utah, New Jersey, Texas, California, and Oregon. BBB has confirmed however, that this is the address of Southwest Travel Club and that Patterson Bell is sending these letters on behalf of Southwest Travel.
BBB has also received a number of inquiries about Hoffman Sims, another “Awards Redemption Agency” whose Web site, www.hoffmansims.com
, is similar to Patterson Bell’s, and claims to operate in the same cities.
Consumers who called BBB concerning Hoffman Sims say they too received a letter indicating they had won free airline tickets. A Hoffman Sims representative told BBB over the phone that the mailings were sent on behalf of Southwest Travel Inc., a Tucson-based travel club. BBB has a full report on Southwest Travel
Phone calls to Hoffman Sims and Patterson Bell each led to the same representative who declined to provide any information regarding the mailings and refused to disclose either company’s Tucson address. The representative did provide a New River, Ariz., P.O. Box.
The representative also refused to say whether Patterson Bell and Hoffman Sims were in any way affiliated.
BBB warns that offers of prizes from travel clubs are usually tied to a requirement to attend a presentation of some kind. Presentations conclude with attempts to enroll consumers in discount travel clubs or in some cases to sell exclusive software, to sell access to a special web site, or to train consumers to become travel agents. Customers are told they can expect steep discounts on their travel purchases.
In BBB experience, the upfront costs of enrollment or purchase in these programs are never recouped.
If consumers receive suspicious offers from any travel company they can contact BBB at (520)888-5353, or visit us online at www.tucson.bbb.org
BBB is now receiving reports from consumers in multiple states who are receiving letters from Richardson Blake, Sullivan Lang, Stanton Carney, Thompson Fuller, Swanson Carr and Sutton Perry. Consumers say the wording in the letter is almost identical to letters sent out by Patterson Bell, and all three companies Web sites, www.richardsonblake.com
, and www.suttonperry.com
are similar to both Patterson Bell’s and the now defunct Hoffman Sims Web site.