I received a telephone call from a lady with an american accent asking if I would like to participate in a quick survey. In return, my name would be entered into a competition for a free "holiday of a lifetime", which included a cruise. I agreed to participate in the survey and answered some simple questions. She advised me to visit a web site www.usaholidays.net and gave me a competition registration number. She then thanked me and wished me luck in the competition.
Two days later I received a call from another lady with an american accent. She congratulated me on winning an Imperial Majesty Cruises prize and proceeded in giving me details of the holiday. It was obvious that she was reading from a pre-prepared script - indeed she was barely coherent at times as she quickly slurred over the details of days, names, locations, activities, costs, etc. related to the holiday.
It soon became apparent that the "prize" was in fact only an expensive promotion that I was expected to pay for. When I made it clear that I was not going to pay for any holiday without thinking about it for at least a few days, she seemed baffled by my reluctance and asked me what my problem was. I told her that I would not give out any details on my credit card until I had time to evaluate the promotion. She insisted that the offer was only available for the duration of the telephone call. However, when I refused to give my credit card details before checking the holiday information, she lost interest and hung up.
BEWARE OF ANYONE calling you for a survey and stating that you are being entered into a competition for a Imperial Majesty Cruises holiday prize. The prize is NOT FREE, and is merely a marketing technique that they use to sell a holiday that YOU have to pay for. DO NOT give them ANY details on your credit card unless you are really sure that you want to book this holiday with them. (The information posted by some who have been on the cruise would suggest that you will be very, very disappointed anyway).
Furthermore, DO NOT FEEL FOOLISH if you cannot understand the details given to you on these calls. Any honest company will give you as much time as you need to look over the information. IF IN DOUBT, HANG UP THE PHONE or tell them that YOU WILL CALL THEM if you are interested.
Also, DO NOT FEEL UNDER ANY OBLIGATION to these people - it is their job, and after all, they called you. The lady who called me expressed a full range of fake emotions: excitement at telling me I had been selected; bewilderment at my reluctance to reveal my credit card details; appreciation that I seemed to be "a really nice person"; embarrassment as she claimed it was her "first day on the job"; disappointment at me turning down the offer; shock at learning that I knew about the scheme they were running, etc. etc.
One last piece of advice: NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR CREDIT CARD DETAILS TO ANYONE WHO CALLS AND INSISTS FOR ANY REASON THAT YOU NEED TO MAKE OR BOOK THE PURCHASE IMMEDIATELY. There is NO REASON WHATSOEVER that a legitimate business needs you to part with this information without giving you time to consider their offer.