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Scam Alert: The Military Travel Store
Here at MVDC, we love our military. We have said it a hundred times. We understand the service and sacrifice of those who serve because we have served ourselves. We are veterans and spouses and we know what it takes to make ends meet on a military budget. We celebrate military and veterans discounts and honor businesses that offer these discounts. Here's what we don't do. We don't do business with those who take advantage of a military family's tight budget, such as The Military Travel Store.
The Military Travel Store promises to approve "most" families for 100% financing in minutes for all active duty military personnel, their dependents, retired military and all federal government employees. They even promise to pay for family members if Space A or Military Hops is not available.
Sound too good to be true? As most things, it is. The Military Travel Store is not actually a travel agent, as advertised but a personal lender. The Store promises to pay for vacation costs in full and then partners with Pioneer Services and charges financing at 21.9% APR. While within the legal lending limits (which is 36% from the Military Lending Act), we aren't sure it's ethical. Also, as of 2013, credit card rates are beginning at 14.96% APR, which means a service member could actually put a vacation on a credit card and pay it back at less interest than what The Military Travel Store would charge.
When MVDC called the "24 Hour Customer Support Line" at 8:47 pm on a Saturday, the call listed business hours and went to voicemail. Doesn't seem like 24 Hour Customer Support to us! After reaching them during normal business hours, we found that they willingly finance "most" families, except for E-1s who they feel "do not have enough time in service".
The company has an "F" rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which is the lowest rating the BBB offers. Factors in grading include the business' complaint history, the type of business, the time in business, licensing and government actions, and advertising issues.
We aren't about slamming companies that help servicemen and women take a little R&R. We just want each of our heroes to know the full story before jumping on a four day cruise that will take years to pay off, plus a couple of thousand dollars in interest.
We understand if you need a little getaway. Our advice? Maybe a nice road trip or a camping trip while you save for the bigger vacation.
Do you have any experience with The Military Travel Store or any other company that takes advantage of our servicemen and women? Let us know!