July 17, 2004
Soho vacation - inside story

I have previously written about soho vacations, the dodgy online travel "prize" agency and its disappointed customers.

During my vacation, someone posted the following comment I'd like to share with you. I have no guarantee that Mary is who she says she is - a Sohovacation employee - but then again I don't have very large doubts about her story. Here it is (unedited) for you to make up your own minds:

I unfortuantly work for soho vacations. i did not realize what it was when i started they have an ad out for employee's they call it customer service representatives. i thought i would be dealing with cusotmers not selling a vacations package. but unfortuantly i can't quit until i get another job i can't go with out a pay check. if the people calling up would actually see the call center they would hang up immediately. there are no computers you sit in front of a black phone in a little cubeical. the phone rings and you answer it you write down the peoples information on a piece of paper and read from a script that actually says to say really? are you sure that it isn't 250? wow that's the largest prize amount that we award today well i'm going to have to place you on hold for just one moment so that i can verify your claim number. we put you on hold so that you think that we are checking our computers for that magical claim number. do you know what the claim number really says. what site you were visiting that gave the pop up. we keep a tract of that so that if we sell more from claim number 620 and not much from 157 then we'll drop our ad off of 157. managers are running around tellling people to stand up cause their pitch isn't great. they are constantly telling you to sell sell sell. it's awful. in the morning they drill you on the script over and over and this rebuttal process. it states well what's it that holding you back is it the price? the locations? or does it just sound too good to be true. then we go through the time share rebuttal about the vip preview, then the e-commerace rebuttal then then straight to to set up. what does to stand for well take over of cource. we put a closer on the phone cause we can't get the card from you. they may call them selves, vp of promotions, director of promotions, manager of promotions etc. they play this hip hop music really loud and then expect the people on the phones not to hear it. if we were professional at all we wouldn't do that. their are tarps up everywhere to close out the rooms. as soon as i can find a different job i'm leaving cause this is ridiculous. you know how by law you have to have 2 15 min breaks and a 30 min lunch a day. well good luck taking it. you have to ask before you can leave your seat. they very strongly encourage you not to take your breaks. you don't get your check on friday until 6 so good luck getting it into the banks to pay your bills. they have never gotten any of my checks right since i started working there. they always mess up on everyone's checks. and if you don't make 6 vacations sales a week you have to work sat with out pay (technically they give you 250 a week wither you work 5 or 6 days). i feel sorry for the people on the phones and i feel sorry for the people who work there. the assholes who work there i don't care about but the people like me who need this job unitl they can get something better i feel sorry for and good luck in finding something better

Posted by: Mary on July 10, 2004 05:13 AM

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i recently quit work for the scammers formally known as SOHO vacations, you may also know them as summer bay or flamingo bay. I was a phone rep for a while until I became a verifier for the company. Everything this ex employee says is true about this company and its even worse then they know. The two owners of the company are be investigated for helping fund terrorist groups. One of the owners even sexually harrassed my room mate. The local news in central FL even did a problem solvers story for a week on how they scammed people...Its hard to believe but very true Beware!!!

Posted by: verifier on December 11, 2004 03:58 AM

I also worked at Travel Express(Soho Vacations)..
(Orange Team)When i first started work there i wasnt sure what i was getting myself into...Thank you for calling soho vacations claim center my name is_______!I worked there for about three months.In traning they play the movie "Bolier Room" it seems as if they operate the same way..(the loud hip hop music they played i never did understand)CONGRATULATIONS! it is a very shady business!I was getting calls where men would tell me how sexy my voice was and how it turned them one one man said to me he could leave his office for atleast an hour he was so aroused...yuck...one man told me he would get the vacation if i told him what i was wearing and...when i spoke to my manager his response was "asume the sale" do what it takes...blabla not enough airtime! make sure you log it!

Posted by: C on January 27, 2005 02:38 PM

I worked at Travel Express as well, and I don't really see what everyone's problem is.

The vacation package? If you think about it, it's a pretty good deal (if you get all the extras); Orlando, Daytona, and a cruise (albeit, not a great one) for 600 bucks. C'mon. I stayed in Panama City for 600 in the worst hotel imaginable and loved it.

The work environment? Granted, it's not ideal, but what do you want? A private office with a seceratary? You're a sales person, make do. Yeah, the music was distracting, but the idea was to make the customer think it was a party.

The pay? 250 base pay is generous. It wasn't hard to sell those packages. I averaged 9 per week. My best week was 13. That's 1300 bucks in one week. I loved the pay there. I only quit because I moved out of Florida.

The place wasn't the ideal environment, but I banked like mad while i was there, so I loved it. But if you're not a sales person, you probably hated it. Oh well.

Posted by: McNally on February 8, 2005 04:35 AM
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Anders Jacobsen's blog: More info on Travel Express / Soho vacations (January 27, 2005 09:36 PM)
"Comment posted by C earlier today in reply to Mary's information about working at Sohovacations: If this and the previous comments are not enough to scare anyone away from doing business with these people, I don't know what is..."

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