Are vacation giveaways through cookware companies a scam?

I have recently received two phone calls from two different cookware companies saying that I have won a free trip to Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Spain, Argentina, Aruba, or several destinations in the U.S. All I have to do to get the trip is go to an information session where they will promote their products. I went to one of these information sessions and did get the information on the free trip. I was supposed to be going to another session for the other company tonight, but was called and told that it had to get cancelled because of a family emergency of the administrator. I am getting concerned that these companies are scams, but just can't tell. One company has good and bad reviews, but the other has no reviews at all. Has anyone won something similar and actually gone through with it? I would love to hear your stories and advice!

Re: Are vacation giveaways through cookware companies a scam?

  • marateamaratea member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    Yes and no. I think there have been some posts on other boards about this and the a few people said the trips were legit, but the places weren't great and they had to pay for airfare, plus there were tons of terms and conditions. IMO, I don't think it would be worth it to have to sit around and listen to their BS presentations, and what you described about the family emergency sounds like they're stringing you along.
    I kept getting a ridiculous amount of calls from these companies, around 3 or so a day, until I finally told them if they didn't stop calling I'd file a harassment complaint (I wouldn't really, but it made them stop calling). My advice--don't go to anymore sessions and ignore them.
  • abaer&ksmithabaer&ksmith member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for your reply maratea! You were a lot of help!
  • schuette2schuette2 member
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I was lurking, and thought I'd put in my 2 cents. My fiance and I won one of these through Simplicity Gourmet, and we went to hear their speil on cookware in order to get the trip. They kept saying it was free, all inclusive, etc - and then we read the tiny print at the bottom. We'd have to pay airfare, and they'd only pay for 3 nights (hardly worth the trip), plus the "all inclusive" only included a few items. This information put a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, so we took it to a trusted travel agent - who said she'd never heard of them. Pit got bigger. We came back home, and I looked them up on the Better Business Bureau's site, where I found out they had 2 strikes against them for monetary reasons. This was more than plenty for us, so we ripped it up and we're back to square one.

    My suggestion on the matter is if you "win" one of these trips, research the crap out of it before accepting it.
  • abaer&ksmithabaer&ksmith member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thank you SO much schuette2! Simplicity Gourmet is the same company that we won a trip from. The whole thing seemed strange to my fiance and I. We were going to look into it more this summer and decide if it was really worth it.. We already have a back up plan, but wanted to make sure we weren't throwing away a trip that was actually worth something. I think we have our answer now. Thank you for sharing your story!!
  • edited December 2011
    For what it's worth, my FI and I got 2 calls also. We went to the presentations (they were actually kinda fun). The first time we thought about getting the cookwear they offered but ended up just grabbing the free vacation package. The second time we decided to go for it and OMG it is the best cookwear ever. I'm a pastry chef for a living but I do a lot of cooking too and we both love this stuff. Plus we got two more vacations. Granted you have to put down a deposit and the airfare to the nice places is kinda pricey but we don't get many vacations so 3 nights all inclusive is still looking like a lot of fun for us. And the extra vacations we are giving to our parents as presents (since they can edefinitly afford and use a vacation). Overall, I'vebeen really happy with the company so far even though we were both skeptical at first.
  • edited December 2011
    These advertising techniques are not scams, they are legit. But, if you don’t prepare yourself you can be influenced into making an impulse buy without really wanting to. So, my advice to you is to educate and prepare yourself.  I emphasize… do not get pulled into making an impulse buy!  Before I went to my first presentation I would have just said I didn’t care about what kind of cookware, as long as I could cook in it. I never even thought to research what different kinds of cookware were out there. I went and got informed, and made and educated choice. I suggest you do the sameJ Now only if they would do these types of demonstrations for cars! J


    The vacation is not a scam but it is also not your dream come true.  It is simply a way to entice you to come to the demonstration. I’ll be honest, I did not care about cookware before and I only went because I got free stuff.  But the presentation piqued my interest to further look into cookware. And I was surprised to find that I DO care.. I just never knew what was out there. (See the advertising technique working?) They got me there because they offered me something free.  It worked because I went! I did not buy anything from Celebrity, but after extensive research I did purchase a set from Simplicity and I love it!


    I’ve recapped my experience below with two companies that sell waterless cookware. Celebrity and Simplicity.  My advice is to do research ahead of time about the type of cookware you would like.  There are several different kinds (cast iron, aluminum, non-stick, stainless steel, waterless, etc) These companies sell top of the line cookware that has several great features. But, it might not be for you.  I did not know anything about what kind of cookware I wanted so I thought I’d go and get informed. So, we went and sat through their presentation about their cookware and it was surprisingly interesting!  Before we went, we discussed the fact that we were not going to purchase anything, just get information and the free hotel stay.  Which is exactly what we did!  We left with the coupon for the hotel and our two toasting glasses.  Go to the presentation and get informed. Get your free gifts. (I might mention that the vacations are real, however it is not legal for the company to pay taxes or travel fees)  So once again read the fine print and educate yourself.  What you are getting is the hotel for free. Not the entire vacation. Go to the presentation, get your gifts, and a 90 minute education on different types of cookware. You can leave and not purchase anything.


    If you later decide you want the waterless cookware no worries!  You can simply call the company and inform them that you would like to do an in-home demonstration OR that you are interested in attending a demonstration when they come to your city next. If you do an in-home demonstration you once again have to sit through the 90 minute presentation, but then you get the opportunity to get the discounts. Or you can simply purchase the items at full price if you don’t want to sit through another demonstration. I first attended the Celebrity cookware demonstration, got some very good information about the different types of cookware, my free gifts and left. After that I did some research on the type of cookware I would like. I knew I wanted stainless steel cookware so I checked out several different brands and prices. I found that my favorite was Farberware (what my mother-in-law uses) but that this was just stainless steel and not waterless.  I liked the features of waterless cookware ( Such as not having to constantly stir, stackable, etc) and decided that it was worth my money to invest.


    Two weeks later I got a call from Simplicity Gourmet and was informed that I had received a free 3 day/2 night hotel stay.  I researched the company before we went and saw several reviews on how it was a scam. However, I believe if you inform yourself before you go, you won’t get scammed.  The company is legit and has been in business for several years. The vacations are legit, but once again you have to read the fine print. All you are getting is the Hotel. Knowing that I wanted to buy the Waterless Stainless Steel cookware my fiancé and I decided to go to the presentation and compare the price to Celebrity.  Both were similarly priced (around $3,000 for a basic set of cookware)  Now, to me this is a lot of money for cookware, but with the lifetime guarantee and the features it had, I considered it to be a good investment. If I didn’t want to pay that much money I could settle for a simple stainless steel set from Farberware or something from a department store.  But, then I would still want the waterless so instead of buying Farberware now, and paying more for the waterless later, I decided I would fork out the money and get what I wanted.


  • Kbolen25 .. what is the name of the cookware company that your cookware is from?

    Has anyone heard of Century Lifestyles, Inc. - Cook World Cookware?
  • I found a bunch of brides on another board asking the same thing. The company made a knot profile and posted a (rude) response (violating the knot's TOS) and then made a bunch of profiles that were obviously the same company. They used those fake profiles to make a bunch of posts that said it was legit. All of the posts were from profiles that were all created on the same day, and none of them has posted since.
  • We went to the information session and decided to buy the cookware from Century Lifestyles, Inc-Cook World Cookware. While the cookware is decent (but pricey) we mainly bought if for the 7 seven nights eight days trip. Turns out there is a LOT of fine print. I would not have purchased the cookware had I known the trip wasn't worth it. To many strings attached! We actually get a better deal through a military site (my fiancé is in the service). We are both kinda bummed because when we went to return it our "10 days" to cancel was up and it's a "legally binding contract." I was frustrated because what about false advertising! They also said they were apart of the Better Business B. bought low and behold I can't find them on there to lodge complaint. Also when we called to ask a question about when our shipment would arrive (before the 10 days was up) they were REALLY rude. We thought about canceling right then but we wanted to actually get the stuff and try it out first. Overall...yes the cookware is decent and their is a trip. BUT the trip fees and taxes end up costing you the same as the trip would have. So what exactly was free or all inclusive? Not much. Beware!
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