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Consumer complaints and reviews about AARP

Georgina17 Send email
May 3, 2016

"Insulated Travel Bag"

I just opened the little mailer that included my free gift of a supposed "Insulated Travel Bag." Now I am trying to figure out what in the world anyone thought someone could do with it. It would hold a can of soda, but without there being any kind of top to the bag, it wouldn't keep it cold long. Perhaps the open pocket design was intended to allow me to put a soda bottle in instead and accommodate the height, but then the bag isn't tall enough to insulate more than the bottom half of a 20 oz bottle. And we still have the open top. Maybe it was intended to use inside of a cooler to keep the perspiration of the bottle off of other things in the cooler, so as a drip catcher. I suppose that could work, but then why is there that crazy strap connected to it? Is that so I can fish the little bag out of the bottom of a cooler?

Regardless, it would have saved me time to not have received this useless item and it would have saved AARP money to not have handled and mailed it. Please stop advertising and distributing this trash that goes directly to landfills.
mamazepp Send email
Apr 27, 2016

Don't Waste the Postage

I am feeling the same pain and wasted $$ as the others on this post. I think that AARP should just stop wasting their (OUR) money on such a cheap freebie that is upsetting members. In fact, I wasn't going to renew this last year and then finally decided to when I got the postcard (Another wasted postage paid item) offering the cool freebie. Well, i am using the bag (If you can call it that) with a plastic grocery bag as the liner to clean my cat box. Yup. I feel that it works perfectly for that and it makes me happy every time I empty the toilet goods from my dear cats into the AARP travel bag. The furthest it travels is from the litter box to the trash. :) Save your dough people. Use it to pay the difference if you were going to get a limited discount anyway.....
GLENCLOVE Send email
Apr 26, 2016

aarp is nothing but a scam

I quit this outfit several years ago. #1 - Their "hotel discounts" were exactly the same thing I can get being a veteran or using my AAA card. #2 - The cell phone company, consumer cellular, that they endorse is a ripoff too. #3 - The insurance companies they endorse are more expensive than my regular State Farm premium for nearly identical coverage. AVOID THIS aarp OUTFIT LIKE THE PLAGUE!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!
bephran Send email
Jan 27, 2016

Insulated Travel Bag Complaints

Just received membership package to join or renew AARP but for some reason I wanted to check out the insulated Travel Bag first. The first thing I noticed were all "BAD" complaints about this supposedly free gift (travel bag). What really gets me, AARP has not responded to any of these insults. Is this company really legitimate? I need to hear something from this organization. Do they intend to defend themselves? I may never rejoin.
lifespeedsup@yahoo.com Send email
Jan 24, 2016

Misrepresented gift

The" Insulated Travel Bag" I received looked nothing like the membership promotional literature. Instead I received a cheap, good for nothing bag. How can AARP stoop so low? You bet I'm not renewing my membership with such a deceptive company.
lifespeedsup@yahoo.com Send email
Jan 24, 2016

Chincy Bag

I did not receive an "Insulated Travel Bag." Instead I received a cheap bag that is good for nothing. I decided to try a membership because of the bag incentive. You can bet I'm not renewing my membership with such a deceptive company!
shaniff Send email
Jan 13, 2016

travel bag

Thank you so much everyone for doing the right thing and posting your opinions. I was about to sign up my father in law based on the travel bag. But , after reading everyone's opinion I don't think I will sign him up with an organization that's supposed to be a well trusted organization playing marketing games. AARP just lost a potential client.
annabrice Send email
Nov 8, 2015

Welcome Gift

I am a bit relieved to see all these complaints because I honestly thought the same thing. I started to research online to see if I could find a photo of the item because I threw out the postcard once I filled out the application. The free gift I received for enrolling looked nothing like the photo in the postcard I received with the promo. So it was a bit disappointing when I received it.

From one marketing person to the marketing department at AARP -- no one likes to feel like they were mislead. If you are going to offer a free gift, make it a good one. The photo, if it is indeed the same item (doesn't look like it is), was a super favorable photo that must have really been enhanced with great lighting or positioning or even photoshop. It's just a bad marketing practice and my first customer experience with AARP is an unfavorable one. I will now always be suspicious of any "deals" you offer.
annabrice Send email
Nov 8, 2015

Free Gift Was Not What I Expected

I am a bit relieved to see all these complaints because I honestly thought the same thing. I started to research online to see if I could find a photo of the item because I threw out the postcard once I filled out the application. The free gift I received for enrolling looked nothing like the photo in the postcard I received with the promo. So it was a bit disappointing when I received it.

From one marketing person to the marketing department at AARP -- no one likes to feel like they were mislead. If you are going to offer a free gift, make it a good one. The photo, if it is indeed the same item (doesn't look like it is), was a super favorable photo that must have really been enhanced with great lighting or positioning or even photoshop. It's just a bad marketing practice and my first customer experience with AARP is an unfavorable one. I will now always be suspicious of any "deals" you offer.
kayg76 Send email
Oct 13, 2015

Alleged travel bag

Seriously AARP, the cheap, actually VERY cheap bag I received looked nothing like what you advertised as a gift for renewing/joining. Have read previous remarks and it seem everyone has same complaint. Someone did say "buyer beware". What I find so interesting is the complaints goes back years so I guess folks at AARP ready don't give a dam. DON'T offer anything if you can't have a accurate photo with dimensions, etc. Better still DON'T offer anything. Didn't need the "travel bag" but thought it would be handy to keep in the car with some small essentials for traveling. Las t time I renewed received some piece of junk which I can't even remember what it was except what ever it was supposed to do, it didn't. Save your money and spend it on dong something useful to protect our Social Security benifits - which I myself paid into for 50 plus years.
nasdjag Send email
Oct 12, 2015

Traval Bag = Marketing Ploy

I've read ALL the reviews. But what really caught me eye are the ones that seem to blame the consumer for not doing their "research" and maybe that's true to a fault. My question is why should they/we? First of all, AARP is a well recognized organization that is supposed to have their senior members and future senior members best interest at heart but most importantly their marketing should be something we trust. In this case, that trust was broken by their marketing ploy and a play on words. In my opionion a potental new member of an organization such as AARP should not have to scrutinize a product from AARP even if it is free. We all know what the word "Travel Bag" means. And yes they do come in various sizes and colors. Some have wheels and some don't.. However when a trusted organization such as AARP offers a free "Travel Bag" we the consumer do not expect to receive an insulated lunch bag. If AARP is going to offer a free bag then call it what it is. In this case it's an "insulated lunch bag" that the consumer can travel with. This is a plain and simple marketing ploy with a play on words. Shame on you AARP for not calling it what it actually is - a "LUNCH BAG". We are seniors who by the complaints trusted you in delivering a travel bag as we know a travel bag. When we go to a store to purchase a travel bag, we do not go in the store and purchase an insulated lunch bag. Nor do we go to the store to purchase a lunch bag and purchase a travel bag as we know a travel bag. Again SHAME on you AARP and those of you who suggest that the senior population should have done their homework. Homework should not have to be done if AARP simply called it what it actually is "A LUNCH BAG". Just call it an insulated lunch bag not a travel bag and I'm sure the complaints will stop and your senior population that has not complained (and I'm sure there a many) will not be disappointed when they receive the lunch bag when they expected a travel bag. Please stop misleading your members. PLEASE.....
egenevap Send email
Sep 23, 2015

Travel/lunch bag

Received this bag with no zippers as shown in the picture, today, 9/23/15, and it is a joke, but so is AARP. I joined only because friends have aarp and they get some good discounts so I knew I would get my $16.00 back within the year. I had second thoughts on joining even knowing about the discounts, but saw the bag and thought they might be honest this time. Well, no surprise as they were not honest with me in the past. I will take the blame, should have realized they would not change. They are not a group one can trust. I will not renew with them. I am too conservative minded and they are always throwing curve balls. Would ask for the $16.00 refund but don't believe I would hear from them.
Mad716 Send email
Sep 3, 2015


Every time I have had to call in to ask a question on behalf of a client, they have continuously been RUDE on the phone. Very sarcastic.. don't want to deal with the problem, or give you another number to call. We try to help our older clients by assisting them with their requests only to be treated very unprofessional on the phone. I had a man by the name of Steve who was not very polite at all. And this is the 3rd or 4th time I've had someone of this unprofessionalism. AARP should understand that the older generation has many questions understanding their coverage and should better service their customers!!!
Victimized Send email
May 7, 2015

Travel Bag! AARP

Ripped OFF! The travel bag can barely hold one sandwich!! Talk about ripping off the elderly! AARP is the worst!!
Anne Kelly Send email
Apr 15, 2015

TRAVEL BAG?????????

I received the travel bag what a joke. you should get A prize when if you can figure it out It is worth about $!.or less and I don't think the dollar store would carrie this item and I thought I was getting something special after Twenty yr.with AARP.
gramps98 Send email
Feb 18, 2015

Travel Bag...I've been had!!!

Shame on me. I should have done my homework. I received this crappy little sandwich bag today. What a disappointment! It looks nothing like the bag I saw on the original flyer. They got me for one year. It's all good.

PS - I'm basically just sounding off. Judging by all the negative comments that I've read AARP doesn't seem to care what people think or say about their deceptive practices.
djw Send email
Oct 3, 2014

travel bag

At least some people got the bag. I have been a member for 5 years and have never received a free SWAG gift from AARP even when I enclose the picture they send med during my yearly renewal.
1952nonnie Send email
Jul 26, 2014

Travel bag - not

I used to have an AARP membership which was given as a gift. When I received the renewal notice with the free insulated travel bag offer I threw it on the pile of other "l'll look at it later" mail with the intentions of maybe renewing. Next time I picked it up was to throw it away but, being like all of us, the allure of getting something free caused me to give it a second glance. After closely reading the details about the bag, I realized there still wasn't enough information to make me want to renew. My previous experience with AARP was unmemorable, as another reviewer wrote, ' I can get the same discounts with my AAA membership'. So admittedly, if I were to renew it would only be because of the gift offer. Decided to google it in an attempt to find out more details - how big, how sturdy, etc. First thing my search results brought up was the complaints, which of course I proceeded to read every one of them expecting to find maybe one or two praising the bag. Finding none I tore the offer card in half and threw it away. If the gift being offered is the only reason to purchase a membership you had better do some research into the gift, after all, you will be paying for it. If you are not in the least bit interested in what you're really paying for - the membership and the perks that come with it, why bother? Why would you send money and then complain about what was free to begin with- especially if you didn't take the time to look into it further? Everyone who has posted a complaint has access to the internet, why take the time to complain when you could have taken the time to research it first?
mickeyfan63 Send email
Jul 10, 2014

insulated bag

I agree with the other complaints, I expected a bigger bag, but when I received it I was greatly disappointed. It's a smaller version of a lunch bag, you can fit a sandwich and soda and that's it. They better explain the size on their ads so there won't be any more complaints.
RetireGranny Send email
Jun 8, 2014

Free "Travel Bag"

Shame on me for trusting AARP. I received the free insulated travel bag with the purchase of a membership and discovered the "travel bag" was a lunch bag. It is obvious to me that credibility is not important to AARP. This membership campaign has been running for several years with many complaints, yet AARP continues this dishonest practice. I feel that I cannot believe anything that AARP claims and will pass this information on to all my friends.

I have requested my membership be canceled and refund of $49 sent immediately. Also, I have requested that any and all of my personal information NOT be shared with anyone, including AARP member products or services or selected nonprofits; and, remove my name from your mailing list.
ryansmom Send email
Apr 14, 2014

I received someone else's membership card

AARP sent another couple's membership cards to my address, which means my cards were sent to someone else. I called customer service and got a run-around from a representative and her supervisor. The supervisor finally admitted there had been a "glitch I the system" but when I tried to press for reassurance that my cards had NOT been sent elsewhere, she would not confirm and kept deflecting my concerns. I requested a phone number for corporate so I could voice my concerns regarding identity theft implications and was told no phone numbers were available but I could email their membership department. As far as I'm concerned, this is a security breach and warrants a lot more concern than was shown by their unhelpful staff.
heidi343 Send email
Apr 14, 2014

Red travel bag on wheels

I saw the red insulated bag on wheels, I ran into a couple that had one and it was a nice bag. It is a nice size and good and roomy, the problem is that I have been waiting and they keep sending me a sandwich bag.
Flagirl50 Send email
Dec 27, 2013

Where is my Insulated Travel Bag

I have been waiting for this bag since August,2013..Still have not gotten it ..But from the reviews/comments don't think I am missing anything.
aea63 Send email
Sep 18, 2012

travel bag

I have called numerous times because I still haven't received my free travel bag ( talk about a bait and switch operation you have going on) how in the hell long doe's it take to get from California to Utah, and every time I call they say it is on the way , not! come on get with it and send them to all the people you promised you would or refund our money , It sure in the hell didn't take 6-8 weeks to cash our checks. I will not renew my aarp card and will tell all my friend you are a bunch of liars!!!!!
Central Iowa Guy Send email
Aug 18, 2012

AARP Travel Bag

I'm amazed at the complaints about this bag. Recently, I received the same promotional piece from AARP, and I noticed the following things about it:

1. Nowhere does it state the dimensions of the bag. To me, that's the first sign that I don't have details I may want to know. Consequently, I need to look further.

2. In the photo, I can see that a car key fob is attached on the right side. Car key fobs tend to be only a couple inches long, so I can easily see that the bag is only two or three times the length of my key fob.

3. I can see a pen in the pocket on the front of the bag. From that, I can easily estimate that the bag is perhaps twice the length of an average pen. To me, that's a clear sign the bag is small.

4. In the top of the bag I can see a banana and one snack bar that I would figure is probably the size of a standard granola bar. From their usual size, I can also likely guess that the bag is not terribly deep.

4. Nowhere does the piece refer to the "insulated travel bag" as anything that gives me the impression that it is what I would consider luggage that I would pack as any sort of bag to roll aboard, use as a sort of suitcase, or even a cooler for holding anything much larger than one bottled beverage.

5. The photo clearly shows the bag won't serve as an insulated carrier for much more than one bottled beverage, so I didn't think of the bag as a cooler. From what is shown in the photo, I'd figure I'd use the bag only for conveniently carrying a few very small items when I travel and don't want to stuff my pockets or carry a large bag.

6. Some complaints say AARP was using false advertising. False advertising applies to the goods, services, or commercial activities a business offers. From my experience, AARP does provide the goods, services, and activities they sell. AARP was not selling you the bag. They were selling their services and they threw in the bag as an incentive to get you to buy the services. The bag itself is not a good, service, or activity of AARP. Even if the bag were a good, service, or activity of AARP, they make no claims about what the bag will or will not do other than that the bag is insulated and can be used for travel. If you read more into that they what they say, you are assuming much that the photo easily gives away.

I would also add to this the following points:

a. A consumer needs to take care to confirm they are getting what they expect. The phrase "Caveat emptor" (Let the buyer beware) goes back a few thousand years.

b. AARP makes no promises or statements about the bag's dimensions. If it may be helpful to you to know the size of the bag, then ask. If you think AARP is being deceitful, you haven't paid attention to how many things are sold. For evidence, look at car ads (print or on TV) that give you the impression that many small cars are large, long, and powerful. For more evidence, look at food ads for things like the size of meal portions and think about how often the item you receive at the restaurant is the same size and has the same eye appeal as what you see in print, online, or on TV. For further evidence, look at the size of your cereal box compared to its contents, the size of your potato chip bag compared to its contents, and so on.

c. If you still feel cheated, consider that AARP does not state or imply a value for the bag. They say it is free as a bonus gift. I checked online for similar bags and found they range in cost from about $9 on up to nearly $20 in retail price. Even if you assume that it costs AARP $1 or $2 per bag from whoever their fulfillment item provider is, the bag is still worth about 6% to 12% of the cost of annual membership.

d. When you get a gift for free, try to have the graciousness not to complain. If you bought AARP membership thinking the bag was worth more than the $16 membership fee, you clearly didn't do your homework. Also, you probably weren't joining AARP to get the benefits of membership but to get the free gift. Why join or buy something you don't intend to use? Sandiegoliving and a few other respondents understand this, but the complainers haven't figured that out.

Last point: I joined AARP in July and have already used my membership to save over $80 in a few hotel stays. When I joined, there was no free gift offer of any kind. While it may have been nice for me to get a free gift, I'm not lodging a complaint with AARP asking or demanding "Where's mine?" Instead, I'm appreciative of the services they do offer, and I weighed whether I thought membership was going to yield me more than $16 in savings. To me, membership is a bargain, with or without a low-value gift throw in at no cost.

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