View Full Version : Travel Agent Scam

10-01-2008, 11:07 AM
I've been following a thread on Cruise Critic where someone has been scammed by someone calling themselves a travel agent. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=851829 They paid 6 months ago (by check) but the TA didn't send a check to Carnival until August and that check bounced. They told Carnival they sent a check this past Friday but didn't (the TA even provided Carnival a false tracking number). Since the person booked with this TA (it was a "free" cruise won at a school fundraiser), the TA has closed their storefront and moved his business to his home. Carnival has given the TA until Friday to send the money (they keep giving the TA an extension).

So far the poster is just waiting until Friday to see if the TA will pay because Carnival told them they had a good relationship with this TA. Personally I think this person has misplaced their trust in Carnival in waiting instead of at the very least contacting the corporate headquarters of the travel agency. Most of the posters are like me in that we think that by waiting it's going to make it worse for this person not better, but they keep insisting that by not doing anything like calling the corporation the guy might still pay Carnival the money. If this guy does come up with the money, I fear it will be because someone else booked a trip through him and he'll be using THAT persons money to cover his debts.

Does anybody else think this person is making a mistake by trusting Carnival and waiting? Is there anything else this person could be doing instead of just sitting here hoping a miracle happens?

10-01-2008, 01:00 PM
I think your instincts are on the money WRP.

I don't quite understand why they are paying for a free cruise but I would:

Call Carnival and say that I am calling the TA directly and telling them I'm coming over in three hours to pick up either a certified check, bank draft, or money order which I will send to Carnival. I would ask Carnival for an extension so that I could do that.
I would then call the TA and state my demand, and if he/she didn't comply I would:

Have my attorney immediately file suit to recover the money paid to the TA (I would have contacted an attorney by now if it was me.).
Contact the Better Business Bureau to file a complaint.
Contact ASTA, if the TA is a member, and file a complaint.
And finally go to the local District Attorney's office and file charges of business fraud.

I would do all of this today!

10-01-2008, 02:37 PM
First off, it sounds like they won a cruise with either a set date, in a certain category, or it was a cruise up to a certain price. The winner of the prize decided to upgrade, therefore the additional cost.

This is an excellent example of why you should never use check or cash for a travel reservation.

With cruise lines, there is ALWAYS a printout to give to a client, even with group travel. You should always received proof of cost, proof of deposit and with the final due date noted. After final payment there should be proof of payment.

There was an agency owner locally that was very shady. She would run all deposits through her company credit card account not directly to the cruise line and would often take the money and put it in a CD to earn interest. Yes this is illegal, but she did it for many, many years. Complaints were always out there about her, but people kept going to her because she advertised such great deals. Even my parents senior group booked a cruise through her and all the extras for paying in advance never materialized because the money was never given to the cruise in time. She was brazen enough to give passengers documents for a cruise they hadn't paid for because she didn't give out receipts and itineraries until she handed over documents and her comment I once heard was, "Well you got a cruise, be happy". She sold her agency a few years ago to another agency and they took her in based on the contract of sale. She continued with her shady ways and I had 4 of her clients call me for a last minute cruise because of her refusing to produce proof of purchase or an itinerary and they refused to give her the final payment. When they cancelled with her, she told them to buy cancellation insurance to cover the $500 deposit they were losing. This wasn't a covered reason, she was just going for more sales. What ba**s!! I kept hearing that people were threatening to sue, but I never once saw anything in our local paper, so she just kept on going. She had since been fired and now works, still in the industry, in SF. Amazing!

10-03-2008, 02:34 PM
Well apparently the TA finally paid this afternoon. I'm still wondering what other client they stole from to make good for this client.