Part Of Being A Good Travel Agent Is Actually Booking The Tickets For Your Customers

If you don’t book tickets for your clients to travel to their intended destination, does that make you a travel agent or just someone with an office plastered with posters of exotic locations? It makes you a thief, claim multiple customers of a travel agency in Oregon, who say the owner took their money but often didn’t follow through on booking tickets.

In one case, reports KATU News, a family never received the flight itinerary for their trip to Ireland that supposedly had been booked through the agency, so the day before they were supposed to leave they sat in her office until she produced a confirmation number and proved she’d paid for the tickets.

That was all well and good — until the family tried to leave Ireland early due to an emergency and use the travel insurance they had bought to rearrange flights. They say the agent never bought the insurance, and instead pocketed the money, leaving them stranded in Ireland until their originally scheduled flight took off.

Police say they’ve received around 50 complaints from various customers of the travel agency — from no tickets at all, no return flights to different hotel reservations than were promised — but the owner is pretty squirrelly about being caught. Cops claim she will often end up paying customers back or pulling through with tickets at the last minute when confronted, so filing charges against her is proving difficult.

“She’s denied pocketing the money, but we’re having a hard time figuring out where the money is going,”  said one detective, adding, “She’s been telling me ‘these things happen, it’s an accident.’ But unfortunately they happen a lot.”

So far, at least the family who traveled to Ireland has filed charges against the owner. She appeared in court this week.

Making a mistake one time, yes that happens. But when your customers aren’t doing so much of the “traveling” and just more of the “paying without getting promised services,” that’s a problem.

*Thanks for the tip, Amy!

Travel agent under investigation, faces theft charges [KATU News]

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  1. AtlantaCPA says:

    I thought that Yelp and its ilk were supposed to put businesses like this out of business? I wish we were smarter consumers in this country. I can understand not checking out a place to get lunch, but a travel agent seems like something you’d at least do some cursory checking on before deciding who to go with?

    • Banished to the Corner says:

      I don’t find reviews from yelp any help at all, in fact, I just find it annoying when I’m trying to get the physical address of some business and the first page of results are yelp and ilk.

      I agree that more consumers need to smarter about their purchases. I recommend that when a problem with a business is encountered, a complaint be filed with the state that it’s registered and a letter to the local BBB, and any trade association. Then if your issue is resolved, you can update the offices. With the above case, I’d file a complaint with my credit card company and the police too.

    • Cacao says:

      If the customers are going through a travel agent instead of booking the trips on the internet, what makes you think they’d go to the internet to check out a travel agent??

  2. StarKillerX says:

    “….until the family tried to leave Ireland early due to an emergency and use the travel insurance they had bought to rearrange flights. They say the agent never bought the insurance, and instead pocketed the money, leaving them stranded in Ireland until their originally scheduled flight took off.”

    Well I agree 100% with them pressing charges against this person but saying they were “stranded” is a bit of a stretch.

    • scoosdad says:

      And more importantly, they made it sound like the travel insurance would kick in immediately and be able to provide them with return tickets on demand. I’ve never bought it, is that how travel insurance works?

      Sounds to me like there would be paperwork to file and a waiting period to get reimbursed, like insurance on anything else, and not like it’s a ticket agency for emergency bookings.

  3. El_Cheapocabra says:

    DuffelCat is not impressed with Cascade Travel.

  4. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    It is not clear if Cascade Travel is a registered travel agency – or just someone who hung out a sign. Travel agents in Oregon are supposed to be licensed and display a registration number on their advertising material.
    http://cascadetvl.com/

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Never mind, apparently Oregon repealed their law requiring registration & regulation of travel agencies. Go free enterprise! That you commie bastards!

  5. Bender6829 says:

    We booked a trip to Costa Rica three weeks in advance, only to get to the airport and find out we were on ‘standby’. Missed our flight and a day and a half of our vacation. Travel agencies are an outdated industry.