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!