Protect Yourself and Report the Latest Frauds, Scams, Spams, Fakes, Identify Theft Hacks and Hoaxes
Horizon Travel / TCI has apparently gained notoriety for it's "deals" . Here are several cases, including a case of a woman who signed up for the travel package, attended the requisite sales presentation, paid the deposit, and couldn't them to approve her travel dates. And yet, she says, they are still holding on to her deposit. Write us if you have any experience with travel scams or Horizon Travel! See the What to do section below for help!
Feb. 13, 2007
Re: refund due
3 Red Roof Lane
Salem, NH 03079
Cert's Number 62058
PKG Code: CRBOS
VIP Travel Incentives
7272 Broadway Blvd STE 264
Tucson, AZ 85710
Dear Sir or Madam:
As an incentive for my husband and I to attend a lengthy presentation at Horizon Travel in Salem, NH, we were promised a free cruise to the Bahamas. On their instructions, on June 7, 2006 I sent VIP a check (#3371) for $100.00 as a deposit for a cruise to the Bahamas. As they were unable to fill my request for the date of travel requested, I asked for a refund of my deposit, as promised.
To date, I have not received my refund, nor have I been able to reach either Horizon travel or VIP Travel Incentives by telephone.
On Dec. 14, 2006, I wrote to both companies asking for a refund of my deposit of $100.00 and stating my intent to report Horizon Travel and VIP Travel Incentive to all appropriate Consumer Fraud agencies if I did not receive my deposit..
March 2, 2007:
We are from NH and were recently scammed by Horizon Travel/ aka TCI in Salem NH in August 2006. We paid $4,995.00 for this membership which included 2 weeks of condo usage per year. We won a so-called trip for 3 days 2 nights to Cancun, Orlando Florida or Las Vegas. We sent in a check for $100.00 for this trip and have not heard from the company. We also booked a hotel in Boston Mass. in November, had to pay the full amount and are still waiting for the discount. My husband has called the company many times, either they gave him a run around or no answer or answering machine saying they would return our phone calls. My husband received a phone call today (3/1/07) from a person claiming he was a consumer relations representative from TCI...phone number was 602-438-6526, (when I did a reverse phone number look up on the internet, it came up as TCI in Tempe Arizona). However when I called the number back, no one answered. This person told my husband that they were no longer associated with Horizon Travel. He said that they only charge $175 per year for a membership and not the astronomical amount we paid. He said that they never received any of this money from Horizon and said if we still wanted to be members they would reimburse us the money we were waiting for (the $128 from the hotel booking). We sent a complaint report to our NH attorney generals office. We also recently found out that the Salem Office is closed, that Horizon Travel left overnight and no one knows where they went. We want the public to know what this company is doing and to stop others from being scammed. We know we may never see our money again, but feel justice would be served if the public was made aware of this company.
March 2, 2007:
I also had a negative experience with Horizon Travel out of New Hampshire. I didn't buy any cruises from them - but it seems like I have only lost $100. I had a similar experience to that describe by a lady from Massachusetts - no need to repeat. I have already filed complaints with FTC, BBB of NH, and NH Attorney General's office.
March 3, 2007:
I followed every rule so I could get my free cruise. I was denied every request I requested in for a year. I was told if I didn't get the cruise I would get my deposit back. Now my money has been stolen and for a year I paid for a travel club that never delivered. I never got answers back and I found better deals somewhere else. They go by 3 different names:
- Horizon Travel.
- V.I.P. Travel and
- T.C.I. Travel
When ever I called them, they would say they were someone else! Please help!
March 19, 2007:
This is to all consumers who have been scammed by Horizon Travel/TCI/VIP Travel Incentives. If you are interested in joining a growing group of similar individuals who are in the process of seeking justice by these companies (who are one in the same), please go to www.thesqueakywheel.com and do a search for "Travel club scam- watch out!!!" and ask the author of this scam to add you to our group.
The Better Business Bureau is a good start and is often quite effective at getting companies to refund deposits. Otherwise, the complaint is lodged and unresolved; something most companies don't want on the public record. The BBB complaint form is on this page: https://odr.bbb.org/odrweb/public/GetStarted.aspx If you get a security announcement, just click OK and then "next" and fill out the form.
Write us if you have any experience with Travel scam!
Contact the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Intergovernmental and Consumer Affairs or by phone at 202-366-2220 (ask for air travel complaints)
Horizon Travel of Arlington has an unsatisfactory record with the BBB due to a pattern of complaints regarding selling practices and service issues. The Bureau received 137 complaints against the company during its three-year reporting period. While some consumers complained about high-pressure sales tactics, the biggest source of complaints revolved around misrepresentation of the travel packages offered by the company. Consumers put up as much as $5,000 to become members of a travel club which the company claimed would provide special, "member only" rates on all travel packages. Members found it difficult to make travel arrangements and discovered that the so-called "special rates" for members were available to the general public on the internet. Consumers also complained about a lack of responsiveness on the part of the company to their concerns, citing the difficulty of making contact with company representatives. One of the principal officers of Horizon Travel was also a former officer with Sun Country Travel of Carrollton, Texas which was the target of a successful lawsuit by the State Attorney General's Office for using deceptive marketing practices. At least one customer was told in a letter from the company that, to resolve the complaint, the customer would have to furnish documentation that the consumer had closed out the complaint with the BBB as resolved satisfactorily. The owner of Horizon Travel claimed incorrectly that the company had a satisfactory record with the Better Business Bureau. He has also promised to make refunds to dissatisfied customers.
Travel clubs, vacation packages, and promotions promising "free" trips are frequent sources of inquiries and complaints to the BBB at Fort Worth. Before joining a travel club, buying a vacation package, or taking advantage of a free trip, consumers should remember that travel fraud costs consumers billions of dollars each year. Even if the travel offer is legitimate, consumers need to be alert to potential problems. Before becoming involved in any of these travel offers, read the rules carefully. Find out what is covered by the offer in terms of transportation and accommodations; offers can vary considerably in coverage. Determine the exact costs involved and which costs will be met by the company. Check to see if a deposit is required and what the provisions for its refund are. Read any agreement carefully before signing it. Conditions affecting the travel offer are often found in the fine print; this includes such things as price changes, cancellation penalties, refunds and availability of accommodations. For example, the agreement with Horizon Travel stated that the company could not guarantee the availability of condos. Check with the Better Business Bureau for a reliability report on the company involved; don't depend on the company to tell you that they have a good record with the BBB.
The LA Better Business Bureau recorded at least 8 complaints and says:
"The Better Business Bureau has received eight complaints against TCI so far, complaining about the company's failure to honor its guarantee. According to these complaints, the company denies refunds for such reasons as that the cancellation is not received within 30 days after "enrollment," whereas the complainants, who may not even receive their materials until several weeks after enrolling, say the refund period was to begin upon receipt of them. One complainant, who felt the operation was a pyramid scheme, said he had requested his refund five times. TCI finally denied his request, saying the refund period had expired. Another says he sent letters and called to request a refund some three weeks after joining but could not get a response. After he complained to the Bureau, TCI quoted its refund policy as stating that fees are "fully refundable, minus commissions earned, if written cancellation . . . is received . . . [by] Corporate Office within 30 days from the date of this Agreement." Although they deny receiving this complainant's cancellation at all, they point out that in spite of the fact that he did not earn any commissions, people in his upline organization did. Thus, the amount of their commissions would be deducted from his refund. But the remainder of what he paid, they claim, was also ineligible for refund for other reasons. And still another complainant's refund request was denied because the materials he returned to them were "slightly damaged" and he did not return his identification card nor an airline fly-free certificate.
See this page for their complete report.
A site visitor tells us that TCI Travel is affiliated with:
Charisma Travel dba Discount Travel Shop
Carson City NV 89701
Avoid Horizon Travel / VIP / TCI: The sheer volume of complaints going back for years speaks volumes. There are plenty of travel agencies with no complaints you can use!