Families scammed by a travel agency: the figure is millionaire and the company closes its offices

ByRochelle W. Stone

Mar 11, 2022

A group of families He planned his vacation with great enthusiasm and trusted a tourist agency which ended rip them off. all hired your trips in 2019 to travel in 2020, but in March of that year the coronavirus pandemic arrived and they had to reschedule the date. At that time, they believed that everything was under control.

However, three years after this hiring, they still could not travel. The money was stolen and the company closed its offices arguing that they only work remotely. The victims decided to tell their story in TN and the people so that there are no more victims.

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A married couple’s illusion of knowing the UK

A Henry and his wife they like to travel and without knowing that they were going to be scammed they contacted the travel agency The friends to organize the holidays. The first contact was September 2019. The company’s headquarters was located at 800 Santa Fe Avenue and it has several branches in the city of Buenos Aires. But since last year all the offices are unoccupied.

Enrique concluded the contract through the website. PagoUS$5000 for both packages. The idea was to travel April 2020but when the coronavirus pandemic was already making headlines in January, he decided reschedule your trip.

The complaint they filed with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. (Photo: TN and People).

“I contacted the representatives of January 2020 because I imagined that we could not travel in April of that year. So we agreed that we would postpone the vacation. Among 2020 and 2021 gave me a lot of turns. i think they did run the time for not giving me my money back. They stopped answering the phone and I never had contact with them again,” Enrique explained.

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The man contacted the airline and got a refund of the money for the tickets. But when he called Hotelwhere supposedly The friends had made the reservation, they told him that they had nothing to their name. “As I realized it was a scam, I approached Consumer Defense pose my problem. And over the days, I discovered that my case was not the only one. That’s why all of us who got scammed got in touch and made a presentation at the Ministry of Tourism and Sportsbecause this agency appears on its site as authorized, ”he says angrily.

The truth is that the class action was received at the box office on December 20, 2021, but still did not receive a response of the Ministry.

The company is listed as
The company is listed as an “approved travel agency” on the website of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. (Photo: argentina.gob.ar).

The group of victims, according to Enrique’s file, are 56 passengers telling him and his wife. The figure they all paid for the holidays they didn’t get is US$ 121,542 and $72,500.

Mirta was going to Cuba with his family

Al Mirta’s brother recommended to the agency Friends to take the package to the Caribbean, more precisely to Cuba. The man was in charge of collecting the money of the five people who were going to travel and paid in cash. Each paid a little more than $2,000.

The contact with the company was in november 2019, and the idea was to travel in April 2020. As in the case of Enrique, They postponed the trip due to the coronavirus pandemic. And almost like a traced case, they were scammed.

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The voucher with the departure date that was given to Mirta by the company.  (Photo: TN and People).
The voucher with the departure date that was given to Mirta by the company. (Photo: TN and People).

“First they rescheduled us for November 2020, but it was still not possible to travel as flights were canceled and borders closed. So they offered us April 2021, and we agreed, but we couldn’t travel either. I was in contact with a saleswoman who told me to stay calm because she had time until December 30 of this year to be able to travel to Cubarecalls Mirta.

Days passed and the woman began to suspect. His brother who lives across the street from the branch The friends It’s on Avenida Callao at 1200, he ran across it when he saw they were removing all the furniture. “She approached to ask and they told her they were closing because they were going to work remotely and then the office was not necessary”.

The voucher with the date of return from the trip that the company gave to Mirta.  (Photo: TN and People).
The voucher with the date of return from the trip that the company gave to Mirta. (Photo: TN and People).

From that moment, the contact that Mirta had with the agency was via WhatsApp and email. “December 2021 was approaching and Sabrina, my only contact with the company He blocked my phone and stopped answering my emails. My brother is very saddened by this situation, because he feels responsible. We are all the same because they played with our time, they kept the money and despite the complaints in Consumer Protection and Ministry of Tourism and Sports, no one has given us an answer so far”.

A family trip to the United States that could not be done

nora she was also scammed by the agency Les Amis. Unlike the other victims, she was customer for 10 years and never had a problem. However, in 2019 contracted two trips that he was unable to complete.

The idea was travel in 2020 to the United States with their children, and the same year to Brazil. Together they were seven passengers. For the whole trip He paid US$17,000 in cash. And just like Enrique and Mirta They did not return the money.

The last email Nora sent to the company and got no response.  (Photo: TN and People).
The last email Nora sent to the company and got no response. (Photo: TN and People).

“With the pandemic in between, they rescheduled my trip to July 2020Then for March 2021 and finally for February 2022. But the last email they responded to me was last year. Since then I have no contact with anyone. I only spoke with the one who was my operator who was fired from the company without paying him compensation,” the woman said.

move MiamiNora had rented a van. He got in touch with this company and they told him they had refunded the money. “TO the hotel I rented told me the same thing. That is to say what they kept everything. I have attached the complaint filed by the other victims to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. And now we’re in touch with a criminal lawyershe concluded angrily.

Explanations from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports

NT wanted to contact the company Friends, but no response. He also contacted sources from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports who they defended themselves and said they had received other complaints against this travel agency.

“The Les Amis agency has approximately 40 complaints and all are being processed within the agencies division of the ministry. Complaints are for various reasons, but most are for the Non-return of money for suspended trips and non-provision of contracted services“, they explained.

Ministry authorities summoned company officials, until January of this year they appeared, then they stopped doing so. “They were intimidated, they showed up again and a while ago they stopped responding. There is therefore a file moving forward”.

Finally, they detailed that the next step is the suspension.” If then the agency still does not respond, we proceed to “the permanent cancellation of the license and economic fine”.

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