Friday, December 9, 2022

Texas visitor says Hawaii travel company’s online ‘discount’ was a scam

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – A Hawaii vacationer says she was ripped off by an online travel company and she’s filing complaints.

Laquana Sanders, of Katy, Texas, vacationed with her family in Hawaii for the first time last month.

After purchasing luau tickets from Hawaii Tour Experts, she agreed to watch a zoom presentation for a $40 discount. That’s when the high pressure sales tactics began.

“I gave him my credit card number for $199 and then he said you’re already approved. In my mind, I was approved for what? Like an idiot, I gave him my personal information,” Sanders said.

She quickly signed up for a membership through Aloha Hawaii Tours and Travel after being told she would get better deals than the big online travel sites.

When she returned home, however, she received an unexpected bill for $2,000 over 18 payments, and she could not reach the company. She is now filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the state.

“They deceived me. I got played and what’s so crazy that I work in cybersecurity and that’s how I let these people play me?” Sanders said.

Bruce Fisher, with Hawaii Aloha Travel, is a long-time travel agent in Hawaii with a good reputation.

He’s gotten a handful of calls from people confusing his company with the one that took Sanders’ money. He is trying to spread awareness about buyer beware.

“We’re all swimming in the same pool, and there’s no way anyone can get cheaper prices and guarantee cheaper prices, which these guys are doing,” Fisher said.

“In 22 years of doing business, I don’t know anything like this,” he added.

Roseann Freitas, of the Better Business Bureau, says it’s important to do background research — especially when you’re unfamiliar with a company.

“When they have similar names, it’s very easy to get confused and choose the wrong one,” Freitas said.

An employee at Hawaii Tour Experts told HNN that club memberships for trips are standard, and he insisted the visitor get her money back.

Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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