LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - A Daytona Beach woman says she feels cheated after she paid a travel agency that never booked her cruise.
Action 9’s Todd Ulrich found other consumers who had a similar experience and discovered a state investigation into the agency is underway.
Sharon Burlinghaus paid $1,000 for a 7-day cruise to nowhere. She said she never expected to get an email months after paying that the trip was canceled.
“I said to my husband, ‘We just got screwed. We just lost our money and our cruise,’” Burlinghaus said.
In the email, MSC Cruises said her December cruise had been canceled because her travel agent at Legendary Journeys never paid for the tickets.
The agency has eight Florida offices, including one near The Villages.
Burlinghaus could not get any response when she tried to contact the agency.
“There's just a recording on their phone. I tried all their offices,” she said.
Burlinghause and her husband paid $1,000 up front.
Two other families told Action 9 they've lost $1,500 each when their Legendary Journeys cruises were canceled for non-payment.
Online reviews suggest there could be dozens of more complaints on the way.
Action 9 first investigated Legendary Journeys eight years ago over allegations it sold unlicensed cruise insurance.
One couple said they lost $6,000 because the insurance company Legendary Journeys was using had filed for bankruptcy.
“They threw us under the bus is what they did,” Burlinghause said.
Legendary Journeys president Adrian Ferguson posted a response online that blamed employee theft, the hurricanes and Cuba travel changes for the company’s financial problems.
He promised full refunds.
Consumer experts said credit card customers can dispute the charges. Better Business Bureau spokesman Erika Urdaneta said anyone who paid with a check needs to act fast.
“For those who paid cash, their resource is to report to the Florida attorney general and the Division of Consumer Services. You need to get that report out.”
The attorney general has 54 complaints and is investigating the company.
Burlinghaus said the company needs to do the right thing.
“We had a beautiful cruise planned and somebody took our money,” she said.
Legendary Journeys never responded to Ulrich’s questions. The agency sent an email to some customers promising refunds by Dec. 30.
Consumers should send their complaints to the Florida attorney general.
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