Some Canadians are now out thousands of dollars after they booked plane tickets with someone who they believed was a real travel agent. However, after paying thousands of dollars these customers never received any of the plane tickets that they had purchased. Now, the woman who claimed to be a travel agent is facing charges under the Ontario's Travel Industry Act.
These charges have come to light after numerous complaints were filed against an alleged travel agent, Libia Guerra Paez. These complaints mostly included large groups of people and families who would pay thousands of dollars for a holiday trip before realizing the last minute that their tickets and bookings did not exist.
CBC showcased one story about a Mississauga woman who booked flights with Guerra for a Christmas vacation to Colombia. With a six-person family, their trip amounted to $5,000, which was paid to Guerra. Yet, when the time of the trip arrived, her bookings did not exist and she was forced to pay $12,000 for last minute bookings.
This is not the only complaint that has been received about Gurrea. Richard Smart, CEO of TICO, the Travel Industry Council of Ontario states that they have received up to thirteen complaints and there are a number of passengers who were affected under each complaint.
Peel Police are now investigating these allegations and Guerra's first court appearance is scheduled for April 4. Guerra faces two Travel Industry Act Charges and could get the maximum penalty of two years in jail with a $50,000 fine.
Smart stated in a quote to CBC that he would not be surprised if more complaints were issued in the future, and he is already aware that the police have more complaints that he has not personally seen.
Yet, victims of this scam are not totally at a loss. Some of those who lost money to Guerra are receiving some compensation.
One family confirms that they have received a 'partial refund' from Visa and their credit card insurance. Yet will not receive the full amount of their purchase any time soon.
However, since Guerra was not a licensed travel agent, TICO is unable to refund those who have been affected. TICO is only are able to refund those who have been affected by a licensed agent.
Source: CBC News