- Report: #188813
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: Mini Vacations,Inc. - Mini VacationsTravel Agency, MVI Marketing, Diamond Escapes
Mini Vacations,Inc. - Mini VacationsTravel Agency, MVI Marketing, Diamond Escapes3504 Cagmont Dr.,, 401 No. Cattlemen Dr. Mini Vacations-Tampa, Diamond Escapes, Sarasota, Florida United States of America
Mini Vacations,Inc., Mini VacationsTravel Agency, MVI Marketing, Diamond Escapes,Inc, Diamond Escapes Cruises RIPOFF FRAUD LYING ACUTE DECEPTION PROLIFIC DISHONESTY Tampa, Sarasota Florida
*Consumer Suggestion: Diamond Escapes was part of MVI and Tony Graham was an employee
After touring a timeshare in 2005, my husband and I received a certificate for a free cruise through Mini Vacations. My first call was in April 2005; I was told there was no more room, and reminded that the certificate says (in very tiny print) that the free cruise is ?subject to availability? . I was told to call back 9/1/05, when the next ?low? season begins, which I did, at 9:15 a.m.; Mini Vacations opened at 9:00 a.m. I was instructed to send a check for $588 for port taxes & fees for 2 people, which I did, via United States Postal Service Overnight mail, and tracked it on the internet. The check was cashed by Mini Vacations on 9/19/05. a few weeks later, I received a form letter from Mini Vacations, saying there were no more entry-level cabins available, and offering several other land vacations. I explained to Mini Vacations Customer Service that my family was already booked (through another agency) on the Carnival Cruise Ship Miracle, and I needed to be on the same ship, for a family vacation. (Besides, I thought, if they can do this type of ?bait-and-switch?, there were probably additional fees involved with these land vacations.) I was then told to send Mini Vacations an additional $810 for 2 people, for the cruise.
My daughter & I both strongly protested via phone, certified mail, & email to the Tampa BBB, Carnival Cruise Line executives, and Mini Vacations executives. I also requested a refund from Mini Vacations. Meanwhile, I was contacted by Tony Graham who said he was from Diamond Escapes Cruises, and Mini Vacations had contacted him regarding my cruise. Mr. Graham said he could secure the cruise for $875.84, an addition of $287.84 to the $588 deposit that I'd already paid Mini Vacations. I charged the $287.84 to my credit card, and Mr. Graham said he would get the $588 from Mini Vacations. He never mentioned that Diamond Escapes was in any way affiliated with Mini Vacations and was the same company. Shortly afterwards, I received a faxed ?Cruise Full Payment Confirmation? dated 12/06/05 from Mr. Graham. The header on the document said ?Diamond Escapes Cruises, 401 N. Cattlemen Rd.., Suite 200, Sarasota, FL 34232. Phone: 941-552-1977, Fax: 941-552-1999.?
The Full Payment Cruise Confirmation stated that ?Full payment was received on the following reservation? The Invoice number was listed as #2478; also listed were the guest names (myself and my grandson), Carnival Cruise Lines Ship ? Miracle, cruise dates, Carnival reservation number, and a Net Package Price of $875.84. Amount of deposit was listed as $588., final payment received was listed as $287.84 on 11/30/05, and the Form of Payment was listed as Credit Card. The Balance Due was listed $0.00. I noted that the ?Package listed? on the confirmation form was ?MVI CERT?. Shortly afterwards, I received a copy of a letter that Mini Vacations had sent to Tampa BBB, informing them that they had contacted Tony Graham of their Diamond Escapes division to assist in obtaining the cruise. I was extremely surprised and displeased to see that Diamond Escapes was a division of Mini Vacations, since I wanted nothing more to do with Mini Vacations, and had requested a refund. However when I saw the deposit of $588 listed on the confirmation, apparently Mini Vacations had applied the deposit to the cruise, and it was ?paid in full?, as stated on the confirmation.
The plot thickens On 1/15/2006 I received check #0396631 in the mail from Mini Vacations in the amount of $588.00. I wondered how I could receive the amount that the cruise confirmation said was part of the full payment received for the cruise? Businesses often list payments in this way, knowing that the money is coming from a trusted source. This appeared to be case with Diamond Escapes Cruises. As a division of Mini Vacations, they'd listed the cruise as paid in full as they awaited the $588 deposit from Mini Vacations. I still did not know that the companies were one and the same, but now I wondered if the cruise was really paid for, did I still have a reservation, etc.? I called Tony Graham, informed him about the check, and asked if my reservation was still good, since I now had a refund. He said the check was a mistake, and Mini Vacations should have sent it check to him I returned the check with a letter, but kept a copy of the letter and a copy of the front & back of the check.
Thinking the cruise was paid for, I knew nothing else until Tues. 4/11/06, when I came home and found a voicemail message from Carnival Cruise Lines that the final payment for the cruise hadn't been made, and the reservation would be cancelled Thurs. 4/13/06 unless final payment arrived. When I tried to access the Mini Vacations website, it was
I called Carnival Wed. a.m. on 4/12, and was told that an additional $817.00 was due on the cruise! The person with whom I spoke said they had received so many calls from people who said they couldn't contact their travel agency, that Carnival had sent one of their own employees to the actual physical location ? the address ? of Mini Vacations, and found the office closed. Carnival had managed to talk to one ex-Mini Vacations employee who had informed that Mini Vacations was out of business, had closed, and this person knew nothing about anyone's whereabouts. This person also told Carnival that Mini Vacations and Grand Escapes were one and the same company, there was no difference between them!
When I called Tony Graham's phone number 941-552-1977, it was answered by someone named Doug, who now owns a company called Grand Incentives, but still has connections with Mini Vacations ? they have access to Mini Vacations electronic systems with names of Mini Vacations customers. One of the few numbers for Mini Vacations that still worked was 888-269-0182, it was answered by a former Mini Vacations employee as Your Travel Club. He explained to me that this was a new company, and that Doug was one of the Mini Vacations employees that ?came over with us? to Grand Incentives.
Doug informed me that Mini Vacations/aka Grand Escapes, Inc. a/k/a Grand Escapes Cruises had closed as of 2/3/06. He also advised me to contact my bank for a credit for the $287.84 I'd paid via credit card, which I've done, haven't heard yet, will fax them again today, 4/27. Doug said that he would assist in verifying with the bank that I didn't know about the fraudulent charge until 4/11; therefore, I couldn't possibly have reported the incident until then. From the copy I kept of the $588 Mini Vacations check, I noted that it was written against the Mini Vacations Travel Account from the Platinum Bank, which has a branch in Tampa. I've written the Tampa branch, asking who cashed the check, and when, haven't yet received a reply.
I've sent certified letters to Mr. Charles Bronson, Commissioner, and Mr. J. R. Kelly, both of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDAC), and to the Office of the Attorney General. From Mr. Bronson's office, I received no reply, just an envelope containing worthless brochures about preparing for disasters, etc. From Mr. Kelly's office I've also received nothing, haven't heard from the Attorney General's office.
This causes one to wonder if the FDAC is really concerned about the treatment of consumers, many of which aren't Florida residents, but bring much tourist money into Florida. The tourist industry appears to be one of, if not the biggest financial advantage that Florida has. It would seem an absolute necessity to protect this industry by taking much stronger and decisive action against companies who collect peoples' money fraudulently, then suddenly disappear, only to open under a new name. From one of the reports filed on ripoff.com, it appears that Mini Vacations a/k/a MVI a/k/a Diamond Escapes, Inc. a/k/a Diamond Escapes Cruises, has no intention of filing for bankruptcy. This being the case, the responsible members of the company should be called to very grave account for the fraudulent behavior.
Daulina BLOOMFIELD, Connecticut
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/27/2006 06:32 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Mini-VacationsInc-Mini-VacationsTravel-Agency-MVI-Marketing-Diamond-Escapes/Mini-Vacations-Tampa-Diamond-Escapes-Sarasota-Florida-33619-34232/Mini-VacationsInc-Mini-VacationsTravel-Agency-MVI-Marketing-Diamond-EscapesInc-Diam-188813. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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