For my daughter's 18th bday, I wanted to take her on a balloon ride. I was going to be in Las Vegas on a specific weekend & after calling a couple of companies (sent an inquiry e-mail to D&R Balloons in Las Vegas - no reply at all!), I booked with what I thought was a local LV balloon company under a listing of www.balloonrideslasvegas.com.
The customer service rep was nice & did tell me the "gift certificates" were non-refundable & that if I missed the ride for any reason, especially weather, I could reschedule at any other location. I reside in CA. After taking all of my info, he stated I would be receiving a confirmation e-mail & an informational phone call with details of the ride (location, time, etc.).
Once we hung up, I noticed the charge to my card was IMMEDIATE (by Thrillplanet.com) but no confirmation e-mail. After a couple of hours, I called the same rep (Ty) only to find out that he had noted my e-mail incorrectly. Once I received the e-mail, I noticed that my contact phone number was also noted incorrectly. I couldn't understand this, being that he repeated all my info back to me and seemed he had captured it accurately. Another phone call to Ty was made.
As the date of my daughter's b-day neared, I thought I'd be proactive since I still had not received an informational call & so requested to speak with Ty. After pointing out the inconsistencies with my contact info (which I had already called to correct), he gave the excuse that this was the possible reason why I had not been contacted. He then told me that I was "set to go" & that I should call Doug (pilot) at D&R Balloons Las Vegas. I was annoyed at the fact that I had to deal with this non-communicative person being that when I was searching for balloon ride companies, he was the only one that didn't bother to reply to my inquiry of phone call & e-mail. Didn't he want the business or have the professional courtesy to say he's booked or he got my messages???
Regardless, I called D&R Balloons (this was a couple of days before the day of the flight) and no reply was ever received. I then looked at the website closely (which I actually found two very similar ones with different e-mail addresses & phone numbers for D&R). I grew increasingly suspicious & made it a point to call this Doug person at various times all-day just to see if an actual person EVER picked up the phone. No such luck.
At one point, the machine said I could not leave a message because it was full! I have friends in Vegas & requested that one go to the physical address that they note only to find that it was a Mailboxes, Etc. location!!! I immediately called my bank & filed a fraud report. Luckily my awesome bank was able to credit the funds to my account in no time.
Still wanting to take my daughter on a ride, I contacted another balloon company in LV and a nice gal picked up the phone & assisted in booking a tentative flight for the original date. However, I grew suspicious when she sounded out of breath as she "walked & talked" & I quickly figured the phone # on the website was a cellphone! Also, she strongly stated that she could deliver & meet me to give me the info & arrange payment at my hotel or LV location. Why couldn't I go to their offices????!!!
She sent me an e-mail from an e-mail address that was a charity name (apparently to ward off nosey family members in case the flight was a surprise!). MY @SS!!!! I never followed up with them. I wasn't about to get screwed again. A search on the internet revealed so many complaints & warnings to consumers for these companies. I found a ton of cookie-cutter websites & false "testimonials" for nation-wide sites that all they did was change the city, state of the individual!!! These people are worse than the devil! Evil in its truest form. FRAUD FRAUD FRAUD!! They hope that you go away & don't follow up on getting your money back.
Please beware of 1800skydive, thrillplanet.com, ballonridesinanycity.com, etc.! these people will ruin your special occassion & most importantly,
if you have been the victim, REPORT THEM TO THE AUTHORITIES!!!
los angeles, California