A local travel agency is facing multiple complaints for offering deals that some are calling too good to be true.
HONOLULU (KITV4) — While vacationing on Oahu a few weeks ago, Laquana Sanders visited travel agency Hawai’i Tour Experts on Kalakaua Avenue. She claimed she was referred to Aloha Hawai’i Tours, and completed a Zoom webinar to learn more about the company’s services.
By the end of the session, Sanders said she paid $199 to become a member with the company. But, she reported she later learned she was unknowingly locked into a contract with Aloha Hawai’i Tours, requiring 18 monthly payments totaling to more than $2,000.
Despite numerous attempts to cancel the membership, Sanders said she was told the sale was final.
“They never answer the phone,” Sanders asserted. “They will respond to the emails, but they don’t call back.”
Sanders said she wants to nix the contract because she argued the company pledged to beat agency Priceline’s deals, but when she tried out Aloha Hawaii’s online booking system, the prices were the same.
“The minute I saw this, I thought it was kind of shady,” Bruce Fisher of Hawai’i Aloha Travel said, adding his company has received about four complaints over the past year from disgruntled customers who mistook his company for Aloha Hawai’i Tours.
With more than two decades in business, Fisher is defending Hawai’i Aloha Travel’s name, and advising visitors.
“I do this every day and I’m always looking for the best deal for my clients and there’s just no way that somebody can say that they’re going to beat Priceline or any of the online travel agencies every time by paying a membership fee,” Fisher said.
There have been six complaints against Aloha Hawai’i Tours on the Better Business Bureau website, with customers claiming they were promised monetary gifts that they haven’t received.
“But they have responded to those complaints,” Roseann Freitas of the BBB said. Some of the grievances state they were invited to attend a Zoom webinar to receive $500.
Aloha Hawai’i Tours’ responses say the gifts take 3-to-5 days to process and they actually have sent them.
“So that is why they still have a B+ rating, because they are responding and as of right now we have not heard that people have not received those gifts once they went through the BBB system,” Freitas added.
One review posted on Hawai’i Aloha Tours’ BBB profile wrote, “My wife and I are members and without a doubt have saved thousands of dollars…if you travel, this is a life changing program.”
A manager onsite Monday told KITV4 company representatives are clear with customers about their conditions beforehand and always address complaints.
Hawaii Tour Experts could not be reached for comment.
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The Kauai Police Department announced on Wednesday night through a press release that officers had arrested four men in connection with the fake jewelry scam.
‘A’ali’i is a reporter with KITV. He was born and raised on the island of Maui and graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.
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