DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Customers are encountering trouble recovering refunds from a company that went out of business during the pandemic.
Kimball High School’s Class of 1995 had planned to hold its 25-year reunion at a resort in Mexico.
Juanzie Edwards-Carter and five classmates made reservations through the online travel site, Bookit.com.
But instead of relaxing in Cancun, Edwards-Carter is in Cedar Hill, dodging the coronavirus.
“I would like our money back. Not just for me, but my classmates as well,” said Edwards-Carter, a mother of four who works two jobs. “And we all work extremely hard.”
By the time Bookit.com informed Edwards-Carter that the trip had been cancelled due to the coronavirus, she had already paid $1,100 to the company.
She had authorized Bookit.com to withdraw funds from her bank account as part of a payment installment plan.
It appears Bookit.com went out of business during the pandemic, leaving Edwards-Carter out of luck.
Edwards-Carter said because she authorized the withdrawals, her bank refused to credit the funds.
Now, customers from Cedar Hill to Chicago are also demanding refunds.
More than 2,000 consumers have even banded together in a Facebook group to share strategies on how to get their money back.
“No one’s answering the phone or emails or anything like that,” said Tammy Ward, the spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau of Northwest Florida.
Bookit.com is based in Panama City, Fla. The BBB has received 149 complaints, some of which predate COVID-19.
On March 19, the BBB issued an advisory after receiving multiple complaints that Bookit.com had ceased operations.
In a letter to the BBB, the company claimed it had only “paused” operations and it was unable to provide refunds.
“As we are currently unable to process refunds to you, please contact your bank for options available to you as a cardholder,” the email stated.
“We have received more than 600 complaints this year,” said Kylie Mason, a spokeswoman for the AG’s office. “As our investigation is active and ongoing, we cannot comment further at this time.”
So what do you do when the company you paid no longer exists?
First, dispute the charge with your credit card company. That may be the quickest way to get your money back.
If you paid with cash, you have fewer options.
You can file a complaint with your local Better Business Bureau or your state’s Attorney General Office.
If the AG decides to pursue a case, the office could help consumers recoup their losses.
“The more complaints that come in, the stronger the case is, as well,” Ward said.
It will take more than a pandemic to rattle the Class of ’95. But Edwards-Carter said a refund would go a long way, especially now.
“That’s not the way you do business or earn business, even if they were to reopen,” Edwards-Carter said. “Your credibility has been shattered now.”
Bookit.com did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.