‘I got played’: Texas visitor says Hawaii travel company’s online ‘discounts’ were a scam

The travel company says the scam is using a similar name.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 4:30 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 16, 2022 at 4:50 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A tourist who vacationed in Hawaii says she got ripped off by an online travel company and she’s filing complaints.

Laquana Sanders, of Katy, Texas, went on vacation with her family in Hawaii for the first time last month.

After buying luau tickets from Hawaii Tour Experts, she agreed to watch a presentation on zoom for a $40 discount. That’s when the high pressure sales tactics began.

“I gave him my credit card number for $199 and then he said you’re already approved. In my mind, I was like approved for what? Like an idiot, I gave him my personal information,” said Sanders.

She quickly signed up for a membership through Aloha Hawaii Tours and Travel after being told she’d get better deals than the big online travel websites.

When she got back home, though, she got an unexpected bill for $2,000 over 18 payments and she couldn’t reach the company. Now she’s filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the state.

“I got scammed. I got played and what is so crazy is I work in cyber security and so I’m like how did I let these people play me?” said Sanders.

Bruce Fisher, with Hawaii Aloha Travel, is a longtime Hawaii travel agent with a good reputation.

He’s gotten a handful of calls from people confusing his company with the one that took Sanders’ money. He’s trying to spread awareness about buyer beware.

“We are all swimming in the same pool and there is no way that somebody can get cheaper prices and guarantee cheaper prices, which is what these guys are doing,” said Fisher.

“In the 22 years of doing business, I know of nothing like this,” he added.

Roseann Freitas, of the Better Business Bureau, says it’s important to do background research ― especially when you are unfamiliar with a company.

“When they have similar names, it’s very easy to get confused and pick the wrong one,’ said Freitas.

A worker at Hawaii Tour Experts told HNN that club memberships for travel are standard and he insisted the visitor got her money back.

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