PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Book-It is an online travel agency headquartered in Panama City Beach.
When the COVID-19 pandemic scare began last month, BookIit employees say they were fired without notice.
Some customers claim Book-It never paid resorts for their rooms, leaving them stranded and still waiting for refunds.
Ingrid Devlin booked a spring break vacation to Cancun, Mexico last month, for herself, her daughter and a friend.
Devlin pre-paid for the trip using Book-It.com.
“I talked to them everything was fine, everything was reconfirmed, I called the hotel to reconfirm directly, everything is fine. And when we checked in on Monday the 16th, everything was fine.” But two days into the vacation, hotel staff told Devlin there was an issue,” said Devlin.
“They said there’s been a problem, all the reservations have been canceled, your airfare, your hotel, your transfers, everything. Something with the travel agency and you need to pay us directly,” said Devlin.
She attempted to call Book-It, but got no response.The phone did not even ring.
“We payed $4,700+ to Book It and they never transferred the money to the hotel. And we had to pay for the hotel directly out-of-pocket an additional $2500 just to get the hotel situated because they negotiated with us,” said Devlin.
When she still couldn’t reach Book-It, Devlin contacted the US Embassy and the Consulate in Mexico.
That’s when she found out she wasn’t the only one having problems. She says other customers were calling the embassy about the same issue. All they could do was share a list of attorneys.
“Our debit card company is telling us that well they charged it back to the company and they have 45 days to respond, but they’re not getting any response,” said Devlin.
Book-It’s Panama City Beach headquarters are not open and their phone line is disconnected.
Immediately after the shutdown, Book-It CEO Bud Finlaw issued a statement admitting the lack of payment, and blamed it on the corona virus crisis.
He also urged customers to contact their credit card company for refunds.
Devlin is going a step further. She’s filed a complaint with the State Attorney General’s Office, urging an investigation.