PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Former BookIt.com employees are talking about Tuesday’s abrupt closure and lay-offs.
Ethan Stevens has worked as an IT employee at BookIt.com for almost two years. On Tuesday, he says he was told to set up a speaker system for an announcement from the travel company’s president.
“He says 85% of the employees would be laid off today and then right after that said that everyone should collect their things and head out,” Stevens said.
Stevens said employees also received an email about the closing just before their computers were shut down.
“We have a mortgage to pay and it doesn’t look like there’s legislation that will be passed to help that,” Stevens said.
The sudden closure doesn’t surprise former BookIt.com employee Karen Dockery. She quit the company in January.
“They literally just ganged up on me just to make me feel uncomfortable and not wanted,” Dockery said.
Dockery says she recently saw a concerning post on Facebook about five families that are stuck in Mexico.
“They paid for it, had confirmation they paid for it, but now, the hotel is saying that they owe 4,000 dollars before they can leave because BookIt.com did not pay that,” Dockery said.
Dockery and her husband paid BookIt.com for a trip they planned to take in August. She called BookIt.com but no one answered the phone. Then, she called her hotel.
“I found out that BookIt.com does not pay the resorts until the person goes there so no, they have not paid for my vacation although I paid for it through BookIt.com,” Dockery said. “BookIt.com has not paid for my resort.”
News 13 received an email from another customer already in Mexico, who claims BookIt.com failed to pay for their lodging.
Company officials sent us a statement, saying they suspended regular operations and laid-off their workers as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis.
They did not respond to our question about failing to pay resorts and stranding clients. Dockery is warning others who have paid BookIt.com for future travel.
“Anyone that has a vacation even now with Bookit.com, you better check with your hotel because it is not safe,” Dockery said.