7 On Your Side

Praying for a travel miracle

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weary traveller waiting for months for refund by religious tour company.

It was a trip the New York schoolteacher had been looking forward to: visiting religious sites in Europe. But the day of the trip arrived and she did not have her ticket or any flight information. But the tour company did have her money.

Anna Maria Lopez cherishes the memories of her trips to European religious sites. So Anna Maria was eagerly anticipating a trip she booked to the Italy and Medjugorje.

Anna Maria had paid the tour company, Catholic Pilgrimage Center, based in Atlanta, Georgia, a total of over $3365. But as the date for departure approached, she still did not have any travel information. "I was really very nervous and frantic," said Anna Maria Lopez. "And I said, something's wrong and they told me, I'll call you back in five minutes. They never called me back."

Anna Maria even called the airlines, to see if she was booked on a flight, but she could find nothing.

"I just broke down," recounted the weary traveller to 7 On Your Side's Tappy Phillips. "I said, oh my God, I'm ripped off. I just got ripped off and I couldn't believe they did that to me."

So we looked into Catholic Pilgrimage Center. They currently have an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida, with 17 outstanding complaints.

When we contacted them about Anna Maria's trip, they said she had paid them too late, even though the check was cashed on July 14 and the trip wasn't until two weeks later. They also told us they were having a "very rough time" and we should "stop asking" them about Anna Maria's situation.

But in the end. After weeks of calls and emails from us, they finally sent Anna Maria a check for the full refund.

"I am very grateful for you and 7 on our side to do this. You don't know, I am so happy that you did this because I don't think I would see this money."

Anna Maria is back teaching school, but hopes to use the money to go on another pilgrimage next summer.

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Story by: Tappy Phillips

Produced by: Steve Livingstone

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