Travellers fleeced by failed tour operator

Travellers fleeced by failed tour operator

Visitors examine tour packages at a travel fair last month. (Photo: Apichart Jinakukl)
Visitors examine tour packages at a travel fair last month. (Photo: Apichart Jinakukl)

Customers believed to have paid at least 100 million baht in total to a tour operator they allege did not provide the services promised in package tours to South Korea and Japan have filed a complaint with the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB).

Lawyer Ronnarong Kaewphet on Monday led the complainants to the CIB office to launch legal action against a tour operator based in Nonthaburi's Bang Bua Thong district.

The tour firm recently closed down, leaving some of its customers without promised air tickets and others stranded without accommodation or transport after reaching their destination. 

One of the victims, Santichai Sikul, 51, said he and the 30 people in his tour group visited Japan from March 24 to 29.

The group paid the company 400,000 baht for the trip, but after arriving at their destination found no accommodation or transport had been booked for them. 

The firm's tour leader ended up paying 500,000 baht out of his own pocket to get them rooms and transport. The tour company did not send him the money to cover the bookings and other expenses, Mr Santichai said.

The company also had not paid the tour leader his salary, according to Mr Santichai.

Another complainant, Wimolwan, said she lost 1.198 million baht to the company. She booked and paid for a tour to Japan for herself and six family members from April 9-17. The booking was not honoured and she was unable to contact the tour company.  

She had used the firm's service twice before, and there had been no problem.

Benyapa Boonwattanasitthi, 42, a tour business owner, said her firm was subcontracted by the tour company to arrange accommodation and tours in South Korea for customers. She had prepaid 400,000 baht for the arrangement, and also could not contact the tour company.  

Mr Ronnarong believed more than 100 people, customers of the failed tour company, had been defrauded out of at least 100 million baht in total. 

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