Customers of Flor Caribe Inc. in Tampa say they paid for tickets to Cuba but got nothing in return
5:50 PM, May 30, 2013
6:50 AM, May 31, 2013
TAMPA BAY - Dozens of travelers lined up outside a Tampa travel agency trying to find out why they paid in full for trips to Cuba but have no tickets.
The agency, Flor Caribe Inc., located off West Tampa Bay Boulevard, is closed with a sign posted to the door stating the business is not open. A second note was posted up late Thursday night stating the U.S. Department of Treasury suspended the agency's license.
"My wife she purchased a ticket because she wants to fly to Cuba to see her mother," explained Rick Fuentes, who drive down to Tampa along with his wife from Gainesville on Thursday. "She has been trying to get the ticket since March 19 and this is the day. We didn't get nothing. No visa. No ticket. We came here to see what was going on."
Fuentes told ABC Action News he paid more than $1,700 for the ticket.
"I call here today and the telephone is busy, busy, busy," said Palmira Fuentes.
ABC Action News also tried calling three numbers to the agency. One of the number continuously rang. The two other numbers were disconnected.
"I am thinking the people took the money and go to Cuba maybe," Palmira said.
Also in line trying to get answers was Ledicha Teloin. Teloin said she worked years to save money in order to take a trip to Cuba to see family.
"I work so hard, and for years I don't see my mother in my country," explained Teloin while crying.
Tampa Police were called to the travel agency but told the complaining customers they need to contact a lawyer because this is a civil matter.
"I called the owner of the place and she said, 'She called the person with this agency and he's with the lawyer because he is bankrupt," Teloin told ABC Action News.
Flor Caribe Inc., is not registered with the Better Business Bureau and they are not required to be. However, the BBB has issued the agency an F rating due to four complaints lodged since 2011. All four complaints according to BBB officials are due to failure to deliver services.
Two of the complaints have since been resolved. However, a third complaint BBB officials said went unanswered.
Teloin said she is not sure what is going on with the agency. She told ABC Action News she has used the agency in years past and has had no problems.
Flor Caribe Inc., has been up and running for 16 years.
The note left on the door Thursday night was written in Spanish and translated to English states:
We temporarily have to close the Flor Caribe offices given that the U.S. Department of Treasury suspended our licenses.
We are submitting a claim before a federal judge and we hope to restore our permission to operate in court.
Our office has an exact record of our client's transactions and we are putting forth our best effort to get each case resolved as soon as possible.
Starting next Monday, June 3, we will contact our clients individually.
We are sorry about the inconvenience this may cause and appeal to the mutual trust that we have developed in the 15 years of service to our community.