Sarasota travel agency misses Dec 30 deadline for refunds

A Sarasota travel agency that suddenly closed has not fulfilled its promise of distributing refunds by the end of 2017.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- We first told you about a Sarasota travel agency that unexpectedly shut its doors and left many customers without a cruise and their money.

In October, 10News tracked down the owner to get answers and he promised on camera all passengers would have their money back by December 30.

The assurance you’re giving them is they’re getting a refund? Al Ferguson, owner of Legendary Journeys responded, “Make it clear, Legendary Journeys has the assets to cover it.”

They will get 100% refund? “Yes!” answered Ferguson.

By when?  He replied, “December 30”

Here we are in the new year and passengers like Mike Albano are still waiting for their money back.

“When you say you’re going to receive payment by December 30 and we don’t it’s a lie,” said Albano.

Albano is one of 42 customers from On Top of The World on Clearwater who booked a December cruise on the MSC for 488 dollars through Legendary Journeys.

“A lot of us are on social security and 500 dollars is 500 dollars,” said Albano.

Other customers keeping stopping by the travel agency.

“One day I talked to one of the couples that said they have a cruise and placed a down payment. My dad said I don’t think they’re open anymore. It’s really sad,” said Francesca Scarpino who works in the office next door to the travel agency.

The Better Business Bureau has received 58 complaints, 23 have gone unresolved and it’s given the business an F.

The travel agency’s landlord for the Venice office says they left without notice, owing two months’ rent.

We reached out to Al Ferguson the owner of Legendary Journeys and he replied to us in a very long text. 

Ferguson wrote:

“The closure of Legendary Journeys is now handled through the legal process of attorneys and accountants and the court bankruptcy system.  Any specific questions you have can be handled through the offices of David Steen, P.A., 2901 W Busch Blvd, Tampa  813-251-3000. In general, significant progress has been made in the two months since closure.  We have completed a significant number of credit card refunds and have authorized refunds for every credit card request made. All assets have been organized including real estate, contents, and the sale process is significantly underway. Proceeds of these asset sales will be used for any remaining claims. We have communicated with all passengers with all the current details of where we are. There is a legal claim process that must be followed now and we are following that procedure. This legal process will communicate with each individual claim participant to complete the process. While this entire legal process is slower than we originally expected we have every confidence it will be completed in a timely manner.”

Ferguson says the agency’s assets are ready to be sold and that there’s enough to cover the remaining refunds.

Customers like Albano have no choice but to wait. He said, “But this was deceit and it hurts.”

When Ferguson closed the 20-year-old travel business, he posted an open letter on Facebook. He listed several reasons, including new travel advisories to Cuba and 1.4 million dollars in alleged employee theft of proprietary information.

We called Ferguson’s accountant in Tampa to get a timeframe for when customers can expect a refund but our call wasn’t returned.

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