It's always sad to write about the closing of a long standing business, but in October of last year, we wrote ALandChuck.travel – Major LGBT Travel Agency Closing Its Doors For Good? I was going to their monthly mixers, chatting with Mimi Imfurst about possible trips, and my roommates were getting excited to go on their trip to Cuba on a trip planned by the travel company.
Last October we wrote:
If you’ve ever looked for a gay cruise or travel, the name ALandCHUCK has to have come up in a search. With its more recent hosting of the Ru Paul’s Drag Race cruises Drag Stars at Sea, ALandCHUCK.travel seemed to be on top of their game.
On October 24th, last week, we were all shocked to hear that the show, the trips, the cruises, the travel was all over. Al Ferguson (the Al of ALandCHUCK) released on his Facebook page a lengthy statement as to what was going on with his business. He opened the post with:
AN OPEN LETTER ON WHY I AM NO LONGER GOING TO PROVIDE TRAVEL SERVICES
The Facebook post promised his customers that all expenses/charges would be covered and no one would lose a dime because he had the “hard assets to cover their losses" and all would be resolved by December of 2017.
This has not come true and now as the calendar rolls into March the company is being investigated by the state attorney general’s office for consumer fraud.
Lawyers for Al and Chuck’s travel agency, Legendary Journeys, have now filed a legal petition titled an ‘Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors.’ It lists over $3 million in potential claims, which they hope can be satisfied by selling off their assets, including real estate they claim is worth at least two million dollars. When they shut their doors, they had less than $3,000 in their accounts.
The Attorney General’s office already had an open investigation ongoing under the Florida Deceptive and Practices Act when it filed a legal action against the travel agency in December in the Sarasota circuit court.
The attorney general’s office stated that … it had received “at least 140 complaints from consumers regarding Al and Chuck’s business practices during the time period of January 1, 2017, through December 15, 2017,” the date they filed the petition. – southfloridagaynews.com
Over $150,000 of losses have been reported before January 25th, but now, since the consumer alert by the Attorney General's office, the complaints and number of losses have grown.
Unfortunately, for all the creditors and consumers who had been promised refunds by Jan. 1, 2018, Al and Chuck’s instead filed a 50 page petition in Sarasota Circuit Court on January 12 titled an ‘Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors.’
This is essentially a state bankruptcy petition, assigning all the company’s assets to a third party trustee, who garners and gathers up the company’s holdings, and then pays off as many creditors as he can with the monies collected, and to the extent that funds are available to do so. – southfloridagaynews.com
If you have concerns about past bookings and a desire to receive your funds back from ALandChuckTravel, head over to South Florida Gay News.com. Consumers victimized by travel related business can call the OAG fraud hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM or file a complaint at www.MyFloridaLegal.com
Are you one of the travelers out of money? Or are you one of the lucky ones that were able to get the funds back?
My roommates were able to get their funds back through American Express and not through Al and Chuck. I remember when looking to go on a cruise, I was enticed to pay by check for a $100.00 discount. I am grateful I did not book for I would have done it by check and I think I would have been out my funds, too.