What do we know about the “travel scam” that around thirty families complain about?

A tour for two to New York, one journey with the family in Dubai, or even a visit to Disneyland… So many promises of stays never fulfilled and still paid for by the bucketload by around thirty families with the “Big Heart” association of northern neighborhoods in Marseilleidentified Provence. Complaints were filed and sectoral deputy Sébastien Delogu (LFI) made a report to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and contributed to publicizing the case. Destinations, process, testimony… 20 minutes takes stock of this “travel scam”.

What is the problem ?

Paying for a service that is not provided is the same asfraud or thefraud. Trips, to Dubai, New York, Disneyland, Bali, ski resorts or even in the form of cruises, were offered at very attractive prices but not implemented, or at least in one case, in a fragmented manner. And no refund was provided. According to witnesses, the process was often the same, once the stay was paid, the supplier took a while to send the documents before indicating that they had a problem with their intermediary and continued to save time, citing health or family concerns.

Around thirty a priori victim families have now expressed themselves, organized as a collective, and explain that they filed complaints due to events observed between July and December.

Who are the victims and how did they recognize themselves?

It was first by testifying individually about their misadventures on Facebook in various groups in Marseille that the victims began to recognize each other: “I simply saw on Facebook that someone had had the same problem as me and I commented on their post and pointed it out. for him”, explains Sabrina. Married to Lionel since 2005, Sabrina has always looked forward to this stay in New York, sold for 2,060 euros for two people from December 22nd to January 1st, with flights, hotels and breakfast included. “Since we got married, we have never been able to travel. We were waiting for the kids to grow up.”

Now there are around thirty of them, saving similar stories and organizing themselves in a WhatsApp thread. The victims estimate the total damage at between 40 thousand and 45 thousand euros. With media coverage of their stories, they hope to see other people come forward.

What is this “agency” that sells trips?

The complaining families resorted to “the services” of the “Grand Coeur” association, represented by Fátima A, which has remained inaccessible to this day. She promoted her trips mainly on Facebook, seemed to have a good reputation and inspired confidence. “It’s an association from the 13th arrondissement, where I grew up,” says Sabrina, who now lives in the 11th. “My sisters and brothers went to college with her, she was elected to represent the residents of the social landlord Habitat 13.” So many reasons not to see such a disappointment coming.

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