CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - One local couple says their vacation was ruined and they did their best to get their money back. They got the state involved and pleaded their case with their credit card company and banking institutions. They were fortunate to get about 80% of their money back.
Vincent and Monica Alexander say they spent roughly $7,000 for a luxurious vacation on a yacht to visit US Virgin Islands this past summer. This trip was part of travel company’s, Black Travel Movement, Black Yacht Week. Reports show several hundred people participated in this event.
The founder, Reginald Cummings, says he created Black Yacht Week to get a bunch of cool, beautiful, and fun people together and sail to different islands. Alexander says it sounded good and the couple decided to try it out. They do admit there were red flags about a month before they were to set sail. Alexander’s wife was having problems contacting Cummings.
“The communication wasn’t as crisp,” traveler Vincent Alexander said. “He wasn’t as responsive....She often had to keep going back to him requesting some feedback and response.”
The husband and wife talked about their dissatisfaction but decided to continue with the trip.
“We didn’t ignore it,” Alexander said. “We said we are already invested, let’s just give them the benefit of the doubt and let’s go anyway.”
When the couple arrived to set sail for their vacation, they say the yacht was beautiful but after that initial reaction - things quickly went adrift. They claim this was supposed to be an all inclusive vacation. They ordered the food beforehand of what they wanted for the week, but Alexander says on Day One there was trouble.
“Everyone is assigned a hostess and a skipper,” Alexander said. “Our hostess was complaining - because we know she’s providing and preparing the meals for us for the duration of the trip. She was complaining she didn’t have all that she needed...so instead of expecting a full course - well rounded meal, you might end up with just sandwiches with maybe some cold-cuts and lettuce.”
Alexander says also promised was laundry service, housekeeping, and water sports.
“None of those things came to fruition.” Alexander said.
The vacationer says things got so bad because of a lack of necessary food his wife became ill.
“In fact my wife got sick because we did not have enough provisions,” Alexander said. “And she had some dietary restrictions."
When the couple returned they heard other people participating in Black Yacht Week also had a bad experience. Alexander said he and others quickly sent Cummings and detailed e-mail about the promises that weren’t kept and requested a refund.
“He responded initially,” Alexander said. Acknowledging that he received the email - that refunds would be pending. We never received a refund - never received any responses."
Alexander kept on pushing trying to get some on his $7,000 returned.
“I got in touch with the NC Department of Consumer Affairs of which I filed a claim,” Alexander said. “I filed a claim with the Better Business Bureau. My wife filed a claim with her credit card company. We filed a claim with our banking institution in order to seek that refund and reimbursement because we were not hearing from them.”
Published reports show the state is now investigating Cummings and he has been taken to court for allegations of deceptive practices. We reached out to Cummings to get his reaction to Alexander’s claims. We talked to him by phone and when asked about this - he didn’t say much.
“There are multiple lawsuits in federal court,” Black Travel Movement Founder Reginald Cummings said. “And my lawyer and their lawyer are working it out - so I’ll have you talk to him and he’ll give you the information you need.”
Cummings never sent us his lawyer’s information.
We checked the Better Business Bureau and it gives Black Movement Travel an "F". It shows there are at least 20 complaints without resolution.
“At this point honestly,” Alexander said. “I am not looking to punish him. I don’t wish any ill will toward him, but what I do want him to recognize is that people work hard for their money. When they take vacation it is a well thought about investment that they are partaking in, so for you to careless to take advantage of that and ruin the entire vacation experience - quite frankly is unacceptable.”
Alexander is grateful he got most of his money back from credit card companies and the banking institution. He says some people weren’t fortunate to get some money back - they are still waiting on Cummings. Alexander now has a word of advice for future travelers.
“Definitely vet out any persons,” Alexander said. “Any person organization who is the business of doing travel - make sure they are insured. Look at their track record - definitely go and read comments from different travelers.”
If you have concerns about travel companies or any business you can contact the Better Business Bureau by clicking here