Calgary

Victims of Conquest 'vacation disaster' glad to be back in Calgary

More customers of the now-collapsed Conquest Vacations landed in Calgary Sunday night, upset over a "vacation disaster" in Mexico.

More customers of the now-collapsed Conquest Vacations landed in Calgary Sunday night, upset over a "vacation disaster" in Mexico.

The travellers were enjoying a pre-paid, all-inclusive weeklong vacation in Cancun when the tour company shut down on Wednesday.

Nick and Yvonne Romashenko of Calgary said once word about Conquest reached the Oasis Cancun hotel, staff prevented them from entering their room and they were followed by security guards.

"We couldn't go anywhere. We were trapped. We were held hostage. It was unreal," Nick Romashenko said. "It wasn't a holiday. There was too much stress."

The couple said they were forced to pay about $1,000 extra for their hotel bill, but were offered a free one-week stay.

Group 'went ballistic'

Carmen Chase of Winnipeg, who was staying at the same hotel with her mother Valerie Martens of Lethbridge, said a group of Conquest customers "kind of went ballistic" on the hotel.

"It was our first annual mother-daughter trip together, which sort of turned into vacation disaster. We both have really stressful jobs, so we wanted to go somewhere warm in the sun and relax," Chase said. 

"It was handled really poorly. I will never set foot in Mexico again."

Martens said she will need to start working the phones right away to get her money back, but despite the work ahead, touching down in Calgary was a relief.

"It felt so good to land here today," she said.

Vacationers at other hotels in Mexico had similar tales of ugly confrontations with hotel staff over their bills.

Some refunds possible

Travellers in Ontario can claim a refund from a special fund that was created for their protection.

While there is no such fund in Alberta, the province does offer protection for people who paid for their vacations with a credit card.

"Anyone who has paid with a credit card for a service or goods and they don't receive that, they can simply — within 30 days of not receiving what they paid for — write to the company and cancel the contract and the company is required to give them their money back," said Cam Traynor, a spokesman for Service Alberta. "If the company doesn't, then their credit card company is required to give them their money back."

Traynor added that people who booked their trip online may be able to get reimbursed through a provincial regulation covering internet sales. Travellers can reach the the province's Consumer Contact Centre at 1-877-427-4088.

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