One company is facing charges and another is currently under investigation, after both were found to be in violation of TICO's policies.
Biblical Journeys Canada, based in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Moose Travel East, based in Toronto, both entered business operations without first registering to legally do so.
Moose Travel East
Moose Travel East, an unregistered travel agency operating in Ontario, is currently under investigation by TICO, after it closed its doors without first paying out funds owed to unsuspecting customers.
According to Global News, several customers were told of the company's decision to close down via email, but after that, they were left to their own devices to figure out refunds. Some customers say they had to figure out the bad news for themselves, and that instructions for a refund were never outlined.
Global News reports that the owner's name is Megan Lalancette. The company stopped selling its tours in May 2019.
Ontario Moose Travel is not, and was never listed with TICO.
"Anyone operating from Ontario and selling travel services, meaning accommodations and transportation, needs to be registered with TICO. Unfortunately, sometimes these companies pop up and operate without registration," said Richard Smart, CEO, TICO. "TICO takes these situations very seriously and we have the ability to lay charges when companies operate outside the law."
"We do have a process to investigate allegations of someone acting or holding themselves out as a travel agent without TICO registration. We have the authority to lay charges, and if convicted in court, penalties can include fines of up to $50,000 for individuals, $250,000 for corporations and jail time of up to two years."
The website for Ontario Moose Travel is currently down. TICO is urging those who have booked with Moose Travel to contact them directly to file a formal complaint.
Biblical Journeys Canada
The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) has charged Raed J. Karborani, also known as Raed Shimon-Karborani, and Rose Karborani, operating as Biblical Journeys Canada, with one (1) count each of operating as a travel agent without being registered.
Charges were laid on Friday, June 14, 2019.
It is alleged that Mr. and Mrs. Karborani operate Biblical Journeys Canada from Niagara Falls, Ontario, selling tours to Israel, Jordan, Italy and Greece.
Consumers are cautioned that purchasing travel services from an unregistered operator means consumers give up the consumer protection to which they are entitled. TICO encourages consumers to search its directory to confirm that an operator is registered, prior to booking travel.
Mr. and Mrs. Karborani will appear in court in Welland, Ontario on July 26, 2019.
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