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Investigation Turns Up Heat on GreatESCAPES

Investigation Turns Up Heat on GreatESCAPES



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Debbie Dujanovic reportingA KSL-5 investigation has unleashed a flood of complaints about a travel club in Murray, and now state investigators are turning up the heat. Thursday night we introduced you to customers who'd paid thousands to join up, but when they couldn't get promised trips or deep discounts, they called Debbie Dujanovic.

We heard from about 50 different consumers Friday, through calls, e-mails and comments on our Web site. They were upset about what happened after they paid thousands to join GreatESCAPES vacation club. As result of our report, the Utah Department of Commerce is putting two investigators on the case.

Dozens of people who contacted KSL sat through the company's sales presentation and say they heard the same kinds of promises we recorded with a hidden camera. Things like, "The biggest benefit is that you get to travel at cost, everything, cruises, condo packages, Disneyland tickets, Lagoon tickets, hotel, airfare, we do everything."

About half a dozen members wrote they're happy with the company and have successfully used their memberships, but the majority say they've had no luck, want out of their contracts and are demanding a refund. They say vacations are tough to book or not available.

They also claim the deep discounts they were promised weren't so deep, or they found better deals on their own. Even the people who managed to take trips report problems.

One person on the KSL comment board described using GreatESCAPES to book a condo in Maui. When they arrived, they discovered there was no reservation and no room at the inn.

State investigators are tracking the complaints consumers are posting at KSL.com. As a result of what we found, and the calls they're getting, they're stepping up their investigation.

Francine Giani, with the Utah Department of Commerce, says, "It's a really big problem. These are consumers who are still on the hook for a really bad deal."

We called GreatESCAPES' headquarters in Florida for a response to these new developments.

The company sent us a statement, saying it is disappointed in the depiction of its company in the story that aired on KSL Thursday night. The company reiterated its original statement, which said: "For 10 years GreatESCAPES has provided quality vacations to Utahns, is responsive to consumer complaints and takes these matters seriously."

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