Controversy in Uruguay over a travel agency accused of defrauding its clients

During the previous week, more than 60 people reported to the Uruguayan Ministry of Tourism that they had been scammed by a travel agency called Transhotel.. This company has a single branch located in Montevideo and would have defrauded different people for a figure between USD 300,000 and USD 1 million.

This Monday, the company apologized and claimed to have made progress in solving 90% of the problems generated. To resolve all the cases, they would have requested loans from different institutions, according to Trasnhotel in a statement.

Nevertheless, the victims assured that what the company said is false and is “full of good intentions”, which, for the moment, have not been materialized. From the group they added that “the radio silence” generated by Transhotel is “deafening” and that the company tries to “whiten its image” in the press, but without giving its clients a real answer.

Until now, hundreds of people have reported through social networks that they have been scammed by the same company and there is even a WhatsApp group with between 150 and 180 affected people.

The fraud

The attractiveness of Transhotel for buyers was in the prices, published at 30% below the value of packages and tickets in the domestic market. This practice is known as “dumping” and consists of selling below the normal price, thus eliminating the competition. In this context, many Uruguayans were tempted to choose the Transhotel offer when going on a trip.

When complaints appeared that accused different irregularities in the operation of the company, the Ministry of Tourism carried out an inspection and ordered the owner of Transhotel to appear at the offices of the portfolio. Days later, the business closed, but the owner contacted the ministry and said he was willing to clarify what happened and work on solutions.

The company has been operating for more than 30 years and, as detailed on its website, has worked with 90.7 thousand tourists30.6 thousand trips and 490.5 thousand transfers.

The owner of the company filed a complaint on Monday after losing a checkbook.  Screenshot
The owner of the company filed a complaint on Monday after losing a checkbook. Screenshot


In a statement published this Monday, Transhotel apologized to those affected and showed interest in fulfilling its commitments based on “business responsibility, (…) trying to satisfy the claims that are still pending.”

As highlighted in the statement, 90% of the problems were resolved. As for the rest, they mention that they requested “financial aid and economic assistance from different banking institutions (public and private), from which their concession was advanced, by them”.

“Unfortunately, the disclosure of a group of clients of their discomfort, through different media, as well as on social networks, caused a real “run” of other clients, which, added to the filing of complaints, prevented the granting of the aforementioned economic assistance. This determined that it was naturally making it impossible for us to attend to the understandable claims of some clients,” the statement explains.

Meanwhile, the owner of the company filed a complaint on Monday after losing a checkbook.

Customers’ response

The victims were surprised by the Transhotel statement, which is why they also expressed themselves: “The company has decided to use the press as a means of whitewashing its image, clarifying situations, but to whom it owes us a true response is to us, its clients, and with whom the company has made a commitment.”

In a document released this Tuesday, they assured that they have not seen the “good intentions” that appear in the company’s statement materialize, except for “isolated cases where some money has been returned.” As they say, “it seems light to affirm and speak of percentages.”

“What we express is that, at present, there are victims who, in this month of August, had their trips scheduled and have not yet had a solution,” says the statement written by the victims and ends: “We will continue to fight for our rights in a peaceful, supportive manner, without haste, but without pause. Knowing that months of a lot of negotiation await us and surely very exhausting like everything suffered up to now”.

Keep reading:

They denounced that a Uruguayan travel agency scammed more than 150 people for a millionaire figure

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