Better Call Behnken: Sarasota travel company shuts doors, leaves customers out thousands for trips

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Legendary Journeys, a Sarasota travel company, abruptly shut its doors after customers paid thousands of dollars for trips that didn’t happen.

The Facebook page of owner Al Ferguson promises that all customers will receive refunds, but that’s not reassuring enough for customers like Joanne and Fred Gonet.

They paid more than $9,300 for a trip that included Munich, Germany, a riverboat cruise and a few days in Paris. The trip was supposed to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary, and they saved money for three years to pay for the trip.

“I feel taken advantage of,” Joanne Gonet said. “I really wonder when they knew they were going under.”

Joanne calls her trip, “a trip of a lifetime.”

“We’ve always wanted to go to Europe, and I’ve always wanted to go to Paris,” Gonet said. “We kept telling everybody, “We’re going to Europe. We have our passports and we’re ready to go.'”

Their dream fell apart. First, the trip was abruptly canceled in September. Then last week, the travel company shut its doors with no warning.

The Gonets paid $9,356 and paid with a check because the company gave them a discount of $200 per person. If they had paid with a credit card, they could now dispute the charges.

“We did get trip insurance, but we booked through Legendary Journeys,” Fred Gonet said.

The Gonets, along with customers from Pinellas County and Sun City Center, called Better Call Behnken worried and furious. The company’s Facebook page shows it was still giving their sales pitch on October 19.

Al Ferguson did not return calls or emails from Better Call Behnken, but he did leave an “open” message on Facebook to his customers, saying no customers will lose money. He blamed the business closure on everything from employee theft, to hurricanes to terrorism.

Better Call Behnken will stay on this story until customers get their money back.

Follow Shannon Behnken on Facebook

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