When you prepay for a service, you expect it to be performed. But a lack of service put a damper on Lorraine Stephany’s two-week Florida vacation.
It started when she booked transportation from Orlando to Port St. Lucie, Fla., via Florida Shuttle Transportation.
“A reservation was requested and confirmed via email,” Stephany says. “The cost was $55 plus $14 for a house pickup.”
Sounds like a simple plan, but sometimes in travel, even the simplest of plans can go haywire. Her story illustrates the importance of research — and persistence.
Just before the scheduled pickup time, Stephany called the company and left a voicemail message to confirm the ride. She called again when the driver wasn’t there at pickup time. A representative answered this call and said there was a mixup and that the shuttle had left from a local gas station and wasn’t informed to do a house pickup.
The representative added that another driver named Mindy would be available to pick her up within the hour. Stephany called Mindy twice, left her messages, but did not get a return call, and Mindy did not show.
Stephany then called back the office, and the representative told her that Mindy was not told to pick up at the house and reported Stephany as a no-show. (I’m beginning to sense a pattern.)
The Florida Shuttle representative told Stephany the next available shuttle would be early the next morning and that she should go to the gas station for pickup. Stephany arrived early that day, but when she called the driver to confirm the pickup, he told her (no shock!) there was no pickup scheduled for that morning and that she was rescheduled for that afternoon.
The driver even said he would text Stephany the phone number of the new driver. And the driver did indeed send Stephany a text. It read “NO SHUTTLE to Port St Lucie today.”
Stephany then called back the main number and spoke to a representative who was apologetic, polite and professional and said that this should not have happened.
Nevertheless, Stephany decided she had had enough, rented a car from Enterprise, and drove herself to Port St. Lucie, which is about 120 miles away. She paid $112 for the rental.
Stephany, at the very least, would like to be compensated the $69 she prepaid for a home pickup that never showed. She also is requesting that Florida Shuttle cover her $112 bill from Enterprise.
Stephany sent several emails to Florida Shuttle Transportation, but no one ever got back to her.
After giving up on getting a refund herself, Stephany reached out to our advocates, who attempted several times to reach out to Florida Shuttle on her behalf. Unfortunately, our email pleas were met with deaf ears by the transportation company’s representatives.
I was amazed at the lack of professionalism shown by Florida Shuttle Transportation. But I wasn’t surprised, based on how poorly the company handled Stephany’s pickup.
Our advocates suggested to Stephany that she should have researched the company better before booking in the first place. A quick Google search brought up poor reviews of Florida Shuttle on both Yelp and TripAdvisor.
We highly recommend that consumers always research the companies with whom they are doing business. This information is merely an internet search away.
Our advocates suggested that Stephany try to file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s office, and that perhaps the company would respond to a government authority.
Stephany has one more weapon at her disposal — her prepayment was made by credit card. Normally, we advise consumers to use credit card chargebacks as a last resort — and in this case, it definitely is.
I hope Stephany gets satisfaction from her credit card company in the form of a refund for her prepayment to Florida Shuttle. Unfortunately, our advocates had to file this as a Case Dismissed.