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Thrillant asks couple to pay more for balloon ride

7 On Your Side looks into a balloon ride company that wouldn't honor a couple's certificates until they paid more money.
April 28, 2014 10:37:05 PM PDT
What was supposed to be a romantic balloon adventure in wine country turned into a big headache for a Santa Rosa couple, so they turned to 7 On Your Side.

This ride was a Christmas gift Kyle Lavorgna bought for his girlfriend Melanie Parola as a Christmas gift in 2012. More than a year later, they still hadn't been able to take their balloon ride.

The pretty pictures Kyle Lavorgna saw on Thrillant's website is what he envisioned when he purchased two certificates for a balloon ride over Napa wine country. Unfortunately, Kyle's romantic adventure with his girlfriend Melanie has been grounded for more than a year since he purchased the trip as a Christmas gift back in 2012.

The couple said the trouble started when they tried to book the trip in April of last year and was told they would have to pay an additional $160.

"I paid about $390 initially for the two tickets. So I'm like, 'That's ridiculous. It says on the bottom, they're good for 12 months,'" said Lavorgna.

Parola read the certificate over and couldn't figure out how Thrillant could ask them to pay more. In bold print the two certificates each read "This gift certificate is good for shared balloon ride for one." The fine print said, "Your adventure must be reserved within 12 months of the date of purchase."

She said they were reserving it within four months.

"So they should be good for a whole year. So I was like, 'I got these as a gift. We shouldn't have to pay more,'" said Parola.

Parola said she called Thrillant several times for about six months and that Thrillant would not book a trip unless the couple gave them more money. She says a manager offered to give them a refund. She said she accepted the offer.

"A month goes by, without hearing from them and I get an email saying that they reviewed all of our phone calls and the upper office decided they couldn't give us a refund," said Lavorgna.

The couple complained to the Better Business Bureau, but they say the BBB never got a response from Thrillant. As a last resort, they contacted 7 On Your Side.

"I'd like to say thank you because now we're going to enjoy our hot air balloon ride," said Parola.

They say the company agreed to let them take that ride without paying any additional money.

Parola took pictures and video of their balloon adventure with her iPhone. Judging from the expression on their faces, they had a wonderful time.

Thrillant told us if they make a mistake, they own up to it. But they also say they found it's the consumer who's often at fault. They promised to get back to us with a full explanation. That was two weeks ago. They have not returned our emails or phone calls since.

"I definitely want to say thank you. We made the call within weeks and we had our reservation made, which is great," said Lavorgna.


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