I-TEAM: Wendy Wong of House of Aloha Hawaii responds to vacation booking allegations

ByMelanie Woodrow via KGO logo
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
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Out thousands of dollars for vacations that were never booked, some Bay Area residents say they want their money back.

MILPITAS, Calif. (KGO) -- Out thousands of dollars for vacations that were never booked, some Bay Area residents say they want their money back from a Hawaiian self-described virtual travel counselor named Wendy Wong. Her business is called House of Aloha Hawaii. Now at least one local police department is investigating and says they'll be referring the case over to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office this week.

RELATED: I-TEAM EXCLUSIVE: Parents of House of Aloha Hawaii travel booker Wendy Wong say Bay Area native took their money too

Sunnyvale resident Nicole Brown and her boyfriend are having a fabulous time in Hawaii now but they say their dream vacation almost didn't happen.

"It was devastating," said Brown.

Brown says she hired Wendy Tenedora Wong in Hawaii to help her book the trip. Wong, who goes by "Wen," came recommended by a family friend.

"I ended up being in contact with her around the end of May, solidifying all of the dates around June 8th and around June 14th was the day I paid her," said Brown.

Shortly before the trip, Brown says she checked her flight and hotel bookings and discovered neither existed.

"I don't know how somebody has the heart and soul to do this," said Brown.

Brown, now out $2,650, had to get together what money she could and re-book her vacation.

On her LinkedIn page, Wong describes herself as a "virtual travel counselor" and on her email signature card writes, "The journey is what it's all about. Being able to create endless adventure and lasting memories for you is my top priority."

The Milpitas Police Department says they've received 13 reports from residents who say they paid Wong, but she didn't actually book their trips.

"Our job is to protect the community regardless if this is a person crime, a theft of your personal property or a theft of money or for a planned vacation or some type of event with your loved ones that you'd hoped on taking," said Lt. John Torrez, Milpitas Police Spokesperson.

Wong hasn't returned ABC7 News I-Team Reporter Melanie Woodrow's calls, but emailed her saying clients have received information on the refund process.

She writes, "My business was family and friend referral based only for the last 3 years and we were doing fine until this mess."

But Wong said nothing about what happened.

Several clients from Northern California to Southern California say Wong owes them thousands.

SoCal resident Dena de los Reyes says she had already landed in Florida last month when Wong messaged her to give her a call.

"She said that my entire trip got cancelled when I switched my flight and that I basically had to re-buy everything over again and she said she would refund me and she never did," said de los Reyes.

She says Wong owes her $7,650 and her sister $3,500.

"I hung up the phone pretty much in shock and I texted her back saying you need to fix this," said de los Reyes.

About that Wong says in her email to Melanie, "...she was in the middle of this as we were trying to figure everything out."

Wong says clients from the end of June on have been affected, but provides no explanation as to why.

"I'm still here doing all I can to fix this," she writes. Wong says "half of the people... have received their funds back via disputes or are in process to receive. "

Already in Florida, de los Reyes had no choice but to pay for a new hotel room and new Disney passes.

"What should have been a magical experience was tears," said de los Reyes.

"What she's doing is not right," she continued.

The Milpitas Police Department says they will refer the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office this week. They would like to hear from any other residents who believe they are victims in this situation and so would we.

You can email Melanie at melanie.woodrow@abc.com or contact her through social media on Twitter at @MelanieWoodrow and Facebook at Melanie Woodrow.

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