Blatrip operators detained over refunds

Cheap tour package provider Blatrip faces probe for leaving hundreds of customers in the lurch.

Two operators of Blatrip have been detained for suspected fraud after the unlicensed tour operator failed to refund hundreds of consumers.

The Shanghai Consumer Council had received more than 1,000 complaints about Blatrip, which is known for providing flight and hotel packages at lower prices than other outlets. But it requires customers to pay first before their trips are confirmed.

Many customers complained that their bookings were “unsuccessful” far too often. The cheated customers went to the office of Blatrip, seeking a refund, but found the office empty.

Blatrip claimed its bank account had been frozen because of investigation and could not ensure trips to customers who had already paid for them.

A tourist Iris Liu had over 10,000 yuan (US$1,591) left in her account.

"I wanted to use Blatrip's package to Guangzhou in December, but the booking was canceled immediately," a victim Iris Liu said. The package deal combined three-day hotel stay and return flight tickets costing 998 yuan.

She applied for a refund on December 6, but never got back the money.

"I hoped to get my money back as quickly as possible, but it seems very difficult now," she said.

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