Thursday, October 3 2013, 12:10 AM MDT
Travel Agent Seemingly Disappears with Ute Fans' Money
(KUTV) There were some nervous University of Utah football fans Wednesday night and it had nothing to do with the upcoming came versus the Bruins of UCLA. A Magna couple decided to Get Gephardt after she paid a travel agent to get her to a Ute game next year, but then the company has seemingly disappeared.
This particular travel agent, Red Zone Travel, boasted that they were the official travel agent of Utah athletics and even had a spot at a University of Utah Crimson Club organized event called Fan Fest. It was at Fan Fest where Valerie Yeates and her husband first met Red Zone Travel. Considering the agent seemed to have the backing of the Crimson Club, the assumed booking a trip to see the Utes play at the University of Michigan in 2014 would be safe.
Over several months, the couple paid $1255 of the roughly $3000 bill they owed to Red Zone Travel. Everything seemed fine until their latest payment was not taken by Red Zone Travel. Valerie says she has repeatedly called to ask why, and confirm their reservation, but now no one from Red Zone Travel will call her back.
"It's very frustrating," she said. "Nobody will call me back. I've called. I've got phone number after phone number and have called many times."
Not knowing where to turn for her trip or at the very least a refund, Valerie asked Get Gephardt to investigate.
A search for the company online turned up empty. Their company web page no longer exists. Calling the phone number for the company now will not even let callers leave a message. The phone number is no longer in service.
So, Get Gephardt called the Crimson Club. The club says they're not officially affiliated with Red Zone Travel. They merely allowed Red Zone Travel representatives to promote their business at the Fan Fest. They did, however, have a phone number to one of the company owners, Justin Woodland.
Woodland declined an on camera interview but said his company's trip to Michigan had been cancelled. He also promised that he would be reaching out to Valerie.
Just like that, Valerie says she did finally hear from Red Zone Travel. She says she has been promised that she will eventually be made whole, either with a refund or with a trip to Michigan to see the Utes.
Woodland has stopped returning calls from Get Gephardt but when we spoke to him a week ago he said everyone who had paid for the trip to see the Utes play in Michigan would be getting a refund.
Valerie tells Get Gephardt that Woodland questioned why she would call a TV station rather than call him on his call phone, a number she did not have and knew no way to get.
By Matt Gephardt
Produced by Stephanie Clemens
Edited by Ryan Malavolta
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)