Travel agency's trail of broken promises stretches from coast to coast

Travel agency's trail of broken promises stretches from coast to coast
They offer champagne travel on a beer budget.

A company called Suncoast Travel says they'll get you the best prices on luxury vacations, hands down. They'll even throw in free airline tickets if you'll just listen to their pitch.

But the Problem Solvers discovered a trail of broken promises and unhappy customers from coast to coast. The promise -- exclusive and unbeatable travel deals to exotic locations.

We went undercover at a local hotel to hear the sales pitch first hand. A saleswoman from the Florida company offered five-star travel.

"At Motel-6 prices is what they said," said Rick Young, who recently attended a Suncoast seminar in Seattle.

How did Suncoast get Young and others in the door?

"I got a postcard," said one local man we talked to. He told us he was promised two free round-trip plane tickets to anywhere in the United States. The man says the postcard looked legitimate.

"It has airline logos on it, and it has Continental, United and Delta Airlines on it," he said.

The free offer has drawn thousands to Suncoast seminars all over the country. But a Problem Solvers search of the Internet found a slew of dissatisfied customers.

Suncoast convinced Young to shell out $3,000 for cheap luxury travel for life.

"They were friendly and comical and put on a nice show, you know?" said Kathy Snead. "They told us they had around-the-clock customer service."

Snead and her boyfriend Mike Webb fell for the Suncoast sales pitch at a seminar near Portland. They paid more than $6,000 on Suncoast's promise of cut-rate vacations for the rest of their lives.

Webb says the deals sounded pretty good.

"You know, 500 bucks for eight days in Hawaii," he said.

"It was for cruises, airfare, rental cars. It was supposed to be for everything" said Snead.

They paid their money, but customers who fell for the pitch say they soon learned they were going nowhere. Every time they tried to book a room, they found nothing.

After shelling out $3,000, Young says he discovered Suncoast's deals were no better than he could find on popular travel Web sites.

He called customer service to complain.

"I said 'I'm not finding any deals. Can you show me where there's a deal that I can't find on line?' And the woman on the phone said 'well, no, I can't."'

Webb and Snead tried to book a trip to Miami for any days in March or April.

The couple says Suncoast claimed they couldn't find a single condo anywhere.

Documents filed with the Florida Secretary of State's office list 26-year-old Nick Congelton as the owner of the company, which goes by the name of Suncoast Incentives in that state.

Congelton denies any wrongdoing by the company.

"If the company was doing something wrong, do you think they'd be in business?" he said.

Yet the Problem Solvers have learned Suncoast has racked up 142 consumer complaints in the state of Florida since 2005.

No complaints have been filed in Washington. But the Oregon Attorney General's Office is investigating 22 complaints.

Congelton blames his customers.

"Somebody could be giving out free steaks by the side of the road and somebody would moan and groan that the steaks were not filet. It doesn't matter, you can't make everyone happy," he said.

But we couldn't find anyone who was happy with Suncoast.

Webb, Snead and Young insist the company has only taken their money and given them nothing in return.

Yet despite the broken promises and hundreds of complaints from Florida to Oregon, the Problem Solvers have learned not a single charge has been filed against Suncoast or its owners.