Tuesday, June 18 2013, 10:14 AM MDT
Georgia Company Vanishes After Ripping Off Utahns
By Matt Gephardt
Produced by Michelle Poe
Edited by Aaron Colborn
Photography by Matt Michela and Brian Morris
(KUTV) Sherry Royal says she has been ripped off. Sherry paid nearly $400 to 1800SkyRide.com for a gift certificate to take her fiance on a hot air balloon ride but it's a ride that seems destined to never be. When Sherry tries to redeem the gift certificate she is not able to do so. No one ever answers the phone number.
Sherry decided to Get Gephardt to investigate. As we began digging, we quickly learned that she is on a long list of people that have been ripped off by 1800SkyRide.com.
For one short year, Skydive Utah in Tooele, Utah once did business with 1800SkyRide.com.Owner Jack Guthrie says he quickly severed ties with the website after he got numerous complaints from jumpers saying they had been gouged.
“[1800SkyRide.com] would start adding on a bunch of charges, such as a parachute charge, or an airplane charge," Guthrie said.
Bonus charges for a parachute and an airplane! Who has ever heard of skydiving without a parachute or an airplane?
State officials are also well aware of 1800SkyRide.com. Traci Gundersen, Director of the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, says the company has been placed on the Utah Buyer Beware List for not responding to complaints that they took money from Utah consumers and gave nothing in return.
"You're verging into scam territory," Gundersen said. “[1800SkyRide.com] has either disappeared, gone out of business or it's a scam."
In fact, this is not even the first time we have told you about 1800SkyRide.com. In 2005, Mindy Haws called Get Gephardt after she was unable to get her gift certificate from the company honored. In Mindy's case we were able to help her get a refund, but despite numerous calls and emails to 1800SkyRide.com, this time they are not responding. As of just a few weeks ago, the website disappeared from the internet.
The company that ran 1800SkyRide.com is Georgia based Adventure Sports, LLC. Adventure Sports, LLC was forcibly shut down by the state of Georgia a full three months before they took Sherry's money, so there is no longer a company for her to try and go after to get her money back.
Sherry’s story is a good reminder for anybody that buys gift certificates: No matter what the expiration date says, if the company goes out of business you may find yourself with a worthless piece of paper.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)