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Valley widow says travel company 'cruised' off with her money

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DeLaine Pappas recently decided to plan an Egyptian cruise in memory of her husband. (Source: 3TV) DeLaine Pappas recently decided to plan an Egyptian cruise in memory of her husband. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

 
A Valley widow said her trust in a travel agency turned to anger after she says the company took her money and left her without a trip.

It wasn't any old vacation DeLaine Pappas was planning. It was a once-in-a-lifetime cruise to Egypt. But after paying $8,000, it looks like that dream trip is not going to happen.

Choking up and fighting back tears, Pappas said she remembers every vacation she took with her husband while they were married.

"We were married 50 years," she said. "I like to travel a lot. I've been to Greece three times, Portugal, Switzerland, England."

Although they had been to many places around the world, they had one destination on their wish list -- a cruise to Egypt.
   
Pappas said that vacation never happened.
 
"He died four years ago," she said of her husband. "It was four years ago last New Year's Day, and this was money we had put aside to go."

Pappas recently decided to plan that Egyptian cruise in memory of her husband.

"He'd be pleased," she said.

Pappas and a friend found a deal online from a company called Tom Harper Cruises. It advertised Egyptian cruises. But the getaway didn't come cheap.

"The cost was about just under $8,000," Pappas said.

After paying for the entire trip, all $8,000 up front, she got bad news.

"I went to the mailbox and got my mail, and there was a bankruptcy letter," she explained.

It turns out the travel company to which Pappas had handed over $8,000 had gone bankrupt, taking all of her money with it.
  
"It makes me sick," she said.

Finding someone associated with Tom Harper Cruises is next to impossible. Even the company's website has been taken down.
   
There is, however, one glimmer of hope. Pappas purchased travel insurance to protect her in case something happened.
   
3 On Your Side has been in contact with that insurance company. It is looking into whether to pay the claim, but it's still not clear if bankruptcy is a covered item.

For now, Pappas is waiting on pins and needles and vacationing has been put on hold. 

"I doubt I'll go outta the country," she said.

We'll let you know whether the insurance company approves that claim and reimburses Pappas.

In the meantime, it's always a good idea to try and put large purchases on a credit card.  That gives you a little bit of protection in case something goes wrong.

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