Vantage Travel says it’s up for sale, employees say they’re not getting paid

BOSTON — Embattled cruise company Vantage Deluxe World Travel says it’s looking for a new owner.

The Boston-based business has been under fire for months after hundreds of consumers complained about a lack of refunds for cancelled or postponed trips. The company quietly told its employees last week that all trips through Aug. 28 are postponed, according to an internal memo obtained by Consumer Rescue.

“We are currently engaged in sensitive negotiations for a sale of the company. Our primary goal is to obtain the best outcome for our customers. Confidentiality agreements governing our negotiations prevent us from commenting further at this time,” Vantage General Counsel Rossella Mercuri said in an email to Boston 25.

The Mass. Attorney General’s Office says it received at least 793 complaints against Vantage since Jan. 1, 2020, including 156 complaints filed in 2023.

According to a Boston 25 tipster, Vantage employees recently lost their healthcare coverage and are having trouble getting paid. That person sent several internal memos detailing timecard issues and the loss of benefits-provider Insperity.

“No deductions will be made for Medical/Dental/Vision/Transit/FSA/HSA,” a June 8 employee memo said. “We are working on securing alternate benefits and will update once confirmed.”

Consumer Rescue founder Michelle Couch-Friedman said she’s been in contact with Vantage employees who are concerned about their jobs and the way Vantage is conducting business. She said an employee told her workers did not receive their anticipated paychecks Friday.

“They are as distraught as the customers,” Couch-Friedman said. “What I’m hearing are stressed-out employees who are bearing the brunt of whatever’s happening at Vantage.”

Mercuri said the company is paying its employees.

“Vantage has timely paid and will timely pay all amounts due to employees,” she said in a statement.

Mercuri did not respond to a subsequent email with follow-up questions. The AG’s Office said most of the consumer complaints against Vantage come from outside Massachusetts. At least 70 of the complaints are from Bay State residents. An AG spokesperson encourages consumers to file complaints with the Mass. AG’s Office.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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