If you have ever experienced a ride on a hot air balloon, you know it is a pretty spectacular experience that one never forgets. While most hot air balloon companies offer legitimate vouchers, there are some third party vendors that take advantage of customers. One such company is called Soaring Adventures of America.
This company claims to have been in business for 35 years and is based in Connecticut and ran by Rob Wilkinson. Soaring Adventures of America has been scamming victims who viewed this business as a legitimate source for hot air balloon vouchers.
Their website claims that they have an A rating from the Better Business Bureau. When in reality, the BBB has given the company an F rating as they are no longer accredited. This is an example of how they used false information to lure innocent people into their scam in order to make money.
Sadly, people have paid hundreds of dollars for gift certificates from Sky Adventures to use for things like skydiving lessons and hot air balloon vouchers. But they will never get to use them as they are not legitimate gift certificates.
CBS News 8, a San Diego news station, investigated the scam after one of their employees received one of these fake vouchers. Their news team searched Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor and discovered that hundreds of people had fallen prey to the fake vouchers. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection told CBS News 8 that it has gotten many formal complaints, 28 to be exact, against Soaring Adventures.
CBS News 8, who originally broke this story, talked to Deni Barrett, an owner of a legitimate hot air balloon business called Magical Adventure Balloon Rides, about the scheme. He says he used to accept the vouchers from Soaring Adventures, but he stopped taking them after Soaring Adventures stopped reimbursing him. He said, “I think it was a Ponzi scheme. We would accept their tickets, fly their passengers, submit an invoice and they would give us $175 per-person.” Barrett explained that Soaring Adventures owed him around $10,000, and he hired a lawyer. Luckily, he was able to reach a settlement.
The CBS News 8 team from San Diego attempted to contact Soaring Adventures, but they did not hear back from them.
Barrett also said that, “Unfortunately their [customer’s] view is they paid for a balloon ride, and they are not getting it. [So, consumers think] that the entire ballooning community are bad guys, not just the one company that tricked them.” While most hot air balloon companies are legitimate and treat their customers with respect, some third-party vendors like Soaring Adventures of America may take advantage of unknowing victims. Going directly to the source to buy and schedule a hot air balloon ride is the best way to ensure you will not be “taken for a ride.”
Booking your hot air balloon ride directly with SoaringSports.com is the best way to avoid a scam like this. While it is unfortunate that schemes like this happen, they are not common and most hot air balloon companies provide a genuine experience that is authentic, well-run,and are accredited businesses. Customers are in good hands with SoaringSports.com and will be going directly to the source to book a ride. SoaringSports.com will take care of you and keep you from getting “burned” when scheduling a hot air balloon ride. Our gift certificates are flexible as they can be used for two years after the date of purchase and are fully transferrable between people. We are also part of the biggest network of hot air ballooning companies in the country. You won’t have to worry about being able to use one of our vouchers as SoaringSports.com will handle your investment with care.