Update: SunTrips’ Commission Still ‘Delayed’

Some agents fear the worst

According to several travel agents, tour operator SunTrips has continued to delay payments on agent commissions, and now clients are receiving the brunt of the instability at SunTrips.

“I've heard of clients being walked from hotels because of nonpayment from SunTrips," said Chris Russo, president of Rocky Mountain ASTA. “One agency in particular has a group next week that has been moved three times because the hotels will not accept SunTrips documents.”

The tour operator also canceled operations to Cancun until February, according to an agent.

“SunTrips is refunding all Cancun vacation packages in full,” according to an e-mail recently received at TravelAge West from an agent. “Unfortunately, they are not processing these refunds normally.”

Clients are being told they will have to wait at least three weeks to get a credit card refund and four to six weeks for check payments, according to the agent.

When contacted last month about delayed agent commissions, the company’s general manager said in a statement that the delay was temporary and commission would be processed the week ending Oct. 21.

As of this month, several travel agents have told TravelAge West that they were still waiting on their commissions.

The company’s president recently released a brief statement saying that commissions will be paid once SunTrips changes owners.

“SunTrips is taking the necessary steps to pay travel agent commissions. Once the sale between OneTravel Holdings and Crystal Finance is completed SunTrips will be evaluating commissions and bringing them up-to-date. The sale is expected to be final at the end of November 2005.”

The delayed payments have caused some agents to lose faith in the company.

“This does not feel good,” said Barbara Ann Roby of Marketplace Travel. “We’re not going to believe anything they say now.”


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