My wife and I booked a travel package to Spain and Portugal with the Points of Light's eStore on eBay after we won an auction. We were scheduled to leave later this month for our first real vacation in quite a few years, but it turns out today that "significant financial and operational irregularities" with the third-party vendor have caused a complete shutdown of thousands of travel packages purchased by travelers across the country and around the world. As yet I have been unable to find any stories beyond the organization's press release.
As it stands, we are currently out several thousand dollars with no certainty that any of this will ever be refunded, though the Points of Light folks assure us that they have "created a customer care center to help customers apply for their refunds." This "care center," however, essentially consists of an online form to send off, and we cannot speak with a live human being about the mess into which Points of Light and their vendors have tossed us, just when we had all but packed our Rimowa luggage.
In addition, we also booked a number of non-refundable hotel reservations for which we already paid, so it looks like we will have to scrape up an extra three grand or so in order to purchase new plane tickets for our trip. Otherwise, we'll be eating about five grand, unless the trip insurance we purchased manages to cover this fiasco(doubtful, but one can always hope).
Now, losing a few thousand dollars will not break us, and we can probably still manage to find a way to make this vacation happen if we tap some emergency funds, but I urge everyone reading this post to stay the hell away from the Points of Light Foundation until they get their act together. True, a third party appears to have been the one running a scam, but Points of Light still has the responsibility to monitor what their vendors are doing and to make good on their promises.
And to the sleazy "independent contractor" who has screwed up so many vacations? Better hope a few disenchanted customers and their Louisville Sluggers don't meet up with you in a dark alley, pal.