Two sisters from Sittingbourne have been left in the lurch after fearing they have lost a £5,000 Spanish holiday villa in a scam.
Mums Petra and Sam Deleslie were looking forward to a dream break in Alicante.
But their plans have turned into a nightmare.
Petra, 42, a healthcare worker for the NHS, booked a month’s stay in a luxury villa in Moraira, a town on the Costa Blanca and paid by bank transfer.
But now company Digital Dreams SL won’t answer her phone calls, emails or demands for a refund.
Petra, a mum-of-two from Cryalls Lane, Borden, said: “We wanted to have a large family holiday together in September.
"There would have been up to 18 of us including my brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews.
"It would have been our first holiday since we lost our mum. I wanted to say thank-you to everyone."
She warned: “I want others to be aware of what could happen and triple-check everything.
"At least we weren’t out there when we discovered problems like one unlucky family but we are all very gutted.
"The younger ones had been super excited. It has been a huge disappointment.”
She says the family have lost the villa and they are now trying to get their money back from the flights.
Petra has reported her case to Action Fraud, which is investigating and has also made her bank’s international fraud unit aware.
She urges others to check the company they use are reputable or suggests only using travel agents.
Petra booked in April via the Digital Dreams SL website, and paid £5,000 up front.
She said: “At first, all was fine. I had correspondence back confirming the booking. Then it went quiet.
"That was fine because I didn’t expect anything back.
"Then my daughter’s boyfriend sent me a link to a KentOnline story about a family affected by the same company. So I rang my bank straight away.
“They said there wasn’t anything they could do unless I could prove I had been scammed.
"I emailed the company but it said there was nothing to worry about and offered a full refund.
“I asked for the money back but haven’t heard anything since.
"I’ve tried emailing and ringing the number but it just cuts off.”
Dreamvillasspain.com, operated by Digital Dreams SL, did not respond to KentOnline requests for comment.
Petra said: “Because it was done through a bank transfer the chances of getting the money back are next to nothing.
“It is sickening that people can do this.
“It’s not just about the money. It’s also the loss of an opportunity to make memories.
"Some of the children have not been on a holiday abroad before.”
The company’s website, which is still live, is offering 711 villas and boasts it can "create your dream holiday experience and exceed your expectations" and "deliver your most memorable holiday yet".
A quick search unearths many warnings on the internet about the company.
It is not a member of ABTA, the Association of British Travel Agents and is not listed at Companies House.