The flier promised a seemingly spectacular deal.
"Only for the loyal readers of the Chicago Tribune," it said. "An early spring offer from Turkish Airlines."
It went on to describe a nine-day cultural tour of Italy, hitting Rome, Florence and Venice, with a certified English-speaking tour guide.
Jeanine Chyna, who had been looking for such a vacation for her family, jumped at the deal.
She called the 800 number and asked if there were any tours available around Thanksgiving, when her two school-age children would be off most of the week.
In fact there was, with a flight that was scheduled to leave O'Hare International Airport on Wednesday and return eight days later.
On March 16, Chyna booked the trip, paying American European Travel of New York a $1,678 deposit.
With the trip rapidly approaching, Chyna paid the remainder of the bill, $3,914, on Sept. 13.
Everything seemed to be progressing as scheduled. Chyna said her children, one in high school, the other in middle school, were getting excited about the trip.
On Oct. 17, the Libertyville resident received an email from the travel agency.
"Dear clients," it said. "We are sorry to inform you that the departure date November 20th for the Italy tour was canceled."
American European Travel offered several alternative travel dates, including the other three weeks of November, or any departure date in March or April 2014.
Chyna said she immediately called the travel agency and explained that no other dates would work. She had specifically chosen the week of Nov. 20 because her children would only have to miss two days of school.
"They did offer us a trip to Germany that same week," Chyna said. "But I just didn't think that was where the kids really wanted to go, to Dresden and some other World War II sites."
On Oct. 23, Chyna called the travel agency and asked that it refund the $5,592. A representative took her bank account number and promised to wire the money, Chyna said.
When the money hadn't shown up in her bank account five days later, she called American European Travel again. The representative told Chyna the wire transfer didn't go through but the travel agency would try again, she said.
On Nov. 3, Chyna called and gave another representative her bank account information, but again the refund was not processed.
With the $5,592 still missing Nov. 12, Chyna contacted the Problem Solver through his Facebook page.
"I think I've been patient enough with this process," she said. "I hope you can find out who at the Trib endorsed this company and allowed them access to their subscribers. I trusted that this company was pre-qualified by the Chicago Tribune."
Chyna said the trip was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her family, a vacation and Christmas gift rolled into one.