Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Discovery Tours, a tour company accused of taking money for services it never provided to families and schools across Ohio, including Hudson and Twinsburg.
The lawsuit, filed last Friday, accuses the company of violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act by failing to deliver promised services and operating in a precarious financial situation.
The company has not responded to multiple requests seeking comment.
“We believe Discovery Tours violated consumer protection laws and must be held accountable,” DeWine said in a release. “Families and schools across the state trusted this company, and their trust was betrayed.”
The release states that since May 2, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received over 700 complaints about Discovery Tours, primarily from parents who said they had paid the company hundreds of dollars for a school trip before the company canceled trips and shut down. In some cases, they said their kids had been looking forward to the trip for years or that they had held fundraisers to be able to travel to Washington, D.C. or another location.
Field trips for at least two area school districts — Hudson and Twinsburg — were impacted after communications with Discovery Tours ceased and reservations were canceled in at least one instance.
Hudson City Schools has two upcoming field trips arranged through the Mayfield Village-based Discovery Tours. One trip is to Washington, D.C. May 21-23 for eighth-graders and the other is a fifth-grade trip to Dearborn, Mich. on May 21. About 572 students are registered for both field trips.
District officials have also learned that the Washington, D.C., hotel reservations were canceled, and payments for transportation have not been received by the charter bus companies for either field trip.
In Twinsburg, an R.B. Chamberlin Middle School eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C., scheduled for May 8-10 took place after the Twinsburg Board of Education approved covering up to $125,000 in expenses for the trip.
The release stated an investigation by the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section found the company had continued to accept money from schools and parents when it knew (or should have known) consumers would not receive the promised services.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, seeks an injunction to stop any further violations of Ohio consumer protection laws and an order requiring the company to reimburse affected consumers.
Affected consumers who have not yet filed a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office may do so at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.