COLUMBUS, OH (WOIO) - The Summit County Prosecutor's Office is now gathering information and looking into claims against student travel group Discovery Tours. The Attorney General's Office has now created a special form for Discovery Tour complaints too.
Discovery Tours has been identified by multiple school districts in Northeast Ohio for accepting student payments for the purpose of paying for hotels and busing services, but not paying the hotels or bus companies.
Earlier this week, Mentor's Memorial Middle School was set to depart for Washington D.C. on Wednesday. The night before the trip was to leave, the district received news that the hotels were not paid for and the trip could go.
Discovery Tours hasn't returned calls to other concerned schools who booked upcoming trips with their company either.
Twinsburg, Hudson, and North Royalton schools all reported that their hotels were not paid for, and two also noted their bus companies hadn't received payments either.
There are about a dozen school districts in Northeast Ohio who have no idea where the money went that was paid to Discovery Tours. Most of the schools impacted have reached out to other student travel agencies in the area to help keep their trips alive.
Friday afternoon, the Ohio Attorney General's Office released a statement encouraging concerned consumers to file complaints.
"Like many schools and families, we are very concerned about what's happening with Discovery Tours and we want answers. As we gather information, I want Ohioans to know that this is a priority for my office, and we will do everything we can to assist. We want to hear from Ohioans who have used this company" says Attorney General Mike DeWine.
The Attorney General's Office has received nearly 200 complaints against Discovery Tours since Wednesday.
The Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh released a statement Friday too, saying "My office has been in contact with Hudson City School District and Twinsburg City School District concerning the recent issues with school trips booked through Discovery Tours. We are currently gathering information and looking into the matter." Prosecutor Walsh also requested parents with upcoming trips through Discovery Tours to "keep all documents and receipts associated with that purchase."
Attorney General DeWine's Consumer Protection Section is reaching out to potentially affected school districts and gathering information from consumers. Affected consumers are encouraged to file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
Complaints may be filed online on the Ohio Attorney General's website or by calling the Attorney General's Help Center between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 800-282-0515. The office also has created a special complaint form that schools and individuals may use; however, using the special form is not required, and those who have already filed complaints do not need to file again.