Public agencies seek information on Discovery Tours’ cancellations

May 4, 2018 GMT

Public agencies seek information on Discovery Tours’ cancellations

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office has been inundated with more than 180 complaints from people around Ohio who prepaid for student tours that never materialized.

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh took the lead among local officials on the issue Friday, issuing a statement that “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.”

She advised parents who paid for trips through Discovery Tours to keep all documents and receipts associated with the purchases.

The issue arose this week when more than 500 Mentor eighth-graders were told Tuesday, on the eve of a three-day trip to Washington, D.C., that Discovery Tours of Mayfield Village had cancelled it.

That led parents and officials in other school districts with scheduled trips to call Discovery with their concerns, but none have made contact or received a response from the vendor.

Some districts moved to make other plans or began examining options. Some simply switched to other tour operators. Among those was Chagrin Falls Middle School, which is planning a trip to Washington D.C.

Mentor families paid a combined $232,505 or $455 per student, and they accounted for most of the complaints that DeWine received. Others originated in Hamilton, Franklin, Delaware and Union Counties.

In a news release Friday, DeWine pledged that the issue “is a priority for my office.”

He said the complaints have been flowing into his office’s Consumer Protection Section since Wednesday evening, and he encouraged other families and school districts to contact his office. Complaints can be filed online on the Ohio Attorney General’s website or by calling between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 800-282-0515.

Mentor schools provided The Plain Dealer with a copy of the information packet put together by Discovery Tours.

It includes provisions for travel insurance covering the specific trip to Washington.

A spokeswoman for Mentor Schools said Friday that principals of the three middle schools believe most parents did not buy the insurance.

Lake County Prosecutor Charles Coulson said Friday that his office has received no complaints about the tour cancellation.