I-Team: Travel agent dashes Girl Scouts' dreams of Disney - KMSP-TV

I-Team: Travel agent dashes Girl Scouts' dreams of Disney

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It's many a child's dream: to visit Disney World.  But, it's even more memorable when you've saved your own money for the trip. In this case, though, the trip to Orlando is memorable for all of the wrong reasons.

The I-Team's Dana Fowle has the story of a travel agent who let a Girl Scout Troop down. The scouts saved money for a year to pay for the trip to the magic kingdom. They got to Florida, but never got in the gate.

Girl Scout Leader Adrienne Mays said, "Last September, we decided as a group, after our fundraisers for cookies and other products, we were going to take the girls to Disney."

For a year, this Forsyth, Ga., Girl Scout troop sold the world famous Girl Scout cookies and other fundraisers to make it to another well-known favorite -- Disney World.  Because they were going to a world-class place, they picked Decatur's Benton Travel Group to plan their trip. It claims "top-notch" service.  

The kids were beside themselves over this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, looking forward to the rides, roller coasters, Mickey, Minnie and, of course, Goofy.

And, e-mails show the parents -- for months -- sending along payments for the $5,800 ($5,790) trip.  

But, the August trip started with a hiccup. The chartered bus booked by Benton Travel was late.

Adrienne said, "He had to pick up other people in Decatur." She said she didn't know about the other people being on the same bus.

This Scout leader says their group of 30 hit the road with Lee Benton, the travel agency's owner, and 20 strangers.  That should have been an omen.  Adrienne Mays says the bus broke down -- the brakes started to smoke -- so they were delayed.

"We were supposed to get there around 1:30 and leave to go to Sea World at 2:30 or so," Adrienne said.

They couldn't go. With a broken down bus, they had no ride; but, at least they were finally at their Kissimmee hotel.  They took at dip in the pool and got a good night's sleep. It turns out they needed it.  Lee Benton had bad news.

Adrienne said, "He was like, ‘Uh, I forgot the tickets.' He forgot the tickets. At home. In Atlanta."

Two days in Florida -- $5,800 later -- and they never made it to Disney World.

The kids said the trip left them feeling "sad"  and "disappointed."

But, this Scout leader and mother says she was angry.  Police were called, who told them to file a lawsuit. So, they did.  It claims Lee Benton "didn't deliver the trip and (even) refuses to refund the money."  

It's not the first time Benton has been sued for taking and keeping money for trips that never happen. But, the clerk says deputies have never been unable to serve any of them.  

The I-Team tried to talk to Lee Benton. He didn't answer.  The Georgia's Consumer Protection Office and the Attorney General's Office both have ordered him to stop violating the Fair Business Practices Act.  The State of Georgia says Benton has ignored them; while still collecting money from these hardworking Scouts.

The Scout leader says they've now realized there is more money that is owed to them by Benton Group Travel, so they'll amend their lawsuit. They're pushing that total up to almost $7,000.

CLICK ON THE VIDEO ABOVE TO SEE DANA'S FULL REPORT!

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