Excitement about the New York theater trip came to an abrupt halt when Dr. David Crawford, who was planning this trip, received news that the company they were using is applying for bankruptcy.
Endless Adventures owner Rita Merlo sent Dr. Crawford an e-mail saying, she had applied for a SBC (State Business Capital) loan and thought that would keep her business up and running, but the bank had turned her down. Also, Merlo said, Endless Adventures usually has around 30 tour groups a year, this year she only had 6.
“Now the question is why? Travel is a great career if people travel. Right now people are not traveling. People are not spending on luxuries. People are just not spending their money.” Crawford said.
Along with not being able to attend the trip, students and faculty are faced with the fact that their money is also gone. “We had already paid $1,700 in advance and as of right now we are not getting it back. The lady at the agency basically said that she feels horrible and she is trying to do everything that they can to refund the money, but as of right now there is nothing that they can do,” Lexie Shelton, TJC student who had planned to participate in the trip, said.
Merlo told Crawford in an e-mail that, she felt she would eventually be able to repay anything that cannot be disputed on credit cards. Crawford believes this to be true but knows that it will take some time to pay everyone everything they spent.
The state of California has what is called the Seller of Travel law, which is a fund that will reimburse travelers when something like this happens. Unfortunately, the state of Texas has no such law to back travelers up.
This year, TJC had 13 students and three adults signed up for the trip.
“I’m not surprised because the economic situation is terrible, but I also feel sorry for everyone who will not receive their money back. It’s like a double whammy. They can’t go to New York and they don’t get their money. I would have been very upset,” Lindsay Laperriere, former TJC student who attended the trip in 2006, said.
Crawford asked to speak with the proper channels of TJC and it has been made clear that there is nothing TJC can do about this situation.
“Because of the contract between the individual and Endless Adventures there’s really no intervention with TJC,” Crawford said.
Endless Adventures is located in Sandy, Utah and has been hosting this trip for TJC since 2003.
According to Hope Wallace, owner of a travel agency in Casa Grande, AZ, there are multiple web sites that offer tips and suggestions as to how to avoid situations like these, such as travelsense.org, which offers suggestions on just about anything to do with travel, including how to choose a good travel agent.