Parent claims travel agent scammed high school students out of senior trip

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The end of a senior year is an exciting time for graduates, especially when it comes time for senior trip.

However, parents should be cautious of someone claiming to be a travel agent.

Sylvia Masters uncovers a scam that robbed an Acadiana parent’s daughter and several other students out of a senior trip.

Nicole Jones, a parent of a local high school senior, said, “They were going to Los Angeles. They were supposed to stay in a mansion and ride around in a limousine. I told them it sounds too good to be true.” 

Jones said the senior class president of her daughter’s class messaged the individual claiming to be a travel agent by the name of “Jay Stay” on Instagram to book a trip.

That’s when the communication turned to text messages.

Jones’ daughter said she and about 15 students met this person at a local library,

“She said, ‘Mom, I paid $30 to speak with somebody about a senior trip’ and I’m like ‘$30 to talk?’ You know, that just doesn’t sound right,” added Jones.

According to Jones, “Jay Stay” asked the students for $260 to book plane tickets.

“The money he told them was going to be $260 for an airplane ticket, and they were like, ‘well, you don’t have our names, you don’t have any information about us for us to give you $260 for an airplane ticket’ so that seemed fishy to my daughter,” explained Jones.

Skeptical, Jones told her daughter to not give any more money to this person.

“He specifically told my daughter that if you are not going to give me the money, then I’m through with y’all. I said do not give (him) any more money,” added Jones. “You’ve already initially paid $30, until we see something in writing.”

Chris Babin, Business Administration Manager with the Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana, said, “The website does look great, however, we can’t find any professional affiliations, no travel agency affiliations, no licensing, no accreditations, or anything registered to the individual or to the business itself.”

“Nothing about this guy seems legitimate,” added Jones.

We did reach out to “Jay Stay,” but have not received a response.

Those seniors who paid the initial fee of $30 have not received it back yet, according to Jones and the Better Business Bureau.

Here are some things you should look for in a Travel Agent/Agency, according to the Better Business Bureau:

·         Takes the time to learn your travel needs, preferences, tastes, budget, and personal limitations such as medical conditions or phobias.

·         Does comparison shopping to find the transportation, accommodations, attractions, and services that will give you the greatest satisfaction at the best price.

·         Keeps abreast of new developments in the travel industry that could benefit you, such as price cuts and special deals on airfares and hotels.

·         Is highly knowledgeable about attractions and local customs at popular destinations and can provide tips that will help you choose among options and keep your trip running smoothly.

          How to Find A Good Travel Agent:

·         When possible, deal with a local travel agent. Take advice from friends and business associates who use an agent they trust and always check business profiles on BBB.org.

·         Visit or call several agencies to find the one that best suits your needs.

·         Consider everything from the appearance of the office to the agent’s willingness to listen and answer questions.

·         Ask about a specific agent’s professional background. For example, what kind of training or education they have had.

·         Contact the American Society of Travel Agents to check if a travel agent you are considering using belongs to this organization.

*If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at smasters@klfy.com.

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Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.