CHANTILLY, Va. - Some graduating seniors at Westfield High School in Virginia say they each paid more than a thousand dollars to go on a weeklong trip to the Bahamas. But now, the students tell FOX 5 that the people at the website who were coordinating their trip and collected their money have gone missing.
The students say they found out about the deal to the Caribbean island on the popular website seniorgradtrips.com. The trip is not school sanctioned, but it is apparently a tradition at Westfield for senior students to go to the Bahamas for a week after graduation.
However, this year, this group decided to use a different website to save money. Now they say they are out of their money and much more.
There was no answer when FOX 5 called Senior Grad Trips. We have been trying to reach them since Wednesday after Westfield student Leenah Hegazy says the company scammed her and 21 other seniors out of $1,300 each.
"He would never give out confirmations or anything," she says. "And at that time, I asked him, 'When can I see the plane tickets? When can I see the confirmation?' And he said, 'I have the plane tickets but I don't want to give them to you so you give them to your group and then the flight changes.'"
The 17-year-old says that was the last time she heard back from "George" with Senior Grad Trips.
Her mother also got involved. She sent us text messages asking about the students' tropical getaway, but there was no response.
"I've planned this trip for nine months," said Hegazy. "I have known since my freshman year that I'm going to the Bahamas. And now it's like, 'What happens?' I'm still waiting to get an email from him saying, 'Oh by the way, sorry, we have been in Cancun. Here's your confirmation for stuff.'"
Joey Free is also waiting.
"Our reservations from the resort, Breezes, we were going to go to, they got cancelled, and then we couldn't get in contact with the people at all," the 18-year-old student says. "They just didn't call back or anything. They still haven't called back to this point."
Free says the Senior Grad Trips vacation was scheduled from June 17 through June 24.
"Earlier today, they were posting Instagrams of them with kids, like out on vacation," says Free.
"Technically, you can say it's June 18th, you haven't heard anything from them, they could still come through," said Hegazy. "Well, the thing is that we have multiple groups in different parts of the nation right now saying, 'Oh our trip was June 10th.'"
We discovered Hegazy and Free are not the only ones who feel scammed by Senior Grad Trips. A report on the website Ripoff Report shows a complaint from students at an Arizona high school saying Senior Grad Trips collected $40,000 for a senior trip that reportedly never happened. They were apparently left in the school's parking lot waiting for buses to show up and take them to the airport.
The Better Business Bureau says Senior Grad Trips has a D letter rating, which is the second-lowest rating it assigns. The BBB also told FOX 5 that the company goes by the name EB Worldwide.
To avoid becoming a victim, the Better Business Bureau recommends:
- Use reputable websites
- Get details about your trip in writing
- Use a credit card as payment for additional protection should something go wrong