I-Team: Travel agent dashes Girl Scouts' dreams of Disney - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

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

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

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!

  • I-Team Story ArchiveMore>>

  • Good Day Atlanta

    Teaching your kids the value of money

    Teaching your kids the value of money

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:22 AM EDT2014-09-15 15:22:34 GMT
    We've all been tempted to buy that extra toy, or give those extra few dollars to our kids to buy something on impulse...but are those the best habits to pass along?
    We've all been tempted to buy that extra toy, or give those extra few dollars to our kids to buy something on impulse...but are those the best habits to pass along?
  • GA Lottery targets shadow winners

    GA Lottery targets shadow winners

    Sunday, September 14 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-09-14 21:30:57 GMT
    The Georgia Lottery tells the Fox 5 I-Team it's launching a full-scale effort to crack down on so-called "shadow winners.
    The Georgia Lottery tells the Fox 5 I-Team it's launching a full-scale effort to crack down on so-called "shadow winners.
  • Graphic video of Forsyth Co. Courthouse shootout

    Graphic video of Forsyth Co. Courthouse shootout

    Thursday, September 11 2014 4:43 PM EDT2014-09-11 20:43:06 GMT
    FOX 5 has an extended clip of the dramatic shootout at the Forsyth County Courthouse.
    FOX 5 has an extended clip of the dramatic shootout at the Forsyth County Courthouse in June.
  • Contact the FOX 5 I-Team

    * denotes required fields

    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for contacting FOX 5.  To reach our newsroom by phone, please call (404) 898-0100.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • Casting Call: September 17

    Casting Call: September 17

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 7:31 AM EDT2014-09-17 11:31:28 GMT
    Check out the Good Day Atlanta Casting Call for the week of September 17.
    Check out the Good Day Atlanta Casting Call for the week of September 17.
  • Good Day Atlanta

    Recipes: A healthy take on Southern favorites

    Recipes: A healthy take on Southern favorites

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:39 PM EDT2014-09-16 16:39:34 GMT
    We challenged chef Curtis Aikens to lighten up two Southern classics, starting with sweet potato pie.Which usually involves a couple of sticks of butter, loads of sugar and buttermilk.
    We challenged chef Curtis Aikens to lighten up two Southern classics, starting with sweet potato pie.Which usually involves a couple of sticks of butter, loads of sugar and buttermilk.
  • FOX Comedies Return To Tuesday Night

    FOX Comedies Return To Tuesday Night

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 9:36 AM EDT2014-09-16 13:36:32 GMT
     Two of the hottest comedies on FOX return Tuesday night, so get ready for some new laughs with old friends!   First up, "New Girl" is
    Two of the hottest comedies on FOX return Tuesday night, so get ready for some new laughs with old friends! First up, "New Girl" is back for a fourth season, and cast members say expect a bit of a "reboot" of the series. What does that mean? Star H
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices