Tour company customers could get credits - WFLA News Channel 8

Tour company customers could get credits

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Customers of a bankrupt tour company that closed its doors last month will not get all their money back, an attorney told a room full of creditors at a meeting Wednesday.

Hollywood Tours closed in November, putting a sign the door of its Spring Hill office and filing for Ch. 7 bankruptcy.

Another company is now interested in purchasing the customer list of Hollywood Tours, and giving customers who paid money for trips they did not take a credit to use toward a future trip, said Elena Ketchum, the attorney for the owners of Hollywood Tours.

She said information about that offer and progress in the bankruptcy case will be posted at

When the business closed, dozens of customers had already paid for tours planned for the winter and spring, and some found out about their trips were canceled just hours before they were scheduled to leave. Numerous customers paid with checks instead of credit cards – some said they did so because they the company encouraged them to use checks and said they'd be charged extra for using a credit card.

 "We had a bus and a half of senior citizens from our area," said customer Paula Smith. "Some of them are widows and they do not have the money that they can lose and they save up all year for this trip."

Garrett and Nina Bode bought the business in June, according to their attorney, who spoke to creditors at the meeting in Tampa on Wednesday. The couple put thousands of dollars into the company and tried to find another buyer before closing, she said.

"I don't want anyone to walk away thinking that these individuals did not do their absolute best – they did," Ketchum said.

At the meeting, the Bodes also explained how they used money that was coming in from tour bookings to help keep the business running and the scheduled trips going.

Some customers who had taken trips with the company before it changed hand this summer were upset their checks had been cashed months before their trip – which they say hadn't happened in the past.

After receiving complaints from customers about the way the business closed, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office investigated but a spokeswoman said they found nothing criminal in what had transpired.

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