Local travel company accused of swindling teens

KENS 5 tracked down the owner of a travel business that's accused of taking money from teenagers and failing to book the trips they paid for.

SAN ANTONIO - A San Antonio-area travel company is accused of accepting money from young people across America, then failing to book the trips they paid for.

The business has multiple names, including EB Worldwide and Exhibit Travel, but it's accessed by the public through the website SeniorGradTrips.com.

The site promises "safe, fun-filled vacations with competitive prices," but that's not what some of their customers told KENS 5 they received.

"It was just an awful, awful experience for those students," said Carrie Robertson.

Robertson said seniors at her daughter's school, Foothill High School in Pleasanton, California, became sick after riding buses with no air conditioning in 90-degree weather for seven hours to Disneyland.

The buses, which were hours late, were supposed to be chartered.

As a result, the school canceled its deal with George Barragan for the next year's trip and requested a refund for the $10,000 down payment.

"George promised he would give us our money back and then stopped communicating with me in Nov. 2015 and I have not heard from his since," said Robertson.

"This company is advertising high school graduation trips that involve transportation, hotels and meals. They're asking for that up-front payment. At the last minute, the school shows up and tries to go where their destination is, and, unfortunately, nothing has been booked," said Miguel Segura of the Better Business Bureau.

The website for SeniorGradTrips.com claims the company is headquartered in Selma. However, the address took us to a UPS Store at The Forum.

After trying to get him on the phone for weeks, KENS 5 went to Barragan's house in Cibolo.

No one answered, but as we were leaving, a vehicle pulled up.

A man jumped out and ran as KENS 5 attempted to ask him questions.

The vehicle pulled into a garage and closed the door before anyone else exited.

The Better Business Bureau gave EB Worldwide an "F" rating, and has recorded 17 complaints filed to date.

"We received an influx in complaints within the last two months from customers alleging they paid up-front fees for high school graduation trips, and the business failed to pay their vendors. [This resulted] in last minute cancellations of these trips and for those students," said Segura.

Public records show a civil judgment was awarded to Mark Travel Corporation in 2015 against Barragan and his company for more than $80,000.

In a written statement sent to KENS 5, a representative from The Mark Travel Corporation said:

"Mr. Barragan and Exhibit Tours purchased vacation packages for a total of 92 people for travel to Cancun, Mexico in 2015, the deposit was paid to Funjet, but the remainder was not paid to Funjet. So as not to leave stranded vacationers, Funjet covered the balance and sought recovery in court from Mr. Barragan. At this point, Funjet has not recovered its judgment against him." 

Robertson said she's determined to get her school's money back and wants Barragan to know she won't give up.

"You need to follow through with what you said you were going to do. You need to pay that money back, and you need to not scam people," said Robertson.

The Better Business Bureau said it has not received any complaints from local students or schools at this time.

The BBB encourages you to do your research before sending any money to a company you're not familiar with.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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