Your Stories: Parent seeks refund from losing hundreds after school trip cancelled

Local News

LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — School trips have been cancelled left and right because of COVID-19 sweeping our nation and world. However, many are losing deposit money they put down before the pandemic came around.

That’s what happened to Desiree Nicotra, a mother of a Bishop Grimes student.

For her 8th grade son, it was going to be a trip that would have brought history to life. It was an overnight trip to Philadelphia, Pa. and Gettysburg, but became a bust when the trip first was postponed and then shortly after, cancelled.

“My son is pretty bummed, but I mean, I just want an answer,” explained Nicotra.

She’s not getting any of those answers from Bella Tours & Travel, the travel agency Bishop Grimes is using to coordinate this trip.

“I made the $620.00 check out to Bella Tours & Travel and my son brought it in to his history teacher and they turned it in,” said Nicotra.

She handed in that final payment on March 2, but fast forward and she still has not received a refund.

Bella Tours & Travel’s website and Facebook page have been shut down and their phone has also been disconnected.

The principal of Bishop Grimes, Debra Brillante, said the owner of Bella Tour & Travels, Lori Cavelli, told her it was because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I did reach out to the owner’s personal Facebook page, just asking can you let me know what’s going on with the class trip and regarding refund but there’s been no reply,” explained Nicotra.

On a phone call with Principal Brillante, she told NewsChannel 9’s Adrienne Smith the school has been in discussion with the travel agency about COVID-19 changes since April 9 and the last conversation exchanged was June 24, but still no word of any refunds.

$620 is a lot on top of the circumstances right now that are going on in the world. It’s not cheap and it’s not money that you just want to lose and not have an answer to why. I want an answer. A refund would be great, but just an answer and why are you just ignoring everything?

Desiree Nicotra, Parent, Bishop Grimes Student

We’ve reached out to Bella Tours & Travel for comment on many fronts and have not heard back.

The company’s statement after closing reads in part…

We cannot bear the burden of unexpectedly refunding hundreds of thousands of dollars, especially when many of those dollars are in the hands of our vendors.

No monies will be refunded, exchanged or transferred to future tours until we can verify our contractual obligation with each venue for each trip.

Bella Tours & Travel Facebook statement

You can read the full Facebook post below.

If you have a question for the Your Stories team, send us an email at YourStories@localsyr.com.

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For more local news, follow Adrienne Smith on Twitter @AdrienneSmithTV.

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