ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN SUES TOUR BUS COMPANY
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against a Melrose Park-based tour bus company for allegedly defrauding a group of hearing impaired students and their families on a trip to tour the Illinois School for the Deaf. The lawsuit also alleges that the company defrauded a transportation business out of almost $100,000 when it failed to provide several buses for use at the Ryder Cup golf tournament in Kentucky.
Madigan’s complaint alleges that Sleepless in the City Bus Service, Inc., and its owner, Richard Lawrence, of Lake Zurich, IL., violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act by accepting money from consumers and then failing to provide the contracted-for transportation services; failing to respond to consumers’ request for refunds; and failing to respond to consumers’ requests in a timely manner.
“Sleepless in the City’s customers paid a lot of money for transportation to take their kids on an important trip. They were taken for a ride but it wasn’t on a bus,” Madigan said. “This company is clearly more interested in pocketing people’s money than in providing the transportation services they claim to offer.”
As alleged in the Attorney General’s complaint, in April 2009, Sleepless in the City contracted with the Illinois Service Resource Center (ISRC) to transport approximately 55 hearing impaired students and their families for the tour of the School for the Deaf. The ISRC paid the company $1,750, the total contract price, in advance.
On the date of the trip, the Sleepless in the City bus failed to show up as scheduled at the Hinsdale Oasis where the students and their families were waiting. The ISRC made numerous phone calls to the bus company, but the bus never came. Finally, after a four-hour wait, the ISRC was forced to hire another bus company to transport the group, at an additional cost of $3,100. Despite two written requests from ISRC, Sleepless in the City has refused to refund the group’s $1,750.
As also alleged in Madigan’s complaint, in July 2008, Sleepless in the City accepted a $132,233 down payment from The Convention Store, a special events company, to provide several buses for use over a five-day period at that year’s Ryder Cup pro golf tournament in Louisville, Kentucky. However, as outlined in the lawsuit, Sleepless in the City failed to provide any buses on one day of the tournament, provided only partial services on the other days, and refused to issue a partial refund of $92,000 when the company requested it.
The Attorney General is asking the court to permanently enjoin the defendants from engaging in the deceptive and unfair acts and practices alleged in the lawsuit. Madigan also is seeking to have the defendants pay restitution to consumers, a civil penalty of $50,000 per defendant, and additional penalties of $50,000 for each act committed with the intent to defraud.
Assistant Attorney General Janice Parker is handling the case for Attorney General Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.