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Attorney General announces agreement to provide restitutiton to customers of Barry Somes and associated businesses
June 2, 2016
AUGUSTA – Attorney General Janet T. Mills announced today that an agreement has been reached to provide restitution to customers of Barry Somes and his associated enterprises when promised services were never provided. The 38 consumers who have already been identified will share in $30,728 in restitution and Somes has agreed to pay restitution to any bona fide future claims arising from his past practice. He is also permanently enjoined from operating similar businesses.
In February the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division filed an Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act complaint against Barry Somes of Cumberland Center. The complaint alleged that Somes operated under numerous business names, including a non-profit, failed to deliver on promised vacation tours after taking advanced payments, failed to make promised donations, and failed to provide refunds to affected consumers.
Somes operated businesses including TourBUSters, Club Impac, among others and a non-profit called Lids For Kids. These entities purported to offer motor coach tours to destinations around the Northeast United States and Canada. Somes also advertised that net profits from the tours would be donated to benefit children; the complaint alleged that that did not happen. Numerous consumers complained that after they made deposits, Somes would contact them saying that the tour had been cancelled. When the consumer requested a refund on their deposit, Somes would attempt to convince the consumer that for various reasons he could not give the refund or charge them a cancellation fee. Somes exhibited this pattern over numerous years, prompting this action from the Attorney General to enjoin him from future similar business ventures. In the last several years the Attorney General’s Office has received dozens of complaints from consumers seeking refunds of deposits paid to Somes.
Through the settlement Somes does not admit to this conduct, but he has agreed to pay restitution and to refrain from any future conduct of the like.
“Mr. Somes took money from many elderly people who were looking forward to what might be their only vacation of the year,” said Attorney General Mills. “He pulled the rug out from under them by not only cancelling their plans, but also failing to provide timely refunds so they could make alternate arrangements. This is not how a reputable business operates. I am happy to have achieved a result that will bring restitution to these consumers and I hope that this serves as a warning to anyone who thinks they can operate a business this way.”
The Maine Office of the Attorney General is interested in hearing from any other consumers who may have had similar dealings with Mr. Somes and may be owed a refund. They are encouraged to contact the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division
State House Station 6 Augusta, ME 04333-0006 Consumer.firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 1-800-436-2131
Attorney General Mills thanked Assistant Attorneys General Linda Conti and Kate Silsby and the staff of the Consumer Protection and Mediation Service for their efforts to bring Mr. Somes to account for these practices.