Cumberland tour bus operator agrees to repay customers, quit business

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CUMBERLAND — Consumers of several Falmouth motor coach tour businesses owned by a Cumberland man are due to receive restitution for services that were allegedly promised, but not provided.

State Attorney General Janet Mills in February filed an Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act complaint against Barry Somes, who allegedly took deposits from customers for motor coach tours. But when those tours didn’t happen, he did not issue refunds, according to Mills’ office.

Mills announced June 2 that an agreement had been reached to provide nearly $31,000 in restitution to 38 customers of Somes and his businesses. Somes is also permanently banned from operating businesses of the same kind.

Somes operated businesses called TourBUSters, Lids for Kids, and Club Impac, which offered tours around the northeast U.S. and Canada.

“Somes also advertised that net profits from the tours would be donated to benefit children; the complaint alleges that did not happen,” Mills’ office said.

“Numerous consumers complained that after they made deposits, Somes would contact them saying that the tour had been cancelled,” the AG added. “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.”

The attorney general’s office received 54 complaints from customers seeking refunds of the deposits they paid Somes. He only gave 17 refunds of the total requested, according to Mills’ Feb. 29 complaint, filed in Kennebec County Superior Court.

While Somes did not admit to any misconduct, he has consented to pay the restitution and “refrain from any future conduct of the like,” Mills’ office said June 2.

Other consumers who have had similar dealings with Somes were asked to contact Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, State House Station 6, Augusta, ME, 04333-0006. They can also call (800) 436-2131 or email consumer.mediation@maine.gov.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.