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Travel agency closes, cancels trips for customers

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) – People are looking for answers after their vacations were suddenly canceled without warning.

Jenny Schlesinger of New York booked her honeymoon trip to French Polynesia through Custom Tahiti Travels, an online-based travel agency headquartered in Cedar Rapids.

The website for Custom Tahiti Travels said the company focuses on trips just to French Polynesia.

Earlier in the week, Schlesinger and others received a notice the company had gone out of business and all travel bookings were being canceled.

The Iowa Secretary of State shows the Custom Tahiti Travels is operated under “T Squared Incorporated” formed in 2013. Upon inspection, the business has no physical offices, only a mailbox inside a UPS facility on 1st Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids.

Schlesinger said her and her fiance invested several thousands of dollars into the trip, and now they are unsure if they will see that money.

KWWL reached out to the law firm representing T Squared. Ron Martin with Day, Rettig and Martin P.C. said this was a case of a business simply failing and being forced to close its doors.

Martin said the company has not filed for bankruptcy, as it does not meet the qualifications for Chapter 7 or Chapter 9 bankruptcy. He said they are working to find a solution to get debts paid off and return some of the money to the customers. However, he said they cannot promise customers will receive any money.

Schlesinger called the entire situation heartbreaking. “We were so much looking forward to it. We thought everything was set and just couldn’t believe a couple days before the wedding that this could happen and suddenly all our hard-earned money was lost.”

Martin said they have gotten nearly 100 calls of situations similar to Schlesinger’s. He said there is never a good time for a business to close, especially a travel agency.

Greg Buelow, Public Information Officer for the Cedar Rapids Police Department, said there is an open investigation against the company, however there is nothing that appears to make this a criminal case. He said it was a valid company through Iowa law and shows no signs of criminal intent.

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Collin Dorsey

Noon & 5 p.m. Anchor

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