MONROE COUNTY, Mich. – A driving school unexpectedly shut down, leaving students without any record of their training and parents out hundreds of dollars in Monroe County.
Parents told Local 4 the last time they saw an instructor was in December, and now they can’t get a hold of anybody.
The business in question is Douglas Driving Academy on Telegraph Road in Monroe County.
Mother, Christina Jordan, says she’s frustrated with the situation.
“I felt like my daughters got ripped off,” said Jordan. “I felt I got ripped off.”
Jordan says the last time she physically saw a representative from the company was last month.
“She (Jordan’s daughter) actually did drive time with them in December,” Jordan said. “That was the last time I physically saw a representative from the company.”
By the new year, Jordan’s 16-year-old daughter had taken the written test and needed the academy to provide a certificate for the family to take to the Secretary of State.
“My daughter just went through almost two months of class and did drive times, and nobody can get ahold of anybody,” Jordan said. “I tried to even call the instructor afterwards, and I sent a text message, she didn’t respond.”
Jordan says she also sent an email, and when they finally drove to the academy’s location, the business’ sign was painted over, and a “For rent” sign was up.
Local 4 did reach out to the landlord; they claim Douglas Driving Academy business owners didn’t pay their last month’s rent. The landlord also claims it was difficult to get ahold of the business to get the key back for the building.
Michigan Department of State (MDOS) received a notice of insurance cancellation Thursday (Jan. 26) afternoon. Without insurance, the business is not in good standing and cannot provide any services.
While there are still many unanswered questions, Better Business Bureau (BBB), Serving Eastern Michigan President and CEO Melanie Duquesnel, says there is some action parents like Jordan can take.
“I’m hoping these people have paid with a credit card saying the service was not fulfilled,” said Duquesnel.
Duquesnel also suggests looking at any signed contract and what it says about a refund.
“You certainly can file with us at the Better Business Bureau, and we can see what influence we can assert,” Duquesnel said.
Parents also have the option to pursue litigation or contact MDOS for the company’s bond information by emailing email@example.com.
For concerns about Driver Education Provider and Instructor Act violations, parents can file a formal complaint.
Duquesnel also advises that regardless of what service you’re buying, make sure you get a contract, save your receipts, look at reviews for the business on multiple websites before committing and pay with a resource that you can possibly reclaim your cash again, like a credit card.
For more information on what to do when a business suddenly closes before you receive what you paid for, click here.