TORONTO – Fraud investigators with Peel Regional Police are probing allegations from high school students in the Greater Toronto Area claiming to have been scammed by a limousine company on their prom night. Students from at least nine high schools are complaining they were left in the lurch after paying Tuxedo Limousines for "a unique, one-of-a-kind, extraordinary experience" in one of the 18 limousines the company claims it has.
With promises of arriving at their prom in superstretch Hummers, BMWs, Jaguars and Porsches, students paid anything from a $500 deposit to the entire rate up front for Tuxedo's services. Then, students say they got picked up in a limousine or tour bus from another company, got only a one-way trip to their prom and were left to find their own way home by foot or by cab.
"What we do is 100% legitimate," says Frank Rousso, one of the owners of Tuxedo Limousines. Rousso, who says he works from his home in Hamilton, concedes some contracts with students have been cancelled, but he says this is because students have, on several occasions, been drinking in the limos and caused damage by putting things like chewing gum in his vehicles' karaoke machines.
Students from the nine high schools in and around the GTA say the company ruined their prom night and deny they were drinking or damaged the vehicles during their one-way trips.
Detective Michael MacDougall with the Peel Regional Police Fraud Bureau says an investigation is in its beginning stages with officers looking into a number of complaints from students and parents.
Two weeks ago, Anil Ram and 45 of his fellow graduating students at John Fraser Secondary School in Mississauga say they were left on the side of the road, in gowns and rented tuxedos waiting for two superstretch Hummers to arrive and chariot them away to their prom.
Everything had been pre-arranged. Ram made the booking in advance at a local mall, handing $2,200 to a woman going by the name of Tanya Krajishnik – the only registered owner of Tuxedo Limousines. When Krajishnik met Ram and accepted payment, Ram said all he got in return was a makeshift receipt, written on a scrap of paper.
Days passed and Ram says he was unable to get Krajishnik or Rousso to meet with him again to give him a proper receipt and a contract.
Then came the phone call minutes before the prom. It was Krajishnik calling to inform Ram the Hummers weren't coming. They'd been in an accident, he says he was told.
"They said a replacement shuttle bus was being sent to pick us up," recalls Ram, 18. Ram was upset, but he calmed down when he says Krajishnik promised him vouchers for a night on the town in the Hummers that could be used on a later date.
Accepting the offer, Ram and his friends boarded a bus that had been dispatched by Pacific Western. They arrived at their prom disappointed and 30 minutes late.
But their nightmare didn't end there, says Shannel, one of Ram's classmates, who asked that her last name not be published. Halfway through supper, the phone rang again. It was Krajishnik, and she had more bad news.
"They called, angry, to say they were not coming to pick us up because they found empty bottles of beer and rum on the bus," says Shannel. "But nobody at all was drinking on the bus. If we had alcohol, all the parents would have seen it when they watched us get on the bus."
The Star could not locate a head office for Tuxedo. Nor could it locate any students who had visited the Hamilton limousine depot.
Source: Toronto Star