A Chicago area party bus company is facing more accusations that it is stranding customers.
The city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection said the business, XTC Chicago Party Bus, is unlicensed and its vehicles risk being impounded.
“I can’t believe this company still is even allowed to be in business,” said customer Cassie Lach of Lombard.
Lach said she hired XTC Chicago Party Bus in June to help a group of friends celebrate her sister’s bachelorette party.
“She did such a fantastic job for my bachelorette party, I just wanted to do the same for her,” Lach said.
According to Lach, she placed a $400 security deposit on her credit card and later paid the driver $400 in cash for the round-trip ride to Chicago. Her party was transported by party bus to Soldier Field for a summer concert.
“We were just having fun, dancing, we were playing music,” Lach said.
However, the group found itself without a ride home after the concert. They said after walking to the designated pick up spot and waiting for nearly an hour to be picked up, the driver had not arrived. They said they couldn’t get a hold of the driver or the reservations department.
“We were in shock,” bridesmaid Megan Powell said. “We couldn’t believe that this had happened.”
Lach and her friends then hired Uber drivers to pick them up and drive them home.
Lach said she contacted XTC Chicago Party Bus and was emailed by a company representative who said Lach only paid for a one way service.
“I gave the driver $400 cash!” Lach explained in her emailed reply. “$200 one way and $200 the way back!”
The company did not return NBC 5 Investigates’ repeated requests for comment.
XTC Chicago Party Bus is no stranger to controversy. The company has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau and was featured in a February 2014 NBC 5 Investigates report in which a group of passengers said they were stranded outside a popular bar in Rosemont.
Christy Vazquez told NBC 5 Investigates that a payment dispute with XTC Chicago Party Bus kicked off what was supposed to be an evening of fun. She said both sides eventually worked out the disagreement. But when it was time for a ride home, she said the driver did not answer the phone.
“It was supposed to be a fun night for me and it wound up being a very aggravating night where I’m having to find rides home for 22 other people,” Vazquez told us last year.
The company told NBC 5 Investigates that the group demanded multiple stops and threatened the driver. Vazquez denied those claims.
The City of Chicago issued tickets to XTC Chicago Party Bus in late 2013 and early 2014 for not being licensed, for deceptive practices and for consumer fraud. The city also won two default judgments against the company. Administrative court records show XTC Chicago Party Bus owes the city approximately $51,000 as a result of the judgments.
“It’s frightening and it’s dangerous so this company is really putting consumers at great risk and we need to help put a stop to this,” said BACP deputy commissioner Barbara Gressel.
The city said it is interested to hear from other customers who may have similar complaints.
XTC Chicago Party Bus has an active website. The company also lists a business address at a building on South Dearborn in Chicago. But a security official at the building said the company does not occupy an office there.