Teacher Spends and Loses Own Money on Virtual Game for Students

When Mitzi Fulwood looked at a model of a geodesic dome, she saw the potential of a game for her college students to help them learn principles of engineering and math.

"To create the ultimate geodesic dome game. The virtual game," she said.

So, the college professor used her own money to make her idea reality. 

She went online and connected with a central Florida company called Freelance IT Solutions. The company's owner, Russ Thompson, told her he could make her geodesic dome game for $2,800. 

"It was a lot. For a teacher, that's a lot of money to get nothing," she said.

Mitzi says she allowed to enter into a payment plan. She made two payments totaling $1,146 in summer 2017. 

But she says she didn't receive what she was promised, instead she got excuses for why there was no progress. She says her last email from Thompson was in October. That's when she decided to call NBC 6 Responds for help.

After sending Thompson emails that weren't returned, our team went to the Kissimmee home listed in state records as the company's address. The home's owner said he didn't know how we could connect with Thompson.

But the same day, Thompson responded to an email from us. In that email, he acknowledged our attempts to reach him and said he'd "try to make things right." But Mitzi says she still hasn't heard from him.

That's when she decided to take a different approach to get her money back by challenging the charges on her credit card.

"People dispute credit card charges all the time," said Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst for Creditcards.com.  

He recommends people do what Mitzi did - try to reach a resolution first.

"It's important that people don’t take no for an answer. Be persistent, make notes of who you talk to and make sure that you remember that ultimately you’re the one who cares the most about your money so it’s up to you to keep pressing the issue," he advised.

Schulz recommends disputing a charge in writing within 60 days, but there are exceptions.

Unfortunately, Mitzi wasn't an exception.

Her bank denied her request. 

Still, she's hoping her plan for a came can have a positive outcome.

"I want to believe in people. It's just what I do. I'm a teacher," she said.

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