Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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Warning About Travel Clubs Making Misleading Offers

February 8, 2000

Attorney General Hardy Myers today warned Oregonians about travel clubs that make misleading offers of "fabulous vacations at tremendous savings." Myers made the announcement as his office filed four agreements with out-of-state travel companies in Marion County Circuit Court.

Named in the Assurances of Voluntary Compliance are National Travel Services, Inc., a Nevada corporation; Plaza Resorts, Inc., a Florida corporation that does business as Ramada Plaza Resorts; Florida Travel Network, Inc.,a Florida corporation; and Crown Plaza Resorts, a Florida corporation that does business as Imperial Majesty Cruise Lines. The agreements, which do not admit any law violations, also name the owners of the four companies.

"These companies used television personality Robin Leach to lure Oregon consumers into purchasing what they thought were 'dream vacations',"Myers said. "Unfortunately, the promises of 'world-class' Florida vacations and cruises to the Bahamas were broken. Consumers paid exorbitant prices for standard vacations that included lengthy, high-pressure time-share presentations."

Department of Justice investigators determined that consumers paid up to $1,000 for seven-day, substandard vacations. In some cases, a promised three-day, bonus cruise amounted to a one-day ferry ride and a game of "Las Vegas style" bingo. In other cases, consumers were told that they had "won" the opportunity to go on the vacations, and only found out later that they would have to pay $1,000 for the honor.

The Oregon Department of Justice joined 16 other Attorneys General in filing the agreements. Under the terms of the agreements, consumers who purchased packages from National Travel Services, Ramada Plaza Resorts, Florida Travel Network, or Crown Plaza Resorts and have not yet taken their vacation have 60 days to request a full refund.

Consumers who already have traveled and have already filed complaints with the Oregon Attorney General's office or the Portland branch of the Better Business Bureau are eligible to recover up to $200. Oregonians who have traveled but have not filed complaints with the Department of Justice or the Better Business Bureau must file complaints by March 8 stating why they were dissatisfied to be eligible to receive up to $200 in refunds.

In addition to providing refunds, the companies agree to refrain from violating the Oregon consumer protection laws and to pay a combined $40,000 to the Department's consumer education fund. Attorney General Myers urges consumers to take the following precautions when purchasing travel services:

  • Use established and reliable travel agents. Determine if travel agents are members of the American Society of Travel Agents and call the Attorney General's hotline and the Better Business Bureau to check for complaints.
  • Do not be pressured into rash decisions. Legitimate businesses will give consumers time to make up their minds.
  • Ask for the names of all hotels, airlines, car rental agencies and restaurants that will be used on the trip and confirm all reservations in advance of departing on the trip.
  • Demand to know exactly when airline tickets will be delivered-untimely delivery of tickets and boarding passes leads to problems.
  • Do not provide credit card numbers or bank account information to telemarketers offering travel packages. When in doubt, tell the caller to take your name off the company's mailing list, indicate that you do not want to be contacted in the future and hang up.
  • When purchasing travel packages, use a credit card so that "chargebacks" can be pursued if the services are not received or delivered as originally represented.
  • Keep an eye out for hidden charges for airfare, hotel, car rental, airport or port transfers, meals, gratuities, taxes, parking and "upgrades."
  • Ask for everything in writing so all the details of the travel packages are apparent.
  • Inquire about refund policies should either the consumer or the travel provider cancel the trip. Check for special provisions to cover illness or family emergencies.
  • Ask about the availability of cancellation insurance. If it is available, obtain a complete description of the scope of insurance coverage before purchasing it.

Consumers who want to file a complaint against any of the four companies may call the Attorney General's toll-free, consumer hotline at 1-877-877-9392 or (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only) or (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or write Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection, 1162 Court Street, N.E., Salem, Oregon 97310.

Contact:

Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) jan.margosian@doj.state.or.us |
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