Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

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Attorney General Myers Assists OSU Students In Refunds for Student Travel Packages to Acapulco

October 23, 2000

Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that a Florida travel company that sells student travel packages over the Internet must change its advertising and refund policies in order to operate in Oregon. Named in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance are Lyman Andreas of Juniper, Florida and his companies Student Travel, Inc., E-Student Travel.Com and Surf and Sun Travel.

"Problems with travel companies that target high school and college students have increased over the last two years," Myers said. "Parents should be aware of possible problems with out-of-state, travel tour packages being sold over the Internet. Families must carefully research the travel offers and compare them to those offered through a local travel agent."

Seven students from Oregon State University purchased vacation packages over the Internet from Surf and Sun Tours for a school break trip to Acapulco that never materialized. Calling itself "party headquarters for the world's best student vacation packages," Surf and Sun Tours required $735 from each student in exchange for "first priority reservations." Four months later, the tickets had not arrived and students canceled two days before their departure date. Refunds promised within 14 days of cancellation never arrived.

Under the terms of the assurance, which was filed today in Marion County Circuit Court and does not admit violation of law, the Florida company agrees to comply with all Oregon laws before conducting any business in the state. In addition, the company will provide full restitution to the students or their parents within 60 days, change its refund policies, marketing materials and provide information on accommodations and related services in a timely manner.

Andreas will pay $5,000 to the Department of Justice consumer protection and education fund.

Attorney General Myers offers the following tips for students and their parents "surfing" the Internet for student vacation packages:

  • Check out the web site. Request information to be emailed before sending any money.
  • Comparison-shop the package with other student travel web sites.
  • Check with local travel agents to see if they know the company and its reputation. Do the same with the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) at (703) 739-8739.
  • If the trip involves a charter flight, call the Department of Transportation (DOT) Public Charter Licensing Division at (202) 366-2396. Only charter flights approved by DOT can be sold.
  • Ask for a copy of the company's contract and read the fine print. Understand your rights when any changes are made in the package.
  • Pay by credit card. It gives users more protection than cash or a check.
  • Expect flight delays. Delays are common on charter flights and DOT rules allow up to 48-hour delays for a charter flight with mechanical difficulties.
  • Call the Attorney General's consumer hotline and check for complaints on the company. Call toll-free at 1-877-877-9392, (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only) or (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only). Brochures on student vacation package scams and telemarketing travel fraud are available by writing Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection, 1162 Court Street, N.E., Salem, Oregon 97310 or the Federal Trade Commission online at www.ftc.gov.

Contact:

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