Summer is normally the season associated with vacation travel, but many snowbirds travel in the winter, typically seeking the warmer climate of Florida or the desert southwest.
It keeps attorneys and investigators at Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office busy as they attempt to protect consumers from shady travel promoters and outright con artists.
In December, Bondi’s office took action to shut down three travel agencies it said were misleading consumers. Now the attorney general obtained preliminary injunctions against several other travel-related companies she accuses of having done the same.
“Unscrupulous Selling Tactics”
The last complaint filed by Bondi’s office accuses Reservation Services International of knowingly allowing its two distributors, Map Destinations, LLC and Florida Beaches Destinations Club, LLC, which operated as Suite Journeys and Diamond Vacations International, “to use unscrupulous sales tactics to entice consumers to purchase vacation club memberships.
Vacation clubs are a common source of travel-related complaints. Quite often they are marketed the same way as timeshares, forcing consumers to attend long and sometimes intense sales pitches.
Jeanette, from Boca Raton, Florida, says she recently attended a presentation from a travel agency called IIG Promotions.
“Like everyone here, we also attended the presentation of the Florida trip,” Jeanette wrote in a ConsumerAffairs article. “When we were there, it seemed like they had approached people who had just retired through social security. They have a list one way or another.
Jeanette says she and her husband received a travel package costing $ 5,000, but they refused.
Consumers are often enticed to attend travel club presentations by suggesting that they can get something free or at a reduced price. It almost never works that way.
Bondi says the companies named in his complaint have allegedly exaggerated the true savings, nature and value of club memberships. She said some consumers have paid several thousand dollars for these travel club memberships that the companies say offer heavily discounted wholesale prices on hotels, condominiums, cruises, rental cars and packages. vacation.
After making the purchase, consumers complained to the Bondi office that they could have gotten the same or better price on other publicly available free travel booking websites.
Bondi says the temporary injunction against Reservation Services International includes the appointment of a monitor to oversee operations. It also freezes the company’s assets and appoints a receiver against the affiliates.
Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warnings Consumers to get plenty of details about the true status of promoted accommodations and promised benefits and, if you end up making a travel club purchase, always pay with a credit card.