Attorneys general from 15 states settled a lawsuit yesterday with two travel companies accused of using deceptive tactics in their direct marketing campaigns touting Florida and Bahamas vacation packages.
The settlement orders the two companies to pay $10,000 to each state involved in the case and to refund any money paid by consumers who bought vacation packages since Jan. 1, 1997, but have not yet taken their trips. The companies also agreed to cease deceptive practices and make certain disclosures in future marketing efforts.
Charged in the lawsuit were Cape Canaveral Cruise Line Tour and Travel Inc., Cape Canaveral, FL, and Promotional Travel Inc., Altamonte Springs, FL. According to the suit, the companies offered consumers “first class” or “world class” vacations in telemarketing and direct mail offers.
The lawsuit charged that the actual trips were of lower quality than promised in the offers aimed at selling timeshares. The companies falsely told consumers they had won the trips and failed to tell them about the costs they would have to pay or the requirement to attend lengthy timeshare presentations, the attorneys general charged.
Consumers later complained the “cruises” promised by the companies were actually a shuttleboat ride, and that the costs of travel to Florida for the trips were not covered in the packages, according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, one of the attorneys general involved in the suit. Other states party to the suit include Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.