CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Two clients of Club Universe, a longtime
California tour company that closed in December, filed claims with
the state's Travel Consumer Restitution Corp. after failing to
receive travel as promised.
Also, ASTA said it received about 10 calls from consumers who
said they did not receive their air and land packages, which
included a Celebrity Cruise, arranged by the firm.
The firm, which was based here, notified ASTA that it had ceased
operations temporarily and would provide more details "shortly,"
but attempts to reach the firm have been unsuccessful, ASTA
The company was an ASTA member but not a participant in any
consumer protection plan.
A message on the company's telephone answering service gives no
more information than what ASTA was provided.
Diane Embree, Travel Consumer Restitution Corp. chairman, said
the TCRC board will consider the consumer claims within the next 45
Club Universe was registered under the California Seller of
Travel Law and a participant in the restitution fund; however,
under the law, only California residents can make a claim against
The company was a well-known name in the California travel
industry at its peak in the early 1980s, carrying 100,000
passengers a year on air and land packages throughout the world but
was doing little marketing in the past year, according to Noel
Houwing, former executive vice president of Unitours, a tour
operator that owned and operated Club Universe.
Thomson Holidays of London purchased Unitours in the mid-1980s
as a means of entering the U.S. market; it then started a Thomson
Vacations subsidiary and moved Unitours' headquarters from Los
Angeles to Chicago.
Thomson sold the tour operation in 1988 to Apple Vacations,
which divested itself of the Club Universe brand, selling it and
its mailing list of club members to a new owner in Carlsbad,