Attorneys General Target Alleged Scam Firms

WASHINGTON -- The following firms were included in state attorney general office filings as part of Operation Trip-Up, the nationwide crackdown launched March 13 against alleged travel scam firms.

Companies listed here face complaints or charges in one or more states, or, in some cases, already have resolved lawsuits with government agencies.

Profiles of the firms are included, where available.

California

* Jetaway Travel Corp.; NU-Concepts in Travel Inc.

Charges: Company, certain officers made false and misleading statements to consumers, other unfair business practices.

* World Class Network Inc.

Charges: Deceptive and unfair business practices.

Resolution: State obtained temporary restraining order.

* Vacation Break U.S.A. Inc.

(Based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., but operating in several states.)

Profile: Sells travel certificates and time-shares.

Charges: Violation of unfair trade statutes, failure to provide mandatory disclosures required by state time-share statute.

* Florida Travel Network.

Profile: Sells travel certificates.

Charges: Violations of unfair trade statutes; filed Sept. 26, 1996.

* Travel Opportunities of Fort Lauderdale Inc.

Profile: Sells travel certificates.

Charges: Violations of unfair trade statutes.

Florida

* One Stop Travel Centers of Tampa Inc., Tampa

Profile: Sold travel certificates.

Charges: Violations of deceptive and unfair trade practices statutes and seller of travel regulations.

Resolution: Agreed to stop selling certificates as of January. Company agreed to make refunds to about 11,000 people.

* Robert Dolgin, dba Design Travel, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Profile: Sells travel certificates.

Charges: Violations of registration and bonding regulations, failure to honor travel certificates, etc.; filed March 7.

* Direct Success Marketing Inc., dba All Aboard Cruises, aka Land & Sea Travel.

Profile: Travel agency.

Charges: Violations of seller of travel statutes, failure to provide timely refunds, pattern of fraudulent, deceptive trade practices; filed March 7.

* Worldmark Tours Inc.

Profile: Sold travel certificates.

Charges: Violations of state seller of travel statues, registration and bonding regulations, failure to provide timely refunds, misrepresentation and failure to disclose material facts.

Illinois

* Florida Travel Network.

Charges: Violations of consumer fraud and deceptive business practices act.

* Vacation Break U.S.A. Inc.

Charges: Violations of consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and state registration and time-share statutes.

Massachusetts

* Vacation Break U.S.A. Inc.

Charges: Notice of Intent to file, alleging violations of state Consumer Protection Act.

Michigan

* Design Travel.

* One Stop Travel Centers of Tampa.

* Vacation Break U.S.A Inc.

Charges (all three): Filed notice of intended action for violations of state's Consumer Protection Act. Alleged that companies used high-pressure sales tactics and, once receiving commitment from consumer, added additional charges to consumer.

New York

* Thousand Adventures of New York Inc.

Profile: Campground operator.

Charges: Solicited consumers to tour campgrounds with offer that consumer was a finalist and would receive an expensive prize. Every consumer was a "finalist" and purported prize had little or no value.

Resolution: Order and judgment against defendants, blocking sale of memberships in state until they comply with order. Provides for consumer refunds.

* Atlantic Travel and Tours Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Profile: Travel agency.

Charges: Notified of pending action alleging false advertising, unfair trade and violations of Truth in Travel Law. Agency allegedly accepted payment for airline reservations and failed to provide tickets.

* Promotional Travel Inc., Canaveral Cruise Lines Inc.

Profile: Sold travel certificates.

Charges: Company mailed travel certificates to consumers implying they won free vacations, however vacations cost almost $400 and required sitting through time-share sales presentations.

Resolution: Consent judgement and order establishing $100,000 restitution fund and $25,000 judgement.

* Charisma Holidays International Inc., New York, N.Y.

Profile: Travel agency.

Charges: False advertising, unfair trade practices and violations of Truth in Travel Law. Company allegedly accepted payment from consumers for airline reservations and failed to provide tickets or forward money to airlines.

North Carolina

* Thousand Adventures Inc.

Charges: Company allegedly sold campground memberships by falsely claiming members who did not purchase upgrades would face personal liability for any legal actions against campground.

Resolution: State obtained consent judgement in settlement against company, local subsidiary and owners.

Ohio

* Vacation Escape Inc.

Profile: Telemarketer of trips to Florida and the Bahamas.

Charges: Allegations of consumer, home solicitation and telephone solicitation laws.

* Marketing Analysis Sales & Service, dba Oscar C. Bradley & Associates.

Profile: Time-share, part of Gold Crown Express Inc.

Charges: Racketeering and theft for participation in advanced-fee campground and time-share resale company.

Vermont

* Vacation Break U.S.A. Inc.

Charges: Deceptive solicitations, failure to disclose right to cancel, violation of state contest and prize rule.

Washington

* BudgeTravel, Pasco, Wash.

Profile: Travel agency.

Charges: Agency failed to deliver ticket or vacation packages sold to consumers.

* Sun Vacations.

Profile: Sold travel certificates.

Resolution: Lawsuit settled with injunctive relief, payment of attorneys fees and establishment of mediation program.

* Platinum Passport Ltd.

Profile: Sold travel club memberships.

Resolution: Lawsuit against some defendants settled.

* Ultima Travel Inc.

Profile: Sold travel club memberships.

Charges: Consumers bought memberships costing $1,195 to $3,100 based on promises of substantial savings on travel. For many, savings never materialized.

Resolution: State obtained consent decree.

* Vacation Time Worldwide, Bothell, Wash.

Profile: Travel club, owned by Albertsen Investment Corp.

Charges: Violations of state consumer protection laws.

* Vacation Break U.S.A. Inc.

Charges: Violation of consumer protection laws.

Wisconsin

* Robert Dolgin, dba Design Travel, dba Design Travel of Santa Rosa, dba Cruise Link by Design.

Charges: Violations of consumer protection statutes.

This report was compiled by David Jones based on documents received from 12 state attorney general offices.

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