SAN FRANCISCO -- California travel companies will pay $95 per
location this year to the Travel Consumer Restitution Corp. (TCRC),
the state's fund for consumers who have lost money due to
bankruptcies or other failures of registered travel firms.
The fee is actually two fees in one, with $35 going to fund the
administration of the TCRC and $60 going to restitution. There
currently is $1.2 million in the fund.
The TCRC is a major part of the state's controversial Seller of
Travel Law, which took effect three years ago and expires at the
end of 1998.
The future of the law is uncertain, however, because the
California Coalition of Travel Organizations is discussing with the
attorney general's office ways to make the program less burdensome
to travel agents.
ARTA has been one of the most vocal critics of the law: Its
leaders in California oppose the concept of an industry-sponsored
restitution fund. If the law is not reenacted this year, it will
expire and the TCRC will be dissolved, with the $1.2 million
redistributed to companies who made contributions.
The 1998 fees -- the last fees to be levied if the law is not
reenacted -- were determined by the TCRC board in early
Diane Embree, TCRC chairman, said the fee is based on the number
of registered firms in the state and the amount needed to raise the
fund from the previous year's balance to $1.2 million, the amount
required by law.