NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -- California travel agents and tour operators
will not be getting any bills this year from the Travel Consumer
Restitution Corp., which operates the unique program that pays
refunds to state residents who have been financially hurt by
registered travel companies.
For the first time in the six-year history of the California
Seller of Travel law, there is no need to levy assessments of the
state's travel firms -- neither to replenish the restitution fund
or to pay for its operating expenses, said Patty Campbell, TCRC
president and an agent with All About Travel, Northridge,
The reason for the good news is that there was no major
bankruptcy or failure of a registered California travel seller in
2000, so there were few claims from consumers that forced the fund
to be tapped for refunds, she said.
And, Campbell said, "The fund has been well-managed and it has
grown because the interest we are receiving has outstripped the
claims that have been paid out."
The restitution fund is at "about $1.9 million," which is above
the $1.2 million level required by the Seller of Travel law, she
The law requires that the five-member board of directors of the
TCRC -- made up of registered travel sellers -- establish at the
start of each calendar year the fee that California-based travel
sellers must replenish the fund when it dips below $1.2 million to
bring to $1.6 million.
Since the start of the restitution fund program, the TCRC board
has also levied a fee -- typically $15 per year -- on registered
travel sellers to pay for the operating expenses of the program,
which is run by a private fulfillment company.
However, because of the operation of the fund "is way below
budget," no administrative fee is required this year, said
Travel companies who sell travel to California residents still
must pay the annual registration fee to the state attorney
general's office of $100, which is required by the Seller of Travel
It is a crime in California to sell travel to state residents
without registering first with the attorney general's office.