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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 03, 1997
ULTIMA TRAVEL CLUB MEMBERS MAY GET REFUNDS


February 3, 1997 - SEATTLE -- The Washington Attorney General's Office today announced that Ultima Travel Inc., of Bothell and Lynnwood has set aside $100,000 to reimburse consumers who never received services or discounts promised by the club.

Under an agreement negotiated by the AG's Office, consumers who purchased memberships from Ultima and never received the services or discounts they were promised by the club have until April 4, 1997 to request a refund. Claim forms are available by calling the Attorney General's Office at 1-800-551-4636. The completed claim forms must be returned to the Attorney General's Office by June 3, 1997.

The reimbursement plan is included in a Consent Decree filed today in King County Superior Court. Under the decree, Ultima agreed to place $100,000 in an escrow account to reimburse members.

The Attorney General's Office initiated the action after receiving more than 120 written complaints against Ultima. The complaint alleges Ultima misrepresented the amounts and availability of travel discounts -- including promises that club members would receive the lowest air fares available.

The complaint also alleges consumers purchased Ultima memberships for between $1,195 and $3,195 and were guaranteed substantial travel savings. "For many, those savings were never delivered and the prospects of a dream vacation vanished," said Attorney General Chris Gregoire.

Gregoire recommends consumers do their homework and consider taking their travel business to a local agent, well established in the community, who does not use free prize offers as bait to attend high pressure sales presentations.

Also named in the consent decree were Vacation System, Inc., B.E.M. Associates and owners William Hunter, Michael Vasey, Jeffrey Dickinson, and Earl Lee Brischle of Federal Way.

"Don't let your dreams get out ahead of your pocketbooks," urges Gregoire. "Make sure when you spend money on travel you're buying more than promises of future savings."

Tips for protecting travel dollars are available for consumers from the Attorney General's Office by calling 1-800-551-4636.

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