Seattle---Attorney General Christine Gregoire today announced one of the country's largest marketers of Florida and Bahamas travel and timeshare vacations, will pay $225,000 in consumer restitution and $257,500 in penalties and costs to Washington and ten other states.
Some 73 Washington consumers filed complaints against Vacation, Break, USA. The complaints were filed after consumers responded to the company's direct mailer which contained a certificate of entitlement telling them to "pack their bags," or "you have been selected," implying the recipient had won a free vacation.
"These certificates were just a come-on to get the consumer to call," said Gregoire. "Consumers were then pressured into buying vacation packages for over $400 that included undisclosed but required attendance at time share sales presentations during their 'vacations.'"
Under the settlement agreement, Vacation Break must disclose all costs and fees and tell the consumer they may be solicited for a sales presentation before they purchase a vacation.
Consumers who have purchased Vacation Break vacations which they have not yet taken and who declined to extend the expiration of their vacation package, have 60 days ( until Nov. 26, 1997) to file a complaint. Those consumers will receive a full refund of their vacation packages. The number to call is 1-800-551-4636.
"Travel is our number one complaint category in 1997," said Gregoire. "Over the last year we've taken action against more than half a dozen travel sellers and received over 1325 complaints from consumers."
Vacation Break, with headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ stock market with estimated sales in 1995 of over $118 million.