Seattle -June 19, 2000- Robin Leach, host of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," has settled a lawsuit with Washington and 11 other states over his role as spokesperson for a travel service whose "dream vacations" proved to be nightmares for some consumers.
"Next time Robin Leach puts his name behind a vacation package, promising caviar wishes and champagne dreams, he’d better know those promises are true," said Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire.
Leach was pitchman for National Travel Services, one of the Florida travel companies sued by the states for allegedly misleading consumers into believing they had won or were entitled to a dream vacation.
Leach admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to comply with Federal Trade Commission guidelines that require spokespersons to base their endorsements on honest beliefs formed from personal findings or experience. The state contends Leach did not investigate National Travel’s vacation packages and therefore could not honestly claim the trips were the "vacation experience of a lifetime."
Washington consumers received certificates featuring Leach’s picture and the message: "Robin Leach says Pack Your Bags!" suggesting they had won or were entitled to a luxury
Florida vacation and bonus cruise to the Bahamas. Those who purchased the trip received a video of Leach promising them a "world class" vacation and "an experience you’ll never forget."
Consumers discovered they had won nothing more than an opportunity to pay as much as $1,000 for a seven-day trip. The bonus three-day Bahamas Cruise was actually a one-day ferry ride that included bingo games as the "Las Vegas entertainment."