Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam today announced coordinated actions taken to stop Florida travel companies accused of deceiving consumers.
Consumers complained that the defendants charged for items advertised as free; sold vacation packages that could not be used because of burdensome blackout dates and overly restrictive terms and conditions; refused to provide refunds or allow cancelation of purchases; greatly exaggerated savings; and made unauthorized charges to consumer credit cards.
“People plan and save for years to pay for a family vacation and it is disgraceful that anyone would use deceptive and unfair trade practices to take their money and ruin their plans,” Bondi said. “Thanks to this coordinated effort with Commissioner Putnam, we are taking action on behalf of travelers and to protect families from harmful business practices.”
“I thank Attorney General Bondi for her action against these travel companies, which allegedly defrauded consumers. By taking this swift action, my department and her office have helped protect Florida’s consumers from deceptive business practices,” Putnam said.
Bondi filed enforcement actions against the companies alleging violations of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and seeking consumer restitution, civil penalties and injunctive relief. In conjunction with the Attorney General’s litigation, Putnam initiated administrative actions seeking to revoke the licenses of two of the same companies.
The coordinated actions are taken against the following companies:
Millennium Travel and Promotions, Inc. allegedly sent millions of misleading mailers promising travel awards but failed to disclose terms and conditions or the total cost of redeeming the awards. Only a small fraction of these consumers were ever able to redeem the promised travel awards.
Grand Incentives, Inc. allegedly failed to fulfill travel requests by citing overly restrictive terms and conditions or blackout travel dates; collected deposits and failed to timely return the funds when the consumer was unable to book travel; misrepresented the nature of fees charged to consumers; and made unauthorized charges on consumer credit cards.
Bondi also filed a complaint against an additional travel company:
Global Connections, Inc. allegedly allowed its Florida distributors to use unscrupulous sales tactics to induce consumers to purchase its vacation club memberships by greatly exaggerating the true savings, nature and value of the memberships. Global allegedly did not honor its cancellation policy and did not make consumers aware of restrictive travel terms and conditions and limited availability of vacation destinations.
Global Connections, Inc. is currently exempt from registration by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can contact the department’s consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832). For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.