NEWARK, NJ (February 4, 2011) –- The owner of numerous vacation travel club companies with a long history of consumer complaints in New Jersey, is barred from doing business in the state for no less than five years and cannot open or operate any such business in the future without state approval, under terms of a settlement with the Office of the Attorney General and State Division of Consumer Affairs.
According to the lawsuit filed in 2009, defendants Daryl T. Turner, 39, of Cherry Hill, and his vacation travel companies took payments from numerous consumers and then repeatedly failed to provide the contracted-for travel packages, or refund the money. The defendants also failed to deliver various promotional items promised to consumers in return for their attendance at promotional seminars. To date, over 670 affected consumers have been identified. The lawsuit further charges Turner and his companies with using in their promotional materials the corporate logos of airlines, hotels, and car rental companies without those companies’ permission.
The civil complaint, filed in Morris County, was amended several times as Consumer Affairs investigators uncovered additional travel club companies owned or controlled by Turner throughout New Jersey. The Final Consent Judgment includes nine of Turner’s travel companies, all of which are now shut down.
“We’ve reached a settlement that immediately puts an end to Mr. Turner’s business activities and prevents him from offering vacation travel club memberships and services here for at least five years. After the five-year ban, we will not permit Mr. Turner to resume business unless he can prove to us that he is, and has been, in full compliance with the terms of the Final Consent Judgment,” Attorney General Paula T. Dow said.
In addition to prohibiting Turner from owning or operating any business in the state that is engaged in the advertisement or sale of vacation travel packages for at least 5 years, the Final Consent Judgment includes a comprehensive list of conditions ensuring that any business in which Turner engages will be conducted in strict compliance with state law. One of those conditions is the requirement that Turner post with the state a $250,000 bond.
Under the settlement, Turner is responsible for over $2,188,000 in consumer restitution and $478,000 in civil penalties. Turner is also required to reimburse the state $419,780.10 for its attorneys’ fees and investigative costs.
“Not only does this Judgment make Turner a ‘persona non grata’ in the New Jersey vacation travel industry, it clears the way for the Division of Consumer Affairs to investigate and seize any assets Turner has or may come into — and that is precisely what we intend to do until every last consumer is made whole, until every last dollar is paid,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs.
To assist in getting immediate relief to affected consumers, the Division of Consumer Affairs has identified those consumers who used credit cards to pay Turner and his companies for vacation packages, and will be contacting the credit card companies to inform them of the Consent Judgment to facilitate reimbursements to those consumers through credit card charge-backs. Should consumers wish to pursue reimbursements from their credit card companies themselves, they may obtain an electronic copy of the Final Consent Judgment by contacting Consumer Affairs Investigator Murat Botas at firstname.lastname@example.org or (973) 273-8038.
The vacation travel companies named as defendants in the state’s lawsuit include Dreamworks Vacation Club, Dreamworks Vacations, Bentley Travel, Modern Destinations Unlimited, Blue Water, Vacation Clubs LLC d/b/a La Bonne Vie Travel, Five Points Travel Company, Dream Vacations International, Inc., and Away We Go Promotions, LLC.
Deputy Attorneys General Lorraine K. Rak, Chief of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section, and Gina M. Betts represented the state in the action. Investigator Murat Botas in the Office of Consumer Protection led the investigation.
SOURCE: New Jersey Office of the Attorney General