NEWARK, NJ (September 25, 2012) — Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has announced a settlement with a vacation travel club and its owner, which dissolves the company and bars its owner from engaging in the travel club business in the state.
According to the State’s lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Division of Consumer Affairs by the Division of Law in March 2012, defendants Global Travel Solutions, LLC and its owner, Jason A. Krieck, took payments from consumers for costly travel club memberships that promised steep discounts on vacation packages and other travel benefits, and then failed to deliver the contracted-for services. Consumers were also charged ongoing monthly fees for the memberships. The defendants induced consumers to attend sales presentations for the memberships with free promotional items, and then allegedly failed to deliver the items.
The settlement is memorialized in a Final Consent Judgment. Under its terms, Krieck is required to direct all billing and reservations companies to immediately stop attempting to collect payments from consumers on the company’s behalf. He is also required to pay $350,000 to the state. In addition, for a period of 5 years, Krieck is required to post a bond of at least $250,000 with the Division if he opens, owns or operates any business in the state that sells merchandise to consumers. The defendants entered into the settlement without any admission of liability.
“We have stopped the sale of these allegedly worthless travel club memberships in the state and the continued collection activity against consumers who previously purchased memberships,” Attorney General Chiesa said. “Consumers should be extremely careful when listening to an attractive sales pitch for any product, including travel and vacation packages.”
“Travel scams, offering free amenities and big discounts for cruises and airfare, can be shockingly effective at separating consumers from their hard-earned money,” Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, said. “These operations often begin with postcards inviting consumers to attend a presentation at which they will hear about amazing deals that really are too good to be true. Individuals who purchased memberships based on these scams lost thousands of dollars. Any consumer who receives a similar solicitation should be extremely skeptical, and should call the Division of Consumer Affairs to help determine whether the business is legitimate.”
To date, the Division has identified more than 700 affected consumers, the majority of whom paid between $995 and $9,995.00 for the Global Travel memberships, plus a $29.95 monthly fee. After discovering that the memberships did not provide the represented deep discounts and availability of accommodations and other travel services, consumers attempted to cancel their memberships, but were unable to do so for varying reasons. In many cases, consumers could find lower vacation travel prices through free internet sites. Some consumers who contacted the company were told cancellation papers would be mailed to them, but no papers were received. Other consumers went to the company’s Montvale location during listed business hours, but found the office was closed.
Deputy Attorneys General Cathleen O’Donnell and Glenn T. Graham in the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section within the Division of Law represented the State in this action. Investigator Raquel Williams in the Office of Consumer Protection conducted the investigation.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.