Consumers to Get Back Almost $2.2 Million From Travel Clubs

travel club scamThe owner of nine vacation travel clubs who allegedly victimized hundreds of consumers has agreed to return almost $2.2 million for travel discounts, vacation packages and promotional items that the travel clubs allegedly didn't provide.

Daryl T. Turner of Cherry Hill, N.J., also agreed to shut down the nine travel companies, including Dreamworks Vacation Club, Dreamworks Vacations, Bentley Travel, Modern Destinations Unlimited, Blue Water, La Bonne Vie Travel, Five Points Travel Co., Dream Vacations International Inc. and Away We Go Promotions. The agreement settles a lawsuit brought by New Jersey's Attorney General and its Division of Consumer Affairs after consumers complained about the companies.

Lured by promises of deep discounts to exotic resorts, consumers shelled out $1,200 to $8,000 for vacation packages, only to find their travel clubs didn't come through with the promised vacations, according to the 2009 lawsuit. So far, more than 670 consumers have been identified as qualifying for refunds.

Under the settlement, Turner is responsible for $2.19 million in restitution and $478,000 in civil penalties, plus reimbursing New Jersey $419,780 for legal fees and investigation costs. Turner is also forbidden from advertising or selling vacation packages for no less than five years.

"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," Attorney General Paula T. Dow said in a statement.

Consumers looking for deals can be easily duped by a travel scam. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission says to get offers in writing before agreeing to pay anything. The agency also urges consumers to shop around and not be pressured into making a quick decision for something that could cost thousands of dollars.

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