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Attorney General Bill Lockyer Announces Settlement with Class Travel International, Inc.
Travel Company That Targeted Students Pays Consumer Restitution, Penalties
(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced he has resolved a deceptive business practices lawsuit brought against Class Travel International, Inc., a Los Angeles-based company that targeted high school students with graduation vacation packages to destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. The company was charged with defrauding consumers by misrepresenting services, failing to notify consumers of hidden costs and travel restrictions and charging for services not provided.
"High school graduation is a major event and many students look forward to celebrating it with a memorable trip to a fun destination," Lockyer said. "My office will continue to pursue unscrupulous travel agencies who turn dream vacations into nightmares by cheating consumers."
Class Travel International customers complained that tickets were not delivered, or arrived late; unauthorized changes were made to itineraries at the last minute; prepaid food packages were not honored; and students sometimes were forced to sleep in lobbies or crowded rooms because travel and accommodations were unavailable. Consumers also complained that they were unable to reach the business to discuss billing disputes, travel arrangements and services.
Complaints about the company tended to increase around graduation, when many students booked package vacations through the company. The packages often were bundled with pre-paid parties at bars and events involving alcohol at destinations that have younger drinking-age laws.
Under the settlement, Class Travel International and its owners and operators, Marc Radow and Kelley Millard, agreed to a permanent injunction that prevents them from doing business in California unless strict consumer protections are met. They also paid $20,000 for consumer restitution, which will be distributed by the Attorney General's Office, and $10,000 in penalties and reimbursements for prosecution and investigation expenses. Registered with the California Seller of Travel Program, the company was required to participate in the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation and some consumers already have been reimbursed through that program.
The settlement was approved by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jon M. Mayeda. Class Travel International ceased marketing trips and closed its business last year.