CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on Wednesday that she has filed a lawsuit against a travel agent who allegedly violated the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices and Travel Promotion Consumer Protection Acts.
As the owner of the Freedom Tours travel agency, Shawn Meiseman allegedly collected money from consumers for bus trips that were later cancelled. More than $4,600 was alleged to have been collected and refunds were not given.
Madigan alleges the travel agent advertised two October 2010 bus trips destined for Cape Cod, the Mall of America in Minnesota and other destinations, requiring upfront fees for the trips. Consumers paid either $799 or $219 depending on what trip they purchased, Madigan says.
The agency has since closed down.
"This defendant took advantage of unsuspecting consumers, depriving them of the vacations they had planned on as well as their hard-earned money," Madigan said.
"This lawsuit should serve as a warning for consumers to remain extremely cautious when scheduling travel plans. Make sure you check out the organization's standing with my office and the Better Business Bureau, and receive the terms of the trip in writing before you pay."
Madigan seeks to keep Meiseman from operating in the travel business in the state and wants all pending contracts to be null and void. She is also asking for restitution for all consumers.
The lawsuit seeks a civil penalty of $50,000, additional penalties of $50,000 for each violation found to be committed with the intent to defraud and $10,000 per violation found to be committed against a senior 65 years or older.