N.J. AG sues travel club after 54 complaints
NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa and the Division on Consumer Affairs filed a lawsuit on Thursday against a vacation travel club and its owner for allegedly defrauding consumers.
Global Travel Solutions LLC and owner Jason A. Krieck allegedly violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the Advertising Regulations and other laws by making false promises or misrepresentations, committing unconscionable commercial practices and deception, and engaging in the knowing omission of material facts in the sale of memberships and in the company's advertising.
The defendants allegedly failed to provide complementary cruises and airfares and failed to provide deep discounts for travel services that it promised during sales presentations for vacation travel membership packages. The company maintained business addresses in Haddonfield and Montvale and staged sales presentations in Montville and at the Somerset Holiday Inn.
The five-count lawsuit, filed in Bergen County Superior Court, seeks temporary restraints, including freezing the defendants' assets, appointing a receiver, prohibiting the defendants' advertisement and sale of memberships, and shutting down the company's website. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
"We allege the defendants' deceptive business practices began with postcards the company mailed offering complimentary cruises and roundtrip airfare, and continued right through their sales presentations," Chiesa said. "Rather than getting away on a vacation, these consumers ended up stuck at home, dealing with the loss of their hard-earned money."
The division has received complaints from 54 consumers, most of whom allegedly paid between $995 and $8,500 for the membership in addition to a $29.95 monthly fee. When consumers attempted to cancel the memberships, which allegedly did not provide the deep discounts and availability promised, they were unable to do so for various reasons.
Some consumers who contacted the company were allegedly told that cancellation papers would be sent to them but no papers ever arrived. Others went to the company's location in Montvale during business hours and found the office to be closed.
The defendants' alleged violations of the Consumer Fraud Act include inducing consumers to go to presentations for memberships by offering a complimentary airfare and cruise that were actually not complimentary, and failing to book the complimentary airfare and cruise even after the consumer submitted the compulsory paperwork and deposits. During sales presentations, the defendants allegedly induce consumers to buy memberships by showing them a PowerPoint slide presentation and/or video with accommodations and pricing that were not actually available through the membership.
The state is seeking reimbursement of costs and attorneys' fees, civil penalties and consumer restitution.