SEATTLE -April 1, 1999- A travel club that promised spectacular savings that never materialized for the many Vancouver and Portland residents who purchased memberships has been sued by the Attorney General's Office.
"Consumers were promised savings of up to 50% on travel if they purchased a club membership," said Attorney General Christine Gregoire. "People paid between $2,000 and $5,000 just to be able to purchase discounted travel. That's more money than most people ever spend on a summer vacation."
A lawsuit was filed this week against Vacation Center International, Inc., a California Corporation which did business as First Discount, and its owner Thomas Fomon of San Diego.
The travel club allegedly made many misrepresentations including promising free prizes that weren't free; making false statements about the amounts and availability of travel discounts available to members; failing to refund consumers money requested in the required time period; and failing to maintain a trust account.
The company, which operated an office at 316 SE 123rd St. in Vancouver, went out of business in 1997. Its owner is currently under investigation by the San Diego County Police Department for his role in several travel scams.
"People want to believe the discounts are real because they want to travel," said Gregoire. "But, don't believe everything you hear. Call a local travel agent, the airlines and hotels and do some comparison pricing."
The state is asking for a permanent injunction to stop the deceptive practices, restitution for consumers, civil penalties and attorney costs and fees. The AG's office has received 132 complaints against Vacation Center and First Discount.