(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced that International Vacation Services LLC of South Carolina has agreed to pay $14,823.54 in consumer restitution, plus $5,000 in costs, according to a recent agreement to resolve alleged violations of Ohio’s consumer laws.
“Ohioans should remember that if it sounds too good to be true — it probably is — and to exercise caution when responding to offers that they have a ‘won’ a free prize or trip,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We are glad that consumers in this case will receive the restitution they deserve.”
According to the agreement, International Vacation Services of Landrum, South Carolina advertised and sold discount travel packages to Ohio consumers. It mailed solicitations telling consumers they had won a free prize or trip and invited them to sales presentations at local hotels, but it failed to disclose that consumers had to listen to a sales presentation to receive the prize and failed to give consumers notice of their three-day right to cancel under Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act.
The business will pay the restitution and costs in increments according to a payment plan spelled out in the assurance of voluntary compliance, which is an out-of-court settlement.
Attorney General DeWine offered consumers the following tips for entering into travel agreements:
Research the company’s reputation. Check complaints filed with the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau.
Be prepared for high-pressure sales tactics. Before attending a sales presentation, develop a plan for handling aggressive sales pitches. For example, refuse to make a payment before taking the contract home to review.
Keep in mind that if you sign a contract outside a seller’s normal place of business, such as a hotel or your home, you generally have three business days to cancel the contract. Sellers are required to give you notice of this right.
Check the contract for specific terms and conditions. Make sure you understand the refund policy, and insist that the seller put any verbal promises in writing.
Consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly by a travel company, or any business, should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Kate Hanson: 614-466-3840