AG Zoeller joins international sweep on travel scams, files state lawsuits

2013-06-11T13:51:00Z 2013-06-11T15:42:10Z AG Zoeller joins international sweep on travel scams, files state lawsuitsTimes Staff nwitimes.com
June 11, 2013 1:51 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said travel-related scams have heated up and so have state and federal enforcement efforts to crackdown on violators.

In Indiana, lawsuits were filed against Eastern Enterprises LLC, and Simplicity Travel LLC, as part of a joint multistate, multinational law enforcement initiative coordinated by the Federal Trade Commission.

Eastern Enterprises, a South Bend timeshare resell company, claimed to have ready buyers who would pay for consumers’ timeshare properties. According to the complaint, the company entered into 14 contracts with out-of-state consumers and collected an up-front fee of $1,985.

Customers also made additional payments ranging from about $4,800 to $15,500 to allegedly cover certain taxes or to close the sale on the properties. According to the lawsuit, the company did not complete any of the transactions or provide promised refunds. Bank records show the account, where customers’ monies were deposited, was used to make non-business purchases at gas stations, restaurants and even through the Sony Playstation Network.

The lawsuit was filed in St. Joseph County and seeks an injunction, consumer restitution, civil penalties and investigative costs for violations of the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.

A separate lawsuit was filed against Idaho-based Simplicity Travel after the company dialed or sent mailers to Indiana consumers offering free vacations or savings certificates in exchange for attending a 90-minute sales presentation on vacation club memberships.

Two separate Hendrick’s County consumers attended the seminars and entered into contracts to buy memberships totaling $8,187. Both customers were unsuccessful in booking any of the advertised vacations, and calls to the company went unanswered and refunds were not provided.

Simplicity Travel recently entered into an agreement, which was filed in Marion County, to pay $32,000 to the Attorney General’s office to provide consumer restitution and investigative costs.

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