A South Carolina couple stated that they had signed a contract to purchase a travel club membership and paid a $1,200 deposit to Time Out Access Travel, and their paperwork promised them a three day cancellation period. The $3,700 program promised deep discounts on travel services including cruises and airfare. Charlie and Ann Berry were caught up in the sales presentation, and agreed to purchase without fully understanding the product. "After we got home I started looking over, trying to figure out exactly what this was," said Berry. "I said, 'No we're gonna cancel it'."
Many of these travel club memberships rely on high pressure sales tactics to generate business. In some cases, these products are sold without any type of cancellation or rescission period. Complaints against travel clubs memberships are especially common in Branson, Missouri- where many travel club scams seem to be based.
Mr. Berry states that he submitted a written cancellation letter within three business days, and has proof it reached the company because he sent the letter by certified mail. He states that he was not contacted by the company nor given a refund.
When the TV reporter contacted the owner of Time Out Access Travel for answers, he stated that the month-long delay and lack of contact regarding the refund was due to the relocation of the company's customer service department.
The article then quotes a local attorney Ken Anthony as saying that Berry's could have easily sued Time Out Access Travel and won in court. "If they failed to pay him it would be breach of contract because this is part of a contract that they've signed," he said..
My question is:
Just how many consumers would actually pursue a lawsuit to recover $1,200. lost in a possible travel club scam- and if they did so, just how much money would that lawsuit cost? Somehow I doubt that many attorneys would agree to pursue such a case without requiring a large retainer for their services.
Unfortunately, often the best strategy a consumer can pursue is to try and generate enough negative publicity to force the company's hand. The influence of the media can be a very powerful tool for consumer protection, and any consumer who feels they have been cheated should always be willing to use any tool at hand.