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Travel clubs accused of violating consumer protection laws

Several interrelated companies have been accused of violating Ohio's consumer protection laws. According to a lawsuit that was filed by the state's Attorney General, the group of companies used deceptive business practices when they sold travel club memberships to their customers. Furthermore, it was suggested that when customers tried to cancel their memberships, the companies did not honor their cancellation policies.

The lawsuit states that the companies mailed postcards to consumers offering A2Z travel club memberships. The postcards claimed that the recipients might receive prizes like airline tickets and vacation packages. However, the postcards did not reveal that listening to a two-hour sales presentation was required to qualify for the prizes.

Enrollment fees for the travel club membership that was being sold at the sales presentations cost as much as $8,000. In addition, annual dues were around $200 to $300. Although the membership's cancellation policy allowed consumers to back out within three business days, the policy stated that a processing fee of $399 plus 15 percent of the membership price would still be charged. Some customers claim that they were unable to get any refund when they canceled their memberships. Ohio consumer protection laws also make it illegal to penalize consumers for canceling this kind of contract.

Before a company begins selling a membership, it may be important to work out the details of the membership contract with a business and commercial law attorney. An attorney may be able to help the company to avoid contract disputes by ensuring that its contracts comply with all of the current consumer protection laws.

Source: NBC 24, "DeWine files suit seeking consumer restitution from travel club companies," Christopher Burns, April 25, 2015

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