Travel Company Owners and Employees to Pay $200,000 in Restitution for Selling Over-Priced Vacation Club Memberships
Settlements Resolve AG’s Lawsuit Against Multiple Travel Businesses and Individuals Involved in Scheme; Hundreds of Consumers in Massachusetts to Receive Restitution
BOSTON – The owners and former employees of travel companies based in Plymouth and Methuen have agreed to pay more than $200,000 in restitution to settle allegations that they sold over-priced vacation club memberships by using deceptive sales and marketing tactics, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
“These defendants colluded to persuade consumers to overpay thousands of dollars for vacation club memberships through a misleading marketing and sales scheme,” AG Coakley said. “These final judgments will permanently prohibit these entities from conducting this type of business in Massachusetts.”
The consent judgments file size 7MB, filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, concern the sale of memberships for the Outrigger Vacation Club by Charles Caliri and his company, C&S Marketing, Inc., and Richard Cardillo, Joseph Lento, Mandred Henry and Richard Ciavola.
Both Caliri and Cardillo are co-principals of sales operations at Plymouth-based Only Way 2 Go Travel and Methuen-based Fantasia Travel.
Today’s judgments call for the defendants to pay more than $200,000 in consumer restitution, and permanently prohibit each of the defendants from marketing or selling vacation club memberships in Massachusetts.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed in July 2010 and amended in 2011 to include Illinois-based Travel Services, Inc., alleged that the defendants conspired to lure consumers to sales presentations using deceptive mail and telephone solicitations, and then subjected them to high pressure sales pitches containing myriad misrepresentations and omissions designed to induce consumers to purchase Outrigger Vacation Club memberships.
The complaint alleged consumers entered into the membership contracts based upon false promises that they would receive better-than-Internet, wholesale prices on vacation packages, cruises, accommodations and other travel services. Instead, consumers allegedly left the sales presentation venues having spent thousands of dollars on vacation club memberships that were essentially worthless when compared with travel arrangements they could make online, or by calling airlines, hotels and resorts directly.
Upon filing, the Court issued a temporary restraining order barring Caliri from disposing any assets, including funds held in bank accounts. In May 2012, following a 3-day trial, the Court found Caliri in contempt of the order based on his withdrawal of over $430,000 from multiple bank accounts the day after the temporary restraining order was entered and awarded the Commonwealth $310,000 in civil penalties arising from the withdrawals. The Commonwealth is currently engaged in collection efforts.
The AG’s Office previously settled claims against Travel Services, Inc. and its principals Christy Spensberger and William Bailey in July, for $50,000 in consumer restitution and an injunction permanently prohibiting them from marketing or selling vacation club memberships in Massachusetts.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Gillian Feiner and Sara Cable of Attorney General Coakley's Consumer Protection Division, with assistance from paralegal Krista Roche, also of the Consumer Protection Division, and from Anthony Crespi of the Civil Investigations Division.