INDIANA — Attorney General Curtis Hill alleged in a civil complaint filed in Marion County that a Florida-based travel and vacation company engaged in deceptive and unfair business practices that harmed hundreds of Hoosiers and violated Indiana laws.
Executive Tour and Travel Services Inc. offers travel certificates that are designed to make consumers believe they have been awarded a free vacation. They are provided as prizes and awards at a variety of events, such as motor vehicle dealer sales events, timeshare tours, cutlery demonstrations and more. The company says the awards are the “vacation of a lifetime” and “one of the finest lodging awards ever created!”
However, to activate their “award,” consumers are subjected to multiple hidden charges. After consumers pay the fees and choose a city and date for their vacation, they quickly learn that most dates are unavailable or are subject to further charges due to weekends, holidays and “peak seasons,” according to the complaint.
Many who submit their preferred destinations and dates never hear back from the company or are told their requests are “unavailable.” Of the nearly 500 Indiana consumers who paid the company an activation fee between Jan. 1, 2017, and Oct. 31, 2019, just 48 had hotel rooms booked for their use by the company, the complaint says.
“This company severely misrepresented the nature of its ‘awards’ and cost Hoosiers – most of whom never took the vacation they believed they would receive – thousands of dollars,” Attorney General Hill said. “We do not tolerate this deceptive and illegal behavior in Indiana, and we will fight for the Hoosiers subjected to these practices.”
Consumers could have likely booked the same hotel rooms themselves for less than Executive Tour and Travel Services charged the consumers in fees, the complaint says.
According to the complaint, the company’s practices violated the Indiana Consumer Deceptive Sales Act and the Indiana Promotional Gifts and Contests Act. The complaint seeks consumer restitution, civil penalties and to enjoin the company from taking any fees from Indiana consumers.