MONTVALE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There are few things people look forward to more in life than a nice vacation.
However, for some New Jersey residents, who thought they had everything arranged with a great deal to boot, it turned out to be a disappointing and expensive scam.
When one New Jersey couple got a postcard offering a free cruise for joining a vacation club run by Global Travel Solutions, they looked into it.
“The pitch that appealed to us was the fact that you could get vacations for 80 percent less than you would at a normal travel agency and, of course, that free cruise,” they told CBS 2′s Don Dahler.
But after they paid the $2000 membership fee, trouble started when they tried to book the free cruise.
“I started emailing these folks, then that’s when they came back to me and said, ‘I don’t know where you got the idea that you’re getting a free cruise, you’re supposed to be getting a discounted travel plan,’ and I said ‘That’s not what I was told,’” the victim said.
Thomas Calcagni, of the state Consumer Affairs Division is suing Global Travel Solutions and its owner, Jason Krieck, saying the sales pitch was a scam.
“So we’re talking about no free gifts, no discount travel packages and essentially no refunds no matter what,” Calcagni said.
One of the things the agency would allegedly do is lure customers to its Montvale offices offering free trips and discounts if they listen to a sales pitch. But when we went there, the doors were locked and the building completely empty.
The Attorney General’s office said between 2010 and this year, Global Travel Solutions bilked 54 people out of between $1000 and $9000.
“Many of these people that have been victimized are the kind of people that can least afford it. They’re looking for deals because the economy is so tight,” Calcagni said.
It was a hard lesson to learn that when it comes to vacations, freedom isn’t always free.
However, the state is seeking full restitution for the 54 people allegedly scammed by the travel agency.
At a hearing earlier Tuesday, a judge put a freeze on all of Global Travel Solutions’ assets.
Have you ever been victimized by a travel scheme? Tell us in the comments section below…