For Immediate Release
November 15, 2013
James T. Boffetti, Senior Assistant Attorney General
Attorney General Joseph A. Foster announced today that his office has entered into an Assurance of Discontinuance with two discount travel-related organizations that have been doing business in New Hampshire. The Assurance of Discontinuance states that Coastal Management and Consolidators and Saver Express, LLC, offered discounts on travel and vacations to New Hampshire consumers, but that those discounts appeared to be illusory.
According to the document filed today with the Merrimack County Superior Court, some New Hampshire consumers received a post card promising free airline tickets plus a hotel stay if the consumer calls the phone number on the card within 7 days. Upon making the call, the consumer would learn that attendance at a sales presentation by Coastal Management and Consolidators, LLC, was required before the free gifts would be available. During this presentation, the consumer would be asked to purchase membership in a travel club operated by Saver Express, LLC. The consumers were told that this club offered the lowest travel deals available.
The Assurance identifies five actions taken by Coastal and Saver that constitute unfair or deceptive acts or practices. These include advertising that a consumer has won a prize when, in order to obtain the prize, the consumer is required to pay $249.00 for a one-year membership in the buying club; operating a buying club that charges membership fees in excess of $35.00 without posting a surety bond to protect buyers; failing to disclose members' rights; requiring a member to waive his or her right to dispute a charge on his or her credit card; and informing members that the administrative fee is non-refundable, when the consumer has a 3-day right of rescission.
As part of the Assurance, Coastal and Saver have agreed to cease doing business in New Hampshire - including the mailing of post card solicitations - unless and until they are fully in compliance with all applicable New Hampshire laws. Coastal and Saver have also agreed that they will provide corrected membership agreements to all New Hampshire members within 60 days of the Assurance. Coastal and Saver agreed that they will respond to consumer complaints forwarded to them by the Attorney General's Office within 2 weeks, and they consent to review and monitoring by the Attorney General for three years. Coastal and Saver will each reimburse the State for the costs of the investigation.
"New Hampshire laws regulating buying clubs and offers of gifts and prizes protect consumers from unfair or deceptive acts," Attorney General Foster said. "My office will continue to strictly enforce these and other laws intended to protect consumers. These two companies have agreed to come into compliance and to pay our costs to investigate. We will continue to take necessary action to ensure that all those doing business in New Hampshire treat New Hampshire consumers fairly and in accord with our laws."
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301