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Where to Complain

April 18, 1999

If you have a complaint with a travel-related company, here's the best way to get results:

First, write to the company that made you unhappy and keep a copy of your letter. If there is a reply, keep a copy of that, too, if you're still unsatisfied.

The organizations below accept complaints in writing. Of the groups listed here, ASTA and USTOA are trade groups that generally take complaints only about member companies. The state attorney general's office focuses on companies that do business in California. The federal Department of Transportation tracks complaints about airlines.

* Travel Consumer Restitution Corp., P.O. Box 6001, Larkspur, CA 94977-6001 (no phone or fax). A consumer protection group created in 1996 to protect California consumers who book travel services through California companies. A reserve fund of about $1.6 million has been established to reimburse travelers who don't get the services they pay for. Travelers who want forms to make a restitution claim can write to TCRC at the address above. Those who want to check on the registration of a travel seller, or alert officials to an unregistered travel seller, can call the state attorney general's office at (213) 897-8065 or fax the office at (213) 897-8846.

* American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Consumer Affairs Dept., 1101 King St., Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314; telephone (703) 739-8739.

* U.S. Tour Operators Assn., 342 Madison Ave., Suite 1522, New York, NY 10173; tel. (212) 599-6599.

* Better Business Bureau, 550 W. Orangethorpe Ave., Placentia, CA 92870. For complaints or general information concerning businesses in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, tel. (714) 985-8922. In Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, tel. (805) 963-8657.

* California Attorney General's Office, Public Inquiry Unit, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550; tel. (800) 952-5225.

* U.S. Dept. of Transportation, C-75, Room 4107, Aviation Consumer Protection Division, Washington, DC 20590; tel. (202) 366-2220.

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