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Student Travel Shop Pays $30,000 in Consumer Claims

April 14, 2002|Jane Engle

Owners of the defunct Class Travel International Inc., which operated trips for high school and college students, have agreed to pay $30,000 in consumer restitution and legal costs in a settlement with the California attorney general's office.

In a lawsuit filed last year, the attorney general accused the Redondo Beach-based tour operator of defrauding consumers. Customers said airline tickets were not delivered, prepaid food packages were not honored and they were forced to sleep in lobbies or crowded rooms because lodging was not available, among other complaints cited by the attorney general's office.

"We vigorously denied the allegations" in the lawsuit, Geoffrey Gold, Los Angeles-based attorney for Class Travel, said last week. He acknowledged that the tour operator, which had said it served more than 30,000 students a year, "had some problems," but he said it also had "many happy and satisfied" customers. He added that the company settled the case because it "couldn't afford to fight it."

Separately, the California Travel Consumer Restitution Corp., or TCRC, has paid nearly $5,000 in claims against Class Travel, and more were pending last week, said Patricia Campbell, the president of TCRC. The quasi-public agency reimburses consumers when a California-based travel seller fails to deliver paid-for services. Gold said part of the settlement with the attorney general was earmarked to reimburse the TCRC.

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