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State sues travel agency

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Jun 27, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Wednesday announced a lawsuit charging Now or Never Travel, Inc. of Westlake and its owner Rick Kenney of Vermilion with failing to honor consumers' cancellation requests and failing to provide rebates.

"Our primary goal is to recover money for consumers," DeWine said. "We tried to resolve the issues out of court, but we still have dozens of consumers who are out thousands of dollars, and we are moving forward to seek restitution for them."

According to the lawsuit, Rick Kenney operated Now or Never Travel from 159 Crocker Park Blvd., Suite 400, in Westlake. The business offered travel services and sent direct mail solicitations inviting consumers to attend sales presentations at local hotels.

Consumers were led to believe that they would receive rebates and discounts when they booked their travel plans through Now or Never Travel. However, dozens of consumers filed complaints saying they did not receive rebates as promised or were unable to cancel their contracts. The Ohio Attorney General's Office currently has more than 45 unresolved complaints against Now or Never Travel, with consumers claiming nearly $157,000 in losses. The Better Business Bureau has received additional complaints.

The attorney general's lawsuit, filed in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, charges the business with violations of Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Solicitation Sales Act. In the lawsuit, the Attorney General seeks consumer restitution, injunctive relief, and civil penalties.

Attorney General DeWine offered consumers the following tips for entering into travel agreements:

    * Research the company's reputation. Check complaints filed with the Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau.

    * Be prepared for high-pressure sales tactics. Before attending a sales presentation, develop a plan for handling aggressive sales pitches. For example, refuse to make a payment before taking the contract home to review.

    * Keep in mind that if you sign a contract outside a seller's normal place of business, such as a hotel or your home, you generally have three business days to cancel the contract. Sellers are required to give you notice of this right.

    * Check the contract for specific terms and conditions. Make sure you understand the refund policy, and insist that the seller put any verbal promises in writing.

Consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly by Now or Never Travel, or any business, should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.

Copies of the lawsuit and a Now or Never Travel membership document can be read by clicking on the links below.

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