Texas Attorney General Reaches $74K Agreement with Travel Service Businesses
AUSTIN - Vacations to South Padre Island were one of the gifts offered by companies now named in a Texas deceptive trade practices case.
The Texas attorney general reached an agreement with Joseph Brandon Shirley and Randy Lee Gardner over allegations their travel service operations violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and other Texas statutes. The businesses named in the agreement - Exciting Travel Destinations LLC, Alamo Guest Services, and Vacation Inspirations, LLC. – operated out of offices in San Antonio.
The state claims the men reached customers through phone calls and flyers distributed on sidewalks and offered gifts in exchange for attending a presentation about their travel club membership. The gifts offered included vacations to South Padre Island, tablets and $100 dining gift cards.
The flyers stated people were “guaranteed to receive [the gifts]… for just participating.” But they didn’t state how long the presentation was, the retail value of the gifts or whether the trips to South Padre Island included airfare, lodging or both.
Some customers said they never got the gifts guaranteed. Others reported buying a membership and not being able to sign up for vacation promotions. Several customers told the state they thought they were signing up for services with Alamo Travel Services, another business not connected with Shirley or Gardner.
The state alleged other complaints included misrepresenting the savings promised to consumers for services and refusing requests to cancel memberships. After consumers filed complaints, Shirley and Gardner provided the state documentation of refunds issued to some consumers.
Respondents have agreed to pay $74,995 in consumer restitution, civil penalties, and attorneys’ fees in favor of the State of Texas.