- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 24, 2000

Virginia Attorney General Mark L. Earley and the Federal Trade Commission have filed a federal complaint accusing Med Resorts International of travel-related fraud.
The complaint says Med Resorts and a string of affiliated companies violated state and federal laws by misrepresenting the benefits and costs of a long-term vacation travel membership.
"Hundreds of Virginia customers have been given the runaround, steered to places they don't want to go, or told nothing is available for trips and vacations they had been looking forward to," Mr. Earley said in a statement. "When travel companies make promises to consumers, they have an obligation to fulfill those expectations."
Med Resorts, headquartered in Clearwater, Fl., sold vacation-club memberships that promised consumers anywhere from three to 30 weeklong vacations at luxury resorts around the world. The vacations could be taken anytime during a five-to-30-year period.
However, when members attempted to book vacations the resorts were rarely available, according to the complaint.
The price of the membership ranged from $2,500 for a 10-week package to $12,955 for a 30-week package. Consumers were required to make immediate down payments and sign contracts to pay the balance over a period of years.
More than 300 complaints have been filed in Virginia against Med Resorts since 1991.
Earlier this week, the attorney general and the FTC seized Med Resorts' assets, which included a sales office in Fairfax County.
The Med Resorts complaint is part of "Operation Travel Unravel" a program targeting fraudulent travel operations investigated by the FTC and state law-enforcement agencies around the country.

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