Local News

Trust in Vacation Network Travel Club Being Shattered

Posted September 11, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— It could take all year to save for a family vacation. A good trip can cost a lot of money, often money that is put in a travel company's hands. Consumers believe they can trust that their money will be safe, but for some in the Triangle that trust has been shattered.

About 350 people purchased pre-paid vacations from Vacation Network Travel Club in Raleigh. They paid in advance for vacations they planned to take later, but North Carolina Attorney General Mike Easley says Vacation Network can not make good on its promise to provide those vacations.

When Carol King joined the Vacation Network Travel Club, she was promised access to a 24-hour discount vacation hotline. She booked a vacation at a Cape Cod resort condo. She ended up in a motel efficiency.

And King isn't the only customer filing complaints. Seven customers have filed formal complaints with the state attorney general's office.

According to Easley, Vacation Network Travel Club does not have enough money to deliver on its promised vacation destinations. The company also does not have access to international locations and can't provide discounted air fare as promised. The company's attorney, Robert Morton, says Vacation Network can and will deliver.

The state has obtained temporary restraining order that forces Vacation Network to put 75 percent of all money coming in now into escrow. The company has also volunteered to stop selling new memberships, at least until after the two sides go back to court next week.

If you think you have been unfairly dealt with by Vacation Network, you should contact the attorney general's office. If you are thinking about joining another vacation club, be sure to double check on where your money is going and check for references. It is also a good idea to pay with a credit card, so the payment can be cancelled if a problem arises.

Photographer:Ed Wilson