A Paterson-based travel company has been ordered to cease operation and pay $277,000 for defrauding customers, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
Denyse H. Turner, owner of RX 4 Fun Travel, violated New Jersey consumer protection laws by accepting payments for travel and vacation planning services like hotels, flights, and cruise reservation only to fail to make arrangements or cancel after getting payments from customers, according to the ruling issued by Passaic County judge Thomas J. Laconte on Monday.
“Consumers who purchase vacation packages deserve to enjoy their time away, not end up stuck at home, dealing with the loss of their hard-earned money,” attorney general Christopher Porrino said. “We’re pleased that the court has approved our legal claims to protect consumers from this kind of blatant consumer fraud.”
Turner accepted payments ranging from $753 to $1,326 per person to make group travel and vacation arrangements for three travel groups made up of 47 consumers, according to the state.
The judge found Turner committed multiple violations of the New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and Advertising Regulations. She failed to make travel arrangements after getting payments, requested payment after telling customers she had made travel and vacation arrangement when no such arrangements had been made or had been made but cancelled.
Turner also requested additional payments to avoid cancellation of a reservation by airline when in fact no such reservation had been made, according to the state. When customers discovered the fraud, Turner failed to issue refunds after promising to do so.
Turner’s company website (pictured) made false claims like:
- “We realize that you have worked hard for your vacation – and our goal is to provide the best overall customer service for a meaningful vacation experience at a fantastic value!”
- “RX 4 Fun Travel LLC places a high value on quality and attention to detail, and will meet or exceed our clients’ expectations by continually updating our knowledge of the travel industry and our skills in the latest travel products and tools.”
“The defendants advertised custom travel experiences at fantastic values, but all consumers got for their money was the runaround,” said Sharon Joyce, acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “As the filing of this action shows, we will not allow unscrupulous travel agents to defraud people out of their vacation funds.”
The company’s website appears to have been taken offline.
Turner and her company were ordered to pay $235,000 civil penalties, $13,880 restitution to 15 consumers that were not able to recoup their losses through their credit companies or other means, and $27,695 in attorney fees and investigative cost to the state.
Turner and the company are permanently barred from advertising, selling, or performing vacation services in New Jersey. She is barred from owning, operating, or managing any vacation business in the state including her other company called With Purpose Events LLC.
Brian Penn of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs conducted the investigation that led to the fines and closure. Deputy attorney general Mark Critchley prosecuted the case.