AG Bondi shuts down Florida travel company Map DestinationsStaff Writer | February 13, 2017
Attorney General Pam Bondi announced an agreement that permanently shuts down a travel company operation and stops its alleged deceptive sales tactics.
Tourism The company defendants misled consumers
Additionally, Attorney General Bondi reached a separate agreement with Thomas Bradley Middleton, who solicited consumers to listen to Map Destinations’ sales pitch. Map Destinations is a travel company operating out of St. Augustine.
After Attorney General Bondi’s Office obtained a temporary injunction and asset freeze last year, the court-appointed receiver for Map Destinations determined that the company could not be operated legally and shut the business down.
“Tourism is vital to Florida’s economy and we will not tolerate anyone using deceptive or unfair trade practices to take advantage of people trying to take a vacation,” said Attorney General Bondi. “This settlement will help better protect travelers no matter their vacation destination.”
The defendants sold travel club memberships to consumers for thousands of dollars.
Map Destinations promised consumers that these memberships would provide access to discounted travel available on a members-only website and a toll-free customer service line staffed by travel experts.
Consumers complained that Map Destinations and its owners overstated the savings and nature of the travel benefits available through its travel club memberships and engaged in deceptive sales tactics at sales presentations.
As part of the settlement, the travel company and owners are banned from selling travel club memberships in Florida for five years and agreed to relinquish previously frozen assets.
From the dissolution of these assets, $300,000 will be made available for consumer redress. Map Destinations agreed to cease all operations and dissolve the company.
The defendants are also barred from disclosing the personal and financial information of Map Destinations’ customers.
Additionally, the settlement imposes a $500,000 penalty if Lehman or McIntyre violate the five-year prohibition and a $25,000 penalty if Middleton violates the five-year prohibition. ■