Report: #31201

Complaint Review: Travelbridge International, Inc., Travelbridge South Texas, LLC and others

  • Submitted: Thu, September 26, 2002
  • Updated: Tue, October 01, 2002
  • Reported By: Missouri City TX
  • Travelbridge International, Inc., Travelbridge South Texas, LLC and others
    12922 Willowchase Drive
    Houston, Texas

Travelbridge International Inc. LLC Misleading Offers of Travel Agent Rates & Free Promotional Trips Houston Texas

*Consumer Comment: Response to questions

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According to Texas Sec. Of State Office (TXSOS), Travelbridge has temp good standing since the TXSOS Office has not received either annual franchise tax report or public information report that was due 9/9/02. Travelbridge has grace period until 11/8/02 or will in violation and have to resubmit papers to do business in Texas. Texas registered agent (who is served for Texas lawsuits)is: CT Corporation System 350 North St. Paul Street Dallas, TX 75201 Donald Eastvold, Jr. and Kenneth Lacy are listed officers and there are no dba. Small claims court for Travelbrige Houston office in Harris County is Precinct 4. The phone number is 281-446-7191. A petition form can be requested. After a demand registered letter is sent to Registered Agent and all addresses you need, a lawsuit can be filed for $65 to file and papers served ($75 if CT Corp is served or out of county). I sense that Travelbridge is pulling out of Texas and high tailing it back to California or Arizona or anywhere to avoid more lawsuits. Many offices and phone numbers have changed. Most people do not return phone calls until sent registered letters. Texas Attorney General represented a class action suit that ruled March 2002 against Travelbridge using 'travel agent rates' or other similar terms in describing benefits their members are entitled to and ordered Travelbridge to pay $200,000 to claimants, which averaged only $120 per claimant in June 02 for each $4,390 average membership. This suit is Cause 01-811 in the 14th District Court, Dallas County, Texas. Local Houston Channel 2 news station warned viewers of Travelbridge's deceptive trade practices months ago and recently announced Travelbridge is not selling new business in Texas. There are at least 20 reports of disgruntled Travelbridge purchasers with Houston Better Business Bureau. On 6/01 at Tomball Parkway office that has now moved to 12922 Willowchase Drive, Houston, TX 77070, my husband I feel Travelbridge representatives used deceptive promises and trade practices, violating Section 17.46(a) of Deceptive Trade Practices Act, to entice us to sign an associate travel agent membership contract for travel commissions and discounts. We were led to believe that we would be entitled to travel agent rates and privileges. We were told with our Travelbridge Travel ID card, we could upgrade to first class if an airline had space. Travelbridge added (after 9/11) a $10 airline travel processing fee with all travel. We have not received any benefits and do not expect to receive any commissions or discounts concerning travel from Travelbridge. All Travelbridge travel quotes to us in the past year have been equal or higher than quotes directly from commercial airlines as United or Continental. Travelbridge ID card is only honored with Travelbridge. Sometimes, it takes days for Travelbridge to return our phone calls for travel quotes. We have yet to take 'free' Vegas vacation as promotional to get us to listen to original sales pitch. All our selected dates were not available. We just gave up trying to get the trip. From others' adverse reports and warnings, we are hesitant to use Travelbridge for travel arrangements as we are most likely not to receive travel on dates or discounts or commissions promised. Recently, Travelbridge refused to return our membership fee. They said they do not sell memberships any more but only have the obligation to fulfill and provide requested travel services. I was reminded that the agreement stated that we acknowledge that there have been no oral or written representations made to me, other than those set forth in my associate travel agent agreement or in the checklist". I was also reminded that signing the settlement check releases and fully discharges Travelbridge of all claims and cancels our agreement. 1)Has anyone recovered any money directly from Travelbridge or a credit card company or sued Travelbridge? Has anyone filed (and what were the results) of reports with Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, National Foundation for Consumer Credit, The Texas Secretary of State or other agencies? 2)Has anyone filed a lawsuit? Does anyone know if I can file a small claims lawsuit against Travelbridge although I opted in to TX Attorney class action lawsuit even though I do not cash settlement claim check from the final judgment? Do I sue companies on agreement, owners, registered agent of state of where signed agreement; or county where I lived, now live or signed agreement? I understand defendant has right to be sued in county/precinct which he resides. Can Travelbridge move suit to non Houston area location? Agent in Dallas? or Office out of Texas? 3) Is agreement binding if signed with enticement or deception even though contract states that there are no oral or written other agreements? If agreement not legal then can I get money back without proving anything except deception? 4) Is agreement binding if there are untrue statements, as Travelbridge is a member of ARC (Airline Reporting Corp.) when ARC states Travelbridge is not a member? 5) Must Travelbridge obtain some kind of license to operate in Texas? 6) I was told that I could possibly be awarded 3 times $5,000. How can that be if $5,000 is limit in small claims court? Can I sue Travelbridge for $4,390 I paid for travel agent associate membership in addition to court costs, postage for demand letters and my reasonable attorney fees (total over $5,000)? 7) In small claims court, do parties pay for their own attorney no matter who wins? 8) Can a group of us file a class action lawsuit? There must be a lawyer that was duped like many of us? 9)Any other suggestions to recover money from Travelbridge? Linda Houston, Texas Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on TravelBridge TravelEz

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on TravelBridge TravelEZ

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#1 Consumer Comment

Response to questions

AUTHOR: Mark - ()

My answers to your questions.....

1) I did get a refund prior to the settlement with the Texas AG. This was back when Travelbridge actually cared about bad publicity and I was threatening them with pickets, TV Stations and more. Recently I have had contact with a couple of people that have gotten refunds through their credit card company mainly because Travelbridge failed to respond to the credit cards inquiries regarding disputes.

2) I started down the small claims court road. It looks like you have done your research. Since you haven't cashed your settlement check I don't see why you couldn't sue them. My guess is that they will fail to appear for the hearing, you will win by default, but since Travelbridge apparently has no assets in Texas, you will be unable to collect any settlement. On your other questions, contact the court clerk for help. Since the place of business was in Harris County, the suit should remain there if you file it there. Since you are suing under Texas Law it can't be moved out of state. However I think the only way you might ever collect a settlement would be to file suit in Arizona against the owners under Arizona law if they violated it. Even that might be problematic since your contract was made under Texas Law.

3) My opinion is that the agreement is worthless and is in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The Texas AG obviously agrees since they went after Travelbridge on this issue. Once again you are back to Answer 2 though.

4) I don't think this matters, but you would probably have to prove that not being a member of ARC somehow reduced the value of the product.

5) I don't know the answer to this, but I think the travel agent industry is self-regulated with groups like IATAN.

6) $5000 is the limit in small claims court. To get more you would have to file in a regular civil court. Small Claims Court is designed as a means to settle smaller disputes without attorney's etc.

7) Another one for the court clerk.....I suppose the judge could add attorney's fees to the settlement as long as it doesn't exceed $5000 total in small claims.

8) The answer here might be a federal class action lawsuit assuming that there is some basis under federal law for that lawsuit....or a lawsuit in Arizona assuming that Arizona law has been broken. Aside from organizing a lawsuit, I think the problem will be finding a lawyer to take it on unless it can be shown that the defendant has very deep pockets that are vulnerable to such a lawsuit and that is questionable. Who knows what happened to all that money.....could be in a swiss bank account by now.

9) None, but I am not a lawyer. I've been following this for a long time and have spoken to many other victims. I think at this point that your options are limited and the options that do exist will require some extraordinary effort. I really wouldn't expect Texas courts to help out very much only because I think Travelbridge has pulled all of its assets out of the jurisdiction of Texas courts making it impossible to collect a judgement. All the rented offices that still exist have rented furniture and rented computers and probably even rented employees....nothing that you could seize.

Good Luck!!!
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