State Attorney General Ashley Moody announced last week she is taking legal action to ensure that consumers recover more than $7 million from the Florida-based online travel company BookIt Operating, LLC.
According to an investigation by the Florida Attorney General’s Office, BookIt acted as an online third-party intermediary for airlines, car rentals and hotels. The company allegedly failed to disclose to consumers that it did not have funds for current bookings in the absence of new incoming bookings, and thousands of consumers in Florida and nationwide were left with no trip and initially no money back.
Moody’s office filed a lawsuit and a proposed consent judgment that requires payment of more than $445,000 to return travel deposits to certain consumers related to the Florida Attorney General’s investigation. Additionally, the company reports more than $6.7 million in relief provided after Moody launched the investigation, bringing the total to more than $7 million for Floridians and other consumers who filed complaints.
“Throughout the pandemic, we worked closely with Floridians to ensure they were not being taken advantage of, and through that process we heard from consumers nationwide about thwarted travel plans and other issues they were experiencing with BookIt. I am pleased that our involvement in this matter has resulted in millions of dollars in relief for those affected,” Moody said.
BookIt offered discounted, often non-refundable, travel packages ranging in price from less than $100 to more than $10,000. The company cooperated with the investigation and claims that the cancellation of all travel and failure to fully refund consumers was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the proposed consent judgment, which is subject to court approval, an additional $448,000 must be paid by the defendant within 14 days of the entry of the judgment. The proposed judgment also bans the defendant from engaging in unfair and deceptive conduct related to selling travel.
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