Crosby Tours failed to provide trips to more than 130 consumers who paid in advance

NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 23, 2010) - New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has commenced legal action against Brooklyn-based Crosby Tours, Inc. and its principals for charging more than 130 consumers for tour bus services that were never provided and then failing to provide refunds after the company closed.

The Attorney General’s Office notified Crosby and its principals, Reed Elson, Frank P. Scarpinito and Monika Bialokur, of its intention to sue, seeking full restitution to victimized consumers as well as penalties and costs to the state. The matter is being pursued jointly with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, which will seek penalties and costs to the City.

Elson, Scarpinito and Bialokur previously worked for Biss Tours, a company that was the subject of legal action by the Attorney General’s Office and Department of Consumer Affairs in 2008 for refusing to refund consumers for trips that never took place.

“This tour bus company booked trips, took money, and then shut down without delivering on its promises,” said Andrew Cuomo. “When customers reached out for help to the company, they were left without answers, and so today we are taking legal action.”

“New Yorkers who saved their hard-earned money for well-deserved vacations deserve their money back and we are working to do just that,” said New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan B. Mintz. “We urge New Yorkers who find themselves in a similar position to call 311 so we can help.”

The joint investigation revealed that Crosby accepted advance payments from consumers for future tour bus services which they failed to provide. The company closed down in November 2009 without providing refunds to consumers whose trips never took place. In one instance, Crosby changed the tour pick-up time without informing consumers, causing some of them to miss the tour.

After an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Consumer Affairs concluded in March, Crosby’s principals sent refund checks to only some of the victimized consumers. Many consumers have still not been paid refunds.

Consumers who did business with Crosby Tours and believe they were defrauded are urged to contact the Attorney General’s Office at 800-771-7755 / www.ag.ny.gov or the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs at 311 / www.nyc.gov/consumers.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General-In-Charge of the Brooklyn Regional Office Lois Booker Williams and Assistant Attorney General Melvin Goldberg under the supervision of Consumer Frauds & Protection Bureau Chief Joy Feigenbaum, Deputy Bureau Chief Jeffrey Powell and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Maria Vullo. At the Department of Consumer Affairs, the case is being handled by Jacqueline Cheney, Starr Counsel of Research and Investigation, Deputy Director for Research and Investigations Dawn Yuster and General Counsel Marla Tepper.

Attorney General Cuomo and Commissioner Mintz urge consumers who are considering hiring a travel service or agent to consider the following tips:

* Book trips with a reputable vendor. Contact the local consumer protection agencies, such as the New York State Attorney General or the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, to check if the travel business has a history of complaints. New York City residents should call 311 to check the complaint status of any business.
* Double check all the details especially when vacations are booked through a third party travel agency. Get all the contact information for the trip, such as charter buses, rental car companies, hotels and airlines and then verify the arrangements.
* Get all the details of the trip in writing, including cancellation fees and the businesses’ refund policy. Consider travel insurance for added protection.
* Pay with a credit card. Many credit card companies can provide customers with refunds when there is a dispute about the services delivered. However, consumers should only provide trusted businesses with credit card information.

Comments

  1. My mother in law was one of these victims and thank god she was one of the lucky ones who got her money back recently. I hope they take these people to the cleaners and get everyone's money back.

    ReplyDelete

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