Travel firm targeted again over refunds due customers County consumer official says injunction, punitive damages may be sought

September 09, 1997|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

The head of the Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs says the agency will take additional action against an East Columbia travel firm for failing to make refunds to disgruntled customers.

Stephen D. Hannan, administrator of the county office, said Interlink Travel Network Inc. is not giving refunds to customers, as the firm recently agreed to do.

"There are no second chances. The agreement was a second chance," Hannan said yesterday.

Hannan said he might request an injunction to force the company to pay the refunds. He said he may also seek punitive damages.

Michael F. Callahan, Interlink's attorney, said he had not talked to his clients and could not comment on the county's actions.

The company is based in Waldorf and has an office at 5457 Twin Knolls Road in Columbia's Oakland Mills village.

The county office fined the company and ordered it to grant all of its 500 vacation club members the chance to cancel their contracts because the contracts did not include a required 10-day grace period for customers to cancel.

The company said in an agreement Aug. 15 that customers who wanted refunds would get their money back within 15 days. Hannan said there are 11 customers who have not received refunds within the allotted time.

The county investigation began after customers complained that they could not get their money back after canceling a vacation contract, which sometimes cost as much as $5,000.

To join the vacation club, members pay a $99 annual membership fee and then purchase certificates for vacation time that can be redeemed over a period of years. In the Howard area, much of the business is for condominiums at the beach.

Pub Date: 9/09/97

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