BOSTON – A Pittsfield, Mass.-based discount travel business and its affiliate have been ordered by a court to stop using alleged deceptive marketing to sell travel memberships, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced last month.
According to a statement, Coakley’s office sued the companies and their owners for offering memberships to book travel at deeply discounted prices, and misleading consumers into paying several thousands of dollars for promised benefits that were never provided or refunded.
The complaint, alleges that Berkshire Concepts LLC and Netrate Concepts LLC, together with their affiliate CRW Marketing Inc. and owners Charles Whiteman, of Dennis, and Daniel Merritt of Pittsfield, used high-pressure sales tactics to offer consumers free travel incentives and extreme discounts on travel. The companies instead charged consumers thousands of dollars for access to a “proprietary software” database that failed to provide the promised discounts.
The statement said that a preliminary injunction was entered prohibiting the defendants from violating the state’s consumer protection laws, including advertising “free” travel that requires consumers to pay taxes and fees, advertising access to nonexistent “wholesale” travel discounts, and holding consumers to a three-day cancellation period when they have not yet received access to the companies’ website. •