Legal Question in Consumer Law in Florida

My question: Does a Florida-based travel company have to observe the Florida state statute "Sellers of Travel Act" regardless of the purchaser's state of residency?

Back story: My fiancÚ just registered for a cruise in Florida for June of 2010. She had responded to a promotional mailing and called the Florida-based travel agency, Caribbean Cruise Line, to get more details. The sales rep (and his manager) were very smooth-talking, pushy types and were not really giving her time to think things over, pressing for immediate registration and payment. Normally my fiancÚ is very leery of these types of offers, but this time she let her guard down because it was for our honeymoon and she wanted to get a good deal. After registering, she went online and did some digging on this company. It turns out that this company has countless complaints against them for false and/or misleading advertising, failure to perform contractual obligations, and extremely poor customer service, among other things. Upon discovering this, she immediately called the company back and requested a refund. They flat-out denied her request, stating the company has a 'no refunds' policy. She recited the Florida state law "Sellers of Travel Act" section 559.933 which covers vacation certificate cancellation and refund provisions. This reads: "--It shall be unlawful for any seller of travel or assignee: (1) To fail or refuse to honor a purchaser's vacation certificate request to cancel if such request is made: (a) Within 30 days from the date of purchase or receipt of the vacation certificate, whichever occurs later." It goes on but this is the part that applies to our situation. The rep then told my fiancÚ that they do not have to observe this statute since she does not live in Florida (she lives in Ohio). My question is this: does a Florida-based company have to observe the Florida state statute "Sellers of Travel Act" regardless of the purchaser's state of residency? Thank you for any assistance you can offer.

Asked on 12/30/09, 10:22 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Alan Wagner Wagner McLaughlin, P.A.

Yes. They need to follow the florida law. Make sure your refund request is in writing, sent by fax and registerd mail, return receipt requested.

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Answered on 1/04/10, 10:56 am
Steven Meyer CPLS, P.A.

It makes no difference where you are. The important thing is that the travel seller is in Florida, and must obey Florida laws.

We have handled many cases against travel agencies and would be happy to speak to you about the situation. We offer a free initial consultation.

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Answered on 3/21/10, 1:15 pm

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