Tourism Co. slaps illegal travel agency with ‘cease and desist’ order
In keeping with its role of overseeing agencies and tour operators in Puerto Rico, the Tourism Company issued Thursday a “cease and desist” order against Mayagüez company JD Reservation Services for operating as an unlicensed travel agency.
Tourism Co. Executive Director said the company promoted offers for trips to Orlando that included breakfast, transfers and meals in various municipalities including Aguadilla, Hatillo, Camuy and Quebradillas, without proper authorization or endorsement from the agency. The company is registered in the State Department as an agency dedicated to making hotel vacation reservations.
Through Law 212 of August 2003, the Tourism Company is legally authorized to regulate, investigate, intervene with and penalize individuals or entities engaged in selling tickets for trips within or outside of Puerto Rico, or that make reservations for accommodations, entertainment, ground transportation and/or sell of travel packages.
“As a result, we have a responsibility to protect both travel agents and wholesalers who comply with the law, and citizens who come to them for their travel arrangements,” said Rivera-Marín, who is also Consumer Affairs secretary. “We will not allow these people to operate illegally, and like we did today in Mayagüez, we will be proactive in monitoring and penalizing them.”
Moreover, the Tourism chief advised citizens to be alert to fraudulent deals from companies that present themselves as reliable travel agencies.
Given that this is not the first time the agency has addressed these types of incidents, it has drawn out a list of consumer tips to inform travelers on the various forms of fraud that have arisen in connection with the sale of travel packages.
Travelers should be aware of people who approach schools, churches or sports teams to offer packages, since on many occasions people who have purchased them find out later that the product does not exist or that the reservation is not real.
“It is important that they ask the person offering the service which travel agency they work for, and prior to any transaction, contact the Tourism Company and verify if they are authorized,” Rivera-Marín further noted.
There are some 250 authorized travel and wholesale agencies on the island.