ATLANTA -- Delta Air Lines says a ring of criminals is using its name to sell bogus travel club memberships.
In a lawsuit filed Oct. 11 in federal court in Atlanta, Delta says those involved in the scheme have mailed out "massive" numbers of letters and postcards falsely claiming to be from Delta to individuals across the United States.
The mailings tell the recipients they have won free round-trip airline tickets.
When the recipients call to claim the tickets, they are pressed to buy memberships in "vacation clubs" or similar "travel clubs" that promise steep discounts on future travel. The victims are sometimes enticed to attend in-person sales meetings. But the buyers often don't get the promised airline tickets and ultimately find the club membership is worthless, Delta says.
Victims find that when they attempt to redeem vouchers for tickets, they have to pay taxes and fees that may exceed the retail purchase price of the airfares.
"If the recipient does, in fact, pay the specified fees and taxes and does, in fact, receive something in return, he may still find that the absurdly broad limitations and restrictions on the round-trip airfares render them essentially worthless," Delta says.
Delta says it's been unable to learn the identities of those involved in the scheme.
"In some instances, the wrongdoers are separate entities (many or all of whom know of the fraudulent nature of their joint campaign) working in concert," Delta says.
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(Atlanta Business Chronicle)