Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.
Attorney General Ashley Moody is taking action to claw back more than $7 million for consumers ripped off by a travel booking website.
Panama City Beach-based BookIt Operating acted as an online third-party intermediary for airlines, car rentals and hotels. It offered discounted, often nonrefundable, travel packages ranging in price from less than $100 to more than $10,000.
But the company allegedly failed to disclose to consumers that it did not have the money to pay for current bookings unless new bookings were made.
The practice resulted in thousands of consumers in Florida and nationwide receiving neither a trip nor a refund.
After an investigation, Moody’s office filed a lawsuit and a proposed consent judgment to see some of those consumers get their money back. The proposed judgment — agreed to by BookIt Operating — would require the company to return $445,000 in travel deposits to certain consumers related to the Florida Attorney General’s investigation.
Additionally, the company reports more than $6.7 million in relief provided after Moody launched the investigation, bringing the total to more than $7 million for Floridians and other consumers who filed complaints.
“Throughout the pandemic, we worked closely with Floridians to ensure they were not being taken advantage of, and through that process, we heard from consumers nationwide about thwarted travel plans and other issues they were experiencing with BookIt,” Moody said. “I am pleased that our involvement in this matter has resulted in millions of dollars in relief for those affected.”
The proposed consent judgment must receive court approval. If it does, BookIt must fork over an additional $448,000 within 14 days. The judgment also includes significant injunctive relief to prevent BookIt from engaging in similar practices in the future.
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