(WJHL) – The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office announced a $3 million settlement with vacation sales company Festiva Wednesday.
The state previously sued the company over allegations Festiva operated a telemarketing and direct mail enterprise that used “fraudulent and deceptive tactics to lure Tennesseans into attending high-pressure sales presentations designed to sell them expensive vacation memberships and products.”
As part of the settlement, Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III said Festiva agreed to pay $1,250,000 in restitution and up to $1,000,000 in loan forgiveness and make a $750,000 payment to the state.
“Tennessee prides itself on being one of the top tourist destinations in the country,” General Slatery said in a release. “Our office has zero patience for the type of activities exhibited in this instance and will take swift action against companies that do not play by the rules. We hope this settlement will remind consumers to always do their homework and research a company before turning over hard-earned dollars to that company.”
According to the state, certain customers who previously bought vacation or timeshare products from Festiva will be eligible to have those contracts cancelled and receive partial refunds for the money they have paid to date. Some customers will also be able to have the entire balance of their loans with Festiva forgiven, according to the state.
“According to complaints reviewed by the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, consumers were misled into believing they had won or been selected for a valuable prize, but to claim the prize, had to comply with many undisclosed requirements including a lengthy, high-pressure sales presentation,” the state said. “Once consumers purchased their vacation or timeshare products, they learned the vacations were different from what was promised at the sales presentation or during the telemarketing call. Onerous rules and terms allegedly made the products difficult to use, and desirable vacation locations were difficult to book because of unavailability.”
If the state believes you are impacted by this settlement you will receive notice in the mail in approximately a month. If you believe you may be eligible you can call the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office by April 30 at (615) 741-1671.