Tips Or Identifiers To Verify About Professional Travel Businesses

A sobering article appeared this morning that should have never been printed. It is news of a N.C. travel agent arrested on fraud charges for accepting monies for deposits on Hawaiian vacations from consumers and then canceling the trips without refunding these dollars. (per the 03/27/08)

Consumers have a way to prevent this by asking the correct questions and qualifying information about the companies they do business with. This does not always prevent mishandling of fees though. There are additional resources of further verifications in the travel industry like the seller of travel registration programs in such states of California and Florida.

In California and Florida, there is an additional protection known as the “seller of travel” registration laws which businesses need to participate in when they sell to residents of these states. Specifically, in California, as of 2007, all seller of travel businesses, including ground companies (examples: transportation over land – limousine, motor coach, charter tour), are required to register with the state of California.

Selling travel includes all types of travel – a fun trip with your group in a motor coach for the evening to your local downtown for entertainment AND week long vacations, cruises, and air – travel adventures you enjoy. Consumers may receive more information of the California seller of travel program at: and the Florida seller of travel program at:

Travel businesses in these states are required to renew their registrations annually and must follow certain highlighted procedures (and more):

1. Display this registration number on all advertisements, including business cards, flyers, and websites, “visible” to the consumer. You will recognize this as: CST (or FST) # XXXXXXX-XX.

2. Establish a bank account or trust fund to be used for consumer deposits only, until the trip or vacation has taken place. Businesses may not co-mingle funds received from consumers with regular business funds until after the completed travel.

3. Sellers of Travel businesses need to have the established liability insurance to be eligible for participation.

As a seller of travel business in the state of California, you are required to participate with the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation along with the regular Seller of Travel program. This is an additional agency where consumers who are residents of California may apply for refunds of monies that were not returned to them or failed to comply with the conditions stated in cancellation agreements.

Any business selling travel to consumers in California and Florida should acquire this registration in these states whether or not they are located in the respective states. Yes, even larger, household named corporations and organizations, need this identifier and sometimes fail to show this on their advertising materials.

Remember, there is another registration, a TCP license, a ground transportation company must additionally maintain with vehicles in California. Other states have additional procedures to comply with which your Travel Consultant should be able to provide information free of charge to you.

Additional information may be found at the named websites mentioned in the beginning of this article and if you have additional questions please ask your Travel Consultant and/or call these agencies as this only skims the surface of this issue. These programs have been in existence for many years – to protect consumers.

As mentioned earlier in this article, any professional seller of travel business in California and Florida will be delighted to offer free information to you about this protection. These business owners follow these procedures for any consumers in any state. And, these business owners rest peacefully at night knowing funds are set aside for the consumer to enjoy.

This article is written to increase awareness of the additional identifiers for the consumer to ask questions and should not be used as a legal document. Additional questions should be directed to designated agencies as mentioned. Owners of Seller of Travel businesses should be able to provide information and direct you to these agencies when asked.