I may be on the verge of getting my refund after four months of effort. It was an arduous process, perhaps prolonged by my overly calm, polite nature. Apparently one gets faster results by going berserk.
Everyone, whether you got a refund or not, should file a complaint with the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs: 973-504-6200. You must call this number, and explain (slowly and clearly) which case you are talking about. They may have to shift you to their Camden office. Eventually you will get a nice woman named Mimi, who will send you the proper form. She told me that they have been inundated with addition complaints once the case hit the news. Do not imagine that you are alone!
The state case against this travel scam is very much alive. However, you can file your own suit: if you lost more than $3000, you must file in the Special Court in Morristown, NJ, at the County Hall of Records. Go to Room 227. They have all the forms, and they will show you what you must fill out. It you go to court, chances are very good that the travel-scammers will not even show up. Or, if they don't answer the first notice, the case may be declared in default even without a court appearance. When that happens, all you will get is a computerized post card saying that your case is in default. Then you must immediately copy your receipts and your complaint statement (these constitute your "proof"), and go back to Room 227 to apply to have the court make a default judgment in your favor. It only takes a few days then before you get a second postcard saying that you have won a default judgment.
Then comes the problem of collecting. You have an advantage, now, though, because the travel-scam is now your debtor, and you have certain rights. You can research their operation, for example, because it is part of your attempt to collect. You can legally snoop around. You can visit their office (wherever their new one will be), repeatedly dunning them, and asking for your money. They can give you a hard time, but they cannot have you arrested for trespassing as long as you are there for a legitimate business purpose. They prefer that you not come when they are preparing for one of their presentations — which means that that is the best time to show up. Take a camera, and take notes of everyone you encounter and talk to. Keep your eyes and ears open.
Also available from Room 227 is a handy little pamphlet "Collecting a Money Judgment." It tells what you do to go after the debtor (in order to recover your money). The people at the courthouse may tell you that you have little or no chance, but it all depends on your persistence. Pick which strategy you want to use from the pamphlet, and follow all the directions to the letter. Don't be surprised if the debtor/scammers ignore your efforts, but it really gets to them. They are hoping that you will get tired and just fade away.
You can also call the travel club's lawyers in Philadelphia: call Rich Gallucci at (215) 241-8886. It is hard to get through to him, but when you do, explain that you have a judgment against their client, and you would like them to settle. I suspect that this helped me, because they are in enough legal trouble now that their lawyers probably are telling them to clear all the pending judgments.
When you go to Room 227, you can also ask to see the filings of other people against Five Points Travel or Bentley Travel, and you might try calling some of those people if you think that it would be a good idea to join forces. I think that several couples walking into the new travel office at about 4:15 pm, just as they are receiving new "marks, " would be a very effective way to get their attention. Or another idea: you could have a different couple drop in each day, and cover the whole week (Tu-Sa). If you have an extended family, you could also have them help with these visitations, as your representatives, or just come with you to increase the bulk of your collective presence, and to prevent the scammers from inventing some story about how you mistreated them.
Now about BoA. Don't jump to conclusions. The travel-scammers pretend that they are off getting a "loan" for you from BoA, but all they are doing is charging your new credit card. They say that they can give you a discount because they have a "deal" with BoA. This is news to BoA. The only deal they have is the papers you signed, and the new BoA account. I still think that BoA is grossly negligent in not vetting business accounts, and covering much to long for an obvious criminal operation. But on the other hand, they are being used by the travel-scammers. It's true that they are rolling over and letting themselves be used, but to imagine a grand conspiracy between the travel-scammers and BoA is probably erroneous, but just what the scammers would like you to think. Remember that they thrive on the false illusion that they are big players. They also will occasionally talk tough, and try to intimidate you. These are actually cowardly crooks, who cringe at the thought that you might find where they live, and whose boss shields himself from any public contact by interposing dutiful underlings. You see, it is really true: vampires don't like the light.