Irate Class Sues NYC Travel Agency

     CHICAGO (CN) - A New York City travel agency took more than 100 people's money then canceled their European trip on short notice after its deceptive scheme failed to turn a profit, a couple claims in a class action lawsuit.
     Lead plaintiffs Thomas and Margaret Hoffman sued American European Travel, in Cook County Chancery Court.
     The Hoffmans say they had their bags packed and were "eagerly awaiting a nine day cultural tour of ltaly," when the defendant sent them "a casual email" falsely informing them that the trip had been canceled due to "overbooking."
     "This cancellation was not the result of an innocent mistake calculating the available spots on the trip but rather was the result of an undisclosed and unfair business practice," the Hoffmans say in the complaint.
     They claim the travel agent sold the same trip at two prices: one "at a price too low to make the trip profitable (or sufficiently profitable) in order to generate interest in the trip" and the other "at a much higher price which made the trip profitable to the defendant."
     But it never disclosed this, nor did it disclose "that it did not intend to provide the trip unless it could sell enough vacation packages at the higher price to make the trip profitable," the Hoffmans say in the complaint.
     They call this "fundamentally unfair," and claim the defendant "canceled the trips of over 100 consumers who had purchased their vacation packages."
     The prices this time around were $1,398 per person, $1,598 for single rooms, and the higher rater was $2,598, the Hoffmans say.
     They say the agency canceled the trip on four days notice.
     They seek class certification, damages and punitive damages for consumer fraud and deceptive trade.
     They are represented by Vincent DiTommaso with DiTommaso Lubin of Oakbrook Terrace.