The Big Kahuna The California Sellers of Travel Law
The OSSN Agent The Official Newspaper of the Outside Sales Support Network
September / October 2001
By Al Anolik
ARTA General Counsel
The California Sellers of Travel Law was enacted in September 1994. “Sellers of travel” who are located in California, or located outside of California but selling into California, are required to register with the attorney general’s office and to pay a $100 per location fee.
California-based businesses commencing operations as sellers of travel are required to pay $378 per location (as of Jan. 1, 1999) to fund the Travel Consumer Restitution Fund (TCRF). The TCRF was set up to reimburse California consumers who purchase air or sea travel, whether alone or in conjunction with other travel services, from California tour operators or travel agents.
However, interpreters of the Sellers of Travel Law have expanded its scope to such degrees that serious constitutional questions have been raised.
Travel agents who are located in states other than California often think that the California’s Sellers of Travel law does not apply to them. However, if an agent has sold even one air or sea ticket to anyone in California since 1995, the agent is required to register as a seller of travel. That one ticket could include a ticket sold to parents or relatives, convention attendees or friends of your customers.
If you have clients who sell air or sea travel to anyone in California but are not registered with the state, they should be advised that each ticket could constitute a separate misdemeanor, which could subject them to liability in the form of a $10,000 fine per violation.
This is true despite the fact that the California consumer at issue will not be afforded the protection of the TCRF, because the travel agent or tour operator seller is not a California company.