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1 800 SkyRides lawsuit settled. Important information regarding the settlement order here

There are some legitimate companies out there that sell gift certificates for soaring rides or other aviation sports.  "Soaring Adventures" is one such organization and, in fact, is an SSA Business Member.  However, in recent years, a number of soaring clubs and commercial operators – as well as other sport aviation groups such as sky diving and ballooning operators – have been victimized by other groups who do not appear to be legitimate.

These groups are known to have operated under the names "1-800-SkyRide," "Thrill Planet," "Soaring Sports" and similar names. These companies advertise that they sell gift certificates for balloon rides, glider rides, skydiving, and other aviation adventure activities. After collecting a charge for the gift certificate, the companies either represent that a reservation has been made for the gift recipient at a particular sport location or that the gift certificate can be presented at a location of the recipient’s choice.

While apparently these outfits do in fact have some sort of business relationship with at least some soaring clubs or commercial operators, in many – if not most – cases there is no such relationship. Thus, when the recipient of a gift certificate arrives at the designated locale, he or she discovers that no reservation for a glider ride has been made as represented and that the club or commercial operator has received no money for the promised ride. Some soaring clubs that have accepted the gift certificates have found it impossible to collect any money from the companies that sold them. The result is that either the soaring operations lose money attempting to maintain goodwill or someone who was eagerly looking forward to being introduced to our sport is turned away, becomes angry and is looking to blame the glider club or operator.

Fortunately, the Georgia State Office of Consumer Affairs (the primary players in this affair apparently live or office in Georgia) had received so many complaints about 1-800-SkyRide and it’s related companies that the Georgia Attorney General sued under that state’s consumer protection laws to enjoin the owners of these ventures from engaging in deceptive practices. SSA has learned that the lawsuit was settled, on August 18, 2008, by the entry of a Consent Order, now filed of record in the Superior Court of Fulton County Georgia in Cause Number 2007CV134640, State of Georgia v. Cary V. Quattrocchi, et al. A copy of the Consent Order, in pdf format, can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

The Consent Order, among other things, forbids the defendants and their associated companies from falsely representing that they have an affiliation with any soaring club or other sport aviation group when no such affiliation exists. If the defendants comply with the decree, it will put an end to the most abusive practices previously engaged in by these defendants.

SSA encourages all soaring clubs and commercial soaring operations who may have had trouble in the past with this scam to read and be familiar with the terms of the Consent Order. If a similar situation occurs in the future, you should contact the Georgia Office of Consumer Affairs at 1-880-869-1123 and register your complaints with that office. We would also encourage anyone experiencing future problems of this type to contact SSA’s Chief Administrative Officer, Denise Layton, at 1-505-392-1177 so that we can monitor compliance with the Consent Order.

Finally, we note again that Soaring Adventures is known to be a legitimate organization.  Nevertheless, we encourage you to take care and to know the source of the gift certificate before accepting any of them.


Posted: 9/5/2008