World Cup promotions lead to fines for travel firms

There was no big delay in the national consumer organizations moving against what it saw as untrue promotions of travel to the World Cup next year.

The agency, the Comisión Nacional del Consumidor, has levied fines on four travel companies because they promised customers tickets to World Cup soccer games.

Only Viajes Colón  has a relationship with the soccer championship organizer, and only that company can make such offers, the consumer agency said.

Fined were Destinos TV S.A., Condotropic Sport S.A., Times Square Travel Agency S.A. (also doing business as Agencia de Viajes 2000) and Ludierpress S.A. (doing business as Servicios Turísticos Escazú), said the agency in a news release.

The fines were about 2.2 million colons each. The consumer agency is part of the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio.

The specific allegation, which was brought by Viajes Colón, was that the promotions were misleading and left out clear and truthful information, said the agency.

Professional soccer is controlled by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association.  Viajes Colón has an agreement with this association, known as FIFA to market a hospitality package that includes tickets to soccer games, travel and housing.

Part of the problem is that the soccer federation changed the way admissions are handled this year, noted the consumer organization.

In past years, many firms offered complete packages including game admissions.

If soccer fans do not want to purchase a package through Viajes Colón, they have the option of purchasing tickets via the association Web site, Several thousand Costa Ricans are expected to travel to Brazil next June to see the national team participate in the world tournament.

The travel agencies  have the right to appeal the fines that have been levied.

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