YTB, the travel agency that has been accused of running a multi-leveling marketing pyramid scheme, won’t have to appear in an Illinois courtroom in the near future.
That’s not to say it’s off the hook for the labels — just that the former YTB referring agents, as they’re known internally, haven’t done a good job of explaining their position. U.S. District Court Judge G. Patrick Murphy declared the complaint paperwork from the group action “a good deal of flabbiness in the sprawling pleading before the court consists of paragraphs of legal argument challenging the courts earlier dismissal of the ICFA claim of the non-Illinois plaintiffs.”
Had he himself been more pithy, that would read, “I’ve already told you that non-residents can’t file in this lawsuit.”
This same judge, however, did tell an Illini gentleman who filed a case in June that his original complaint wasn’t the U.S. District Court for Southern Illinois’ venue, but he could refile if he shows how the gripe “implicates consumer protection concerns.” So the show could go on.
Meanwhile, YTB is settling a similar lawsuit brought by the attorney general in California.
Yet the outcome in any courtroom shouldn’t matter to a hill of beans. For starters, if the travel industry deems that it has a rogue player in its midst, the other players certainly have the strength to shut it down. Take, for instance, the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), which implemented tougher standards to join and attain accreditation this year. Pure MLM recruiters don’t have time to earn no stinkin’ badges. And as more suppliers demand a CLIA or IATA card to claim a discounted price on tours, this forces folks to either get educated in the field or scrub the perks.
MLM recruiters are big on perks.
Some suppliers, like Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line, simply refuse to accept bookings from YTB agents. This, of course, forces the serious travel agents to move to host agencies that are in good standing. And never underestimate the power of snubbing: A common observation among YTB agents is that they are treated with disdain when they call suppliers for quotes and questions. It may be high schoolish, but it did work then and continues to work now.
Finally, there is a third leg of this stool known as personal responsibility. Anyone who forks over money to buy a YTB franchise today and claims they were duped can’t spell YTB at Google. The accusations, complaints and earnings reports are extremely visible. They’re currently selling stock at .12 a share, according to Motley Fool — yet another pithy remark from someone in authority.