What To Do When You Have a Complaint

If you have a complaint against a travel-related company, here's the best way to get results:

First, write to the company that made you unhappy and keep a copy of your letter. If there is a reply, keep a copy of that, too if you're still unsatisfied.

The organizations below accept complaints in writing. Of the groups listed here, ASTA and USTOA are trade groups that generally take complaints only about member companies. The state attorney general's office focuses on companies that do business in California. The federal Department of Transportation tracks complaints on airlines.

* Travel Consumer Restitution Corp., P.O. Box 6001, Larkspur CA 94977-6001; telephone (415) 461-9734; fax (415) 927-7698. New consumer protection group created in 1996 to protect California consumers who book through California companies. A reserve fund of about $1.2 million to reimburse travelers who don't get the services they pay for.

* American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Consumer Affairs Dept., 1101 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314; tel. (703) 739-8739.

* U.S. Tour Operators Assn., 342 Madison Ave., Suite 1522, New York, NY 10173; tel. (212) 599-6599.

* Better Business Bureau, Los Angeles Chapter, 3727 W. 6th St., Suite 607, Los Angeles CA 90020. For complaints from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, tel. (714) 527-1195. From Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, tel. (805) 963-8657. For general info., tel. (213) 251-9696.

* California Attorney General's Office, Public Inquiry Unit, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550; tel. (800) 952-5225.

* U.S. Dept. of Transportation, C-75, Room 4107, Aviation Consumer Protection Division, Washington DC 20590; tel. (202) 366-2220.

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