Holiday club scam highlights dangers posed by travel industry

It seems that every industry has its scammers, and many of their schemes are becoming so sophisticated that even the savviest of consumers don’t see them coming. The travel industry is no exception. Scammers understand the lure of sunshine and beaches when it comes to convincing people to part with their money.

Marion and Thomas Black recently fell victim to just such a scam, after being handed a ‘winning scratchcard’ while on holiday in Tenerife. A rep drove them to an office to collect their prizes – a tablet computer and a sunshine break. As part of the process, they were persuaded to sign up to a holiday club. They were told that the club provided discounted hotel accommodation for the next ten years, so they only had to pay for flights.

The couple handed over a deposit of £1,000, then paid the remaining balance (the club cost nearly £5,000 in total) after returning home, following a number of calls from British Travel chasing up the payment.

The terms and conditions revealed that the couple had actually been duped into paying to use a website on which they could search for holidays, flights and accommodation for the next ten years. They tried to book through the site, only to find out that the dates and locations they wanted weren’t available. Furthermore, the small-print revealed that no “promises, verbal or implied, are valid.”

“It is sad to see how companies prey upon hard-working families and use their desire to enjoy their leisure time against them. Pressurising people into signing up for services that they don’t fully understand is all too common. We’ve seen it happen time and again in the timeshare industry, as well as across the wider travel sector.”

Mark Rowe, Timeshare Compensation

For those who find themselves signed up to timeshare contracts that weren’t what they were expecting, there is at least the possibility of escaping from the commitment. Contracts that last longer than 50 years, or that involved people handing money over during the ‘cooling off’ period have been deemed illegal by the Spanish supreme court, as have contracts for ‘floating week’s products.

“Pressurised selling tactics are still used across the timeshare industry, but thankfully people now have more legal options when it comes to challenging such tactics. Timeshare companies that don’t act as they should now face a much tougher time in the courts, with many being ordered to pay compensation to those who have bought into timeshares that weren’t what they were sold.”

Belinda Rollins,

With any form of timeshare ownership or club scheme, it’s important not to sign up straight away, no matter how convincing the sales patter might be. For those who do find themselves signed up to a service they weren’t expecting, companies such as Timeshare Compensation can help to explain their options.

“We can advise consumers on how they can challenge their timeshare ownership and what the process is for doing so. Empowering consumers in this way can help them to review their options and plan their next steps.”

Mark Rowe, Timeshare Compensation

For more information, please visit, call 0800 046 5855 or email

Timeshare Compensation and are a trading names of Advanced Business Consultants Legal SL.

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