The OFT has obtained enforcement orders in the High Court against two companies and seven people stopping them using sales and marketing practices the OFT considers to be misleading or otherwise unlawful when selling and marketing holiday club memberships and other holiday based products.
Interim enforcement orders were obtained against Personal Travel Group Limited (PTG), Geo Demographic Market Research Limited (GDMR) and two people who are directors of PTG and were directors of Incentive Leisure Group Limited (ILG). Final enforcement orders were obtained against five people associated with PTG and GDMR, one of whom was also a former director of ILG. (No interim enforcement order was sought against ILG as it is not trading and is in liquidation in Gibraltar.)
The OFT was concerned that holders of timeshare products attended presentations on the promise of being able to dispose of their timeshares, with their maintenance charges, when in fact they were subjected to lengthy and high pressure sales pitches to be sold expensive holiday club memberships costing large sums, sometimes up to £12,000. Sales staff told these holders they could get back up to 95 per cent of these sums under a ‘reclaim’ scheme but did not explain the restrictions that applied, and often played on their fears that their children would otherwise be liable for timeshare maintenance fees. Many consumers then wished to cancel their holiday club memberships but were not allowed to.
Jason Freeman, Director in the OFT’s Goods and Consumer Group, said: ‘The enforcement orders put a stop to activities that we consider to be unlawful, and which we believe were causing serious harm to consumers.
‘It is important that traders do not mislead consumers or exploit their fears in order to make a hard sell. In particular, these are contracts where we believe consumers should have been given cancellation rights and we are pleased that the traders have accepted that they have to give notice of such rights in accordance with the law.’
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See ILG’s April 2011 update here: