Our previous blog article which was published today (http://wp.me/p1kmoi-jI) was an appeal to the Gran Canaria authorities to act against dubious holiday companies on the island, which damage the image of this lovely holiday destination.
In order to understand better what really happens we want all our blog followers to read the story below, the “real” experience as described by a British holiday maker that went to Gran Canaria and ended up in a sales presentation of Voyager Travel.
Voyager and Lifestyle Vacation is linked to another company called Claims Direct (www.claimsdirective.com) This company was set up late last year in Gran Canaria to run a Class Action scheme, ReclaimGC – www.reclaimgc.com – which it is mainly an excuse to sell his bogus holiday club Voyager – www.lifestylevacation.net (https://mindtimeshare.me/?s=voyager)
For privacy reasons we have taken out the surname of the consumers.
Myself (Mr XXXX) and my Fiancé (Mrs YYYY) took a holiday in Gran Canaria between Saturday 21 January until Saturday 28 January 2012.
We arrived Saturday night, went out had a few drinks and retired for the night (Playa del Ingles)
The next day (1st official day of holiday) we decided to get up early approx 10.00am and head to the beach. As we made our way, we were stopped by a street vendor who stated he was “Working on behalf of the Gran Canarian Tourist Office to promote Tourism on the island”.
We had no reason to doubt this. He gave us 2 scratch-cards, 1 which gave away free duty free items (cigarettes and a t-shirt) and the 2nd which told us we had won the STAR PRIZE either an Apple IPod 2, 600 euros or a free holiday. In order to ensure we received the STAR PRIZE we had to go direct to Arguineguin (Club Puerto Atlántico, CPA) in order to claim it. He told us that we would only need to stay 30 minutes, claim our prize, cigarettes and booze and we could leave. He told us he would get 100 euro because we won the STAR prize.
He shuttled us into a taxi to take us there (was a bit scary considering we have never been to Gran Canaria and we didn’t know where we would end up)
We were greeted at the door of Club Puerto Atlántico and taken upstairs where we had to wait around 20-30 minutes for an English speaking operator (called Charlie).
Charlie asked us quite a lot of personal questions around personal lives, work, holidays we take, obviously *profile building (to gauge what he could milk out of us, *only apparent now).
This rapport went on for approximately 2-3 hours where they had a product that would benefit us in the form of Voyager Travel. He explained that they could offer us 4-5 star accommodation for a fraction of the price, £199 for any holiday accommodation around the world. He gave us a quick demo of the voyager site we would be able to book our accommodation on.
After the 3 hour mark and showing us their pent-house suite within Club Puerto Atlántico, which was apparently at the £199 bracket (beggars belief now) he got his boss, Frank involved to talk about money, Charlie wouldn’t discuss money.
He started off by offering the package, documents enclosed for lifetime access to book through Voyager Travel at £12,000 sterling. I told him that I simply didn’t have that kind of money and was way above our means. He then upon hearing this offered us a reduced package which gave 12 years of Voyager usage at a cost of £6,000 sterling. I told him we simply couldn’t afford to pay this as I didn’t have that kind of money to hand over. He then asked me “what I could afford to pay” today and could I make a deposit today with the option of paying the rest over 10 months. Part of the deal would be 3 any location holidays where accommodation covered was free, 1 free week back in Club Puerto Atlántico (from the SCRATCH CARD win) and 2 cruises in Mexico and Caribbean (subject to terms and conditions which mean we would have to book the flights through the cruise company direct). These freebies would only be applicable on the full sum of £6,000 sterling (7,194 euro) being paid in full. He said I’m not a bank and suggested we take a loan.
He then suggested we pay a deposit of £2,000, then £1,500 and finally £1,200 which eventually we gave in and said we could pay £1,200 amount today. It all happened so fast and before we knew it, they had disappeared and got a girl from their office up to make us sign some documents (not all of which were signed, initialled by both parties (us and them) and took my debit card payment of £1,200. Is this document still legal because of the missing signatory and or initialling?
At no point, either verbally or written in to these documents was our right to change our mind (cool-off period in British Law, possibly EU Law), cancel or that what we paid on the day (initial deposit, £1,200) would be kept by them indefinitely if changed our mind.
On coming back to the UK both I and my fiancé had to work which distracted us about the dealings of this venture. We received an email from Voyager (attached) asking us how we intended on making payments (576 euro a month).
We decided to look into Voyager and couldn’t find anything positive about them and mostly if not all sites were severely negative.
We later find that the man behind the venture, Mr Eugene Kaiser was charged with fraud in 2003 and that most people reporting this as a Scam.
We then asked questions around what the likely costs would be for the cruises. They didn’t know and that we would find out when we paid the remaining balance (hardly reassuring)
From what we have read, others who paid the full amount found that the apparent £199 per accommodation was usually £399. The cruise flights alone would cost us in the region of £2,500,
At this point alarm bells started to ring and we decided that we had been duped and asked for our money back given that we couldn’t afford it anymore and the product wasn’t for us. There was no benefit in us paying £6,000 for something which the product was apparently saying we would save money on. (Accommodation at £199 for a week’s accommodation, it works out £449 based on the £6,000 we would have to pay upfront).
Given that we felt duped, we tried to get our money back; Voyager refused stating that we would lose our deposit. They never mentioned to us that they could do so, either in writing or verbally. They then offered us a lesser deal so that we wouldn’t lost out deposit which was if we paid another 3,600 euro they would offer the Voyager package for 6 years. But we would only get 2 free accommodations. (See attached email)
Please help us to get our money back as we really felt we have been duped and now our image of Gran Canaria is that we would never go back to the island based on this experience.
I look forward into you being able to help us reclaim our £1,200 back hopefully they have a case to answer on their contracts and dealings.
I may lose my job at the end of this month, which is typical of the UK economy today and this is a nightmare for us.
XXXXX & YYYYY