Yes, it is the time of the year again where we can see it coming… the unfortunate stories of holidaymakers who attend Bogus Holiday Club Presentations and end up buying into a dubious membership, DVD’s or holiday credits they don’t really want or need.
There are different ways to end up in a Bogus Holiday Club presentation.
- Presentations included in promotional Accommodation Offers, the so-called Fly buy holidays.
- Presentations you have to go through as you just won a prize with a scratch card in the streets and in order to pick up the prize you have to listen to a presentation.
- An invitation to a meeting about the resale of your timeshare or a possible refund claim, which turns out to be a presentation for another product.
If you do attend such presentation, be sure to take the following advice with you.
- To avoid temptation, don’t take your credit or debit card with you.
- Ensure you get a full written description including fees, legal rights and obligations.
- Make sure you know the company’s address and take notes of what is said if possible.
Don’t buy on emotion. Too many times the consumers get caught up in the emotion of the moment and make a purchase they later regret, and have little to no recourse to get out of it. No matter what arrangement you are presented with, do not commit to a purchase while at the presentation unless you have already researched the pros and cons of the membership. If possible take the documentation home or to your hotel and take the time to read through it and fully understand what you’ll be agreeing to.
There is no such thing as a free lunch. Prizes and incentives offered as part of a presentation may have “small print restrictions.” Know what they are before you accept them. Too many times there are registration fees per person and the obligation to purchase the flights with the company offering a “free cruise” or booking fees for the supposed “free week holiday”.
Read what you’re signing. This might be a tricky one, as we all know that the paperwork is most of the times presented after hours and hours of presentation, and given in a pile to be signed one after the other. But it is very IMPORTANT to make sure the paperwork agrees with what you have been told and what you have been explained about the purchase.
If you have been told you are buying into a 3 or 6 years membership of a holiday club or if they tell you they will buy back the credits after 14 months, then the paperwork should reflect this! Make a note of everything you were promised, and make sure it’s in the agreement. If it’s not, refuse to sign
Cancellation rights. Ask about your cancellation rights and get them in writing. If you’re signing in a European Economic Area (EEA) country, remember that European regulations give you 14 days to change your mind and NO money should be paid on the day!
Allow yourself a cooling off time and time to do research. All the things you have been told at the presentation by the sales representative regarding the company he /she works for, the product they are selling or even about your current holiday ownership, please make sure these statements are correct. Don’t be caught by surprise on issues you never “knew” about and take their word for granted. Especially those consumers who attend meetings thinking their current timeshare will be sold there and then, or a meeting with a claims company who guarantees a 100% refund on the timeshare purchase. Statements such as “we are connected to the large travel companies”, “all timeshare is in perpetuity”, “the only way out is through buying into our product”, or “we can do a claim for you”…are all things that need to be verified and confirmed. Do lots of research. Research the company and ask for several references. Check other suppliers and compare prices.
Don’t confuse Bogus Holiday Clubs with Timeshare! Many times people are talking about timeshare when in reality they attended a meeting of a Dubious Travel Membership Club who certainly has nothing to do with timeshare. Actually the law regulates Timeshare, and these laws are very strict on Consumer rights. A timeshare company will always inform you about your cancellation rights, cooling off period, there is no deposit taking and the paperwork reflects the purchase correctly.
Remember, you DON’T have to buy it. Bogus holiday club presentations involve high-pressure sales tactics. If you don’t think you can handle it, don’t go or leave when you start feeling uncomfortable. If you are on a promotional stay, make sure you have read the terms and conditions about attending the meeting. Don’t let any sales person scare you with the statement you will have to pay for the full accommodation. And if you were taken from the streets and don’t really know where you are, then tell the reception person to call you a taxi. The taxi will be cheaper than buying into something you don’t want or need!
If you leave emotion out of the purchase, know what you’re signing, and are prepared as much as you can be, you can successfully avoid a holiday nightmare.