Summer comes to an end, and emails start coming in from consumers who signed up for all kinds of holiday products during their summer break.
And not surprisingly we have gone back to the stories of scratch-cards offered in the streets of Tenerife, popping into a meeting to pick up the prize and coming out of there after hours and hours, drained and with a signed agreement in their hands.
The latest one we have heard of is the scratch card prize that takes you to a meeting where the company ABTG Advantage British Travel Group is offering their product.
The product they offer seems to be a trial membership, which gives you access to a “travel system” that, provides discounted travel such as accommodation and flights.
This membership is offered for different amount of years, with the shortest being the 2 year one.
They also add 2 weeks of prepaid vouchers.
The paperwork indicates you become a member of Top Travel Europe and they handle all reservation requests.
Top Travel Europe has a website www.toptraveleurope.net where you can only access their reservation system with a client code.
The company Top Travel Europe is registered in Holland.
On their website there is no contact address for their offices.
In the paperwork it is pointed out that the Dutch law governs the agreement and it clarifies the consumer is not buying any property or timeshare.
That might be correct, but the consumer is buying into a membership with duration over 12 months, and purely related to holiday products, and this does fall under the European Law, which stipulates clearly that the consumer should be offered a 14-day cooling off period with no exchange of money.
The agreement also mentions a yearly fee of 75 euros, which has been scrapped by hand with a pen and noted as N/A. It is not scrapped though from the list of obligations of the members, so which one is the valid one?
The consumer is actually buying from ABTG Advantage British Travel Group a Spanish registered and based company and acting on behalf of Top Travel Europe.
The email address for ABTG is firstname.lastname@example.org and they do not seem to have a domain name or website.
Telephone number (34) 922 456 773
The purchase of the membership and 2 weeks of prepaid vouchers requires a payment on the day.
It is worrying that consumers have mentioned that on the day they attended this meeting, the credit card machine was not working and they were kindly accompanied to the nearest ATM machine to get the money and pay to ABTG.
Obviously in this way you are paying in CASH and the payment is not covered by any protection such as the consumer act for credit card payments.
Consumers should be careful when running into these so called “OPC” workers in the streets whilst on holidays, who offer scratch cards and promise great prizes that just need to be picked up.
Do not let your guard down, and always allow yourself a decent cooling off period before signing any paperwork or paying any money.
There is no such thing as offers only valid on the same day!
Have you experienced something similar on your holidays and would like to have more information? Please contact us through the CONTACT FORM or place a comment on this blog.