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What is holiday club fraud? In holiday club scams, people are tricked by unscrupulous holiday club operators into spending thousands of pounds on so-called once-in-a-lifetime discounted holidays to some exotic locations. However, after registering for the plan, the victim gets nothing; they lose their holiday and hard-earned savings.
The typical bait and trap techniques offer holiday club memberships of different clubs with ultra-luxurious holiday plans offering deluxe breaks at package holiday prices, or people are offered luxury holiday trips as gifts and prizes in return for attending a presentation.
Most such offers are sold through pressure selling methods where the drinks flow and the clients agree to the offer, and by the time they realise the risks, they have no right to cancel.
Most customers get legal protection from timeshare scams, but holiday clubs are not linked to any specific property, so they do not get any shield.
What is Timeshare fraud? Timeshare is a holiday ownership plan where you purchase rights to spend time at a holiday property, a villa or a holiday apartment, usually for a week or month each year.
Timeshares offer the investor the opportunity to live in a holiday resort or a group of resorts where they are offered on-site amenities like bars, swimming pools, restaurants, sports facilities and others.
Frauds from a company pretend they are offering a discounted opportunity to the buyer for a timeshare, and they may also pretend to be interested in buying a timeshare from the target buyer. Frauds exploit the timeshare owners who want to sell/ exit their timeshare.
They always find ways to extract money upfront as an introduction fee to tell you about the plan or to provide an exit. They pretend to be the buyer for the target who wants to sell and ensure the target only sells by offering huge charges.
Beware of plans that seem too good to be true, and you must not buy holidays through presentation.
You can refuse to see a presentation anytime and do not assume you need to sign anything because you attended a meeting or viewed the presentation.
You must not sign without reading the terms and always check documentation carefully or ask the seller to provide you with forms or documents that you can read at your place before signing any agreement.
Always carefully check the small prints as any verbal promise someone makes may not apply legally, and you should ensure to get everything in writing, especially the cancellation rights, at any stage, especially if you suspect fraud.
If someone calls or messages with numbers not in your contact telling you won a prize or a free holiday or someone offers a chance to earn through investing in timeshare accommodation, get forewarned.
You may be approached when you are on holiday by someone who pretends to offer a free return journey to join the holiday club, and when you are free to watch a presentation to claim the free return offer, you are pressured to sign a contract.
In most holiday frauds, you book holidays that do not exist, but in holiday club frauds, you are offered a real holiday but asked to pay in later stages. You may get messages, letters, phone calls, text messages or emails on social media from firms you do not know who claim you won a free holiday trip.
You may be approached by such teams when you are on holiday to join for free or see a presentation. Some scam teams contact you and offer gift cards or scratchcards where you always come out as a winner.
If you agree to see the presentation, you are offered glossy brochures and other marketing material to make the offer look legitimate. You may be pressured to sign a contract when you agree to watch the short presentation.
The fraud teams may provide you with free alcohol and other refreshments at presentations or personal meets to push you to accept to sign up. If you sign the contract, you will be informed about the small prints on the form asking you to pay certain hidden charges or taxes for registering, which ultimately direct you to the payment page.
Also, you will be offered a holiday on dates chosen by the offerer, and you do not get the option to select your dates for a holiday. Sometimes, the property where you register on holiday does not exist, or you find the destination below the standards compared to the one described in the presentation or the brochures.
In recent timeshare frauds, it has been found that most victims are ex-owners of failed holiday clubs, and the call has all the information about past ownership.
Sometimes, the pensioners are informed that there has been a court case in some places like Spain over their ownership, and the court offered a substantial sum of money to recompensate for the previous losses. The fraudsters ask the victim to follow a request for the money transfer and pay the court fee and local taxes to release the awarded money.
If you have been forced to pay into unscrupulous deals, report to the Action Frauds and raise concerns.
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