Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Did we have a lucky escape from a timeshare scam?
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Monday 12 August 2013
Q We recently fell for an old scam to attend a presentation by a company selling a “holiday club” deal in Tenerife. Fortunately we decided to do our due diligence rather than sign on the day. We asked for a business card and some telephone numbers of existing clients as well as an email documenting what we had been told. None of this was forthcoming. Did we have a lucky escape?
A Well, some would say your mistake was to get involved at all with the touts who prey on holidaymakers in the Canary Islands and other popular destinations. They no longer sell “real” timeshare, since this industry is now tightly regulated. What instead they mostly deal with are “holiday clubs” where you are promised all manner of benefits in return for several thousand pounds.
The hard sell is done very skilfully, with nothing written down – just inflated promises of access to illusory hidden deals. The firms involved generally secure a deposit, and a signature from the buyer, and then pursue the balance – with no “cooling-off” period allowed.
You certainly took the right precautions in postponing a decision. If only everyone was as sensible as you in performing due diligence during these presentations, there would be far fewer sad stories about people squandering a fortune on worthless products.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
- 5 Teen suffers embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in front of deputy PM
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
£24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...