The Office of Fair Trading has issued a warning to consumers about bogus holiday clubs as part of its ‘Scams Awarness Month’.
It said 400,000 UK consumers fall victim to these clubs every year at a cost of over £1 billion.
Members of the OFT’s ‘Scambusters’ team have been leafleting holiday makers at Cardiff, Gatwick and Stansted airports, warning them of the tactics used by bogus holiday clubs and how to avoid being taken in by them.
Many consumers are approached on holiday by a ‘scratchcard tout’, according to the OFT.
“The card will always be a winner but to collect your prize you will need to attend a presentation to learn more about a new holiday venture,”
said a spokesman.
“The presentation will be held at a professional looking sales ‘deck’ where you will be made to feel as if you are joining an exclusive club. The truth is that, more often than not, you could obtain the same holidays at the same price via the Internet or at your local travel agency.”
The OFT is working with the Spanish European Consumer Centre to warn consumers of the slick sales techniques used.
Mike Haley, head of Scambusters at the OFT, said: “Unscrupulous holiday club companies often don’t deliver what they promise and leave consumers thousands of pounds out of pocket.
“If you do go along to a presentation ask the company three simple questions: Do you give cooling off rights? Is everything you promised in the presentation in the contract? Can I take away the contract to consider at my leisure? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then simply walk away.”