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Holiday scams

You may receive a phone call at home telling you have won a free holiday, or you may be on holiday and be handed a scratch card saying you have won a holiday. To claim your prize you normally have to attend a presentation which is usually held at a plush hotel – the representatives look professional and the brochure will look glossy. However, the presentation will be very long and you will be subjected to the hard sell in order to convince you to purchase holiday club points. You will discover your ‘free’ holiday isn’t free as you will more than likely have to pay for flights and other add-ons, or the times and departure airports are limited. What these companies don’t tell you is that you are not necessarily given a chance to cancel if you have second thoughts, and that there is no law covering holiday clubs like there is for timeshare agreements.

Don’t be pressurised. These companies will try and get you to sign up on the day and you may feel pressurised to put your signature on the papers. This may be because the deal they offer is for that day only, or you may be desperate to leave and signing seems the only way out. Think before signing anything – read the contract carefully and thoroughly. Ask yourself if the contract provides you with cancellation rights in case you change your mind, is everything you were promised in the presentation identified in the paperwork, can you afford it?

For further advice, contact the Citizens Advice consumer service.

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