Vacation schemes take the fun out of holidays

Last Wednesday Consumer Line published the story of Willy Nel who complained about Holiday Club which he says he was hoodwinked into joining years ago.

Last Wednesday Consumer Line published the story of Willy Nel who complained about Holiday Club which he says he was hoodwinked into joining years ago.

Nel says he paid the required amount, but has never enjoyed the free holiday he was promised and 10 months after paying off his debt Holiday Club sent him a further bill for R1952.

Since then Consumer Line has been inundated with consumers who have had similar experiences.

Most said the manner in which they were recruited was deceptive.

"No one ever explains to you that you will be liable for further payment, which I think is contrary to the provisions of the National Credit Act," says Sibusiso Kubeka.

Kubeka says early this year two men enticed him to complete a free holiday competition form.

"Seven days later I received a telephone call from Andre Mynes of Fun Seekers who congratulated me on winning a free holiday," he says.

But to claim this free holiday Kubeka had to attend a presentation held at the Royal Hotel in central Durban which he attended.

"This was where their agent Tankiso swept me off my feet, and I instantly completed their forms agreeing to become a member," says Kubeka.

The contract amount pitched to him was only R6000 which he would pay off in small installments until the debt was extinguished.

But Kubeka did not read the fine print in the contract and he now owes Fun Seekers R20800.

"In October I paid R7000 in two instalments after I was threatened with legal action," he says.

"Selling these shares is not so easy because they refer to personnel who are just not willing to help you sell them, which confirms they are selling a service they cannot provide."

Alex Nkoenyane says: "Your article reminded me of how Carl John Attorneys slapped me with a bill of R27500 early this year."

Nkoenyane says his misery started on September 11 last year when he attended a Quality Vacation Club presentation which, he says, was misleading.

"Before the presentation we were told that whether we took their packages or not, we were guaranteed to receive quadbikes on the day of the presentation," he says.

Nkoenyane says the full contract amount was R27500 but he was urged to pay a deposit of R158000 on the spot which he did not have.

"I told the agent I could not raise that amount and that I needed to weigh my financial position until this September, but Bruce, the agent, went ahead and processed my application instead of cancelling the contract I had completed," says Nkoenyane.

Because of the action of Quality Vacation Nkoenyane says he now cannot open a cheque account and has been listed as a bad payer.

Richard Motshegwa of Mogwase in North West Province also wants to cancel his membership with Holiday Club. He says he paid his contract in full but has not been able to enjoy the promised holiday.

The Timeshare Institute of South Africa has now agreed to address Nkoenyane's complaint.

And Holiday Club has now advised Nel to sell his points "seeing that he has invested a considerable amount on his Holiday Club portfolio," said Lynda Hulley, the company's consultant.