Holiday scratchcards are sales trickHoliday Which? warns tourists to beware of touts

27 February 2008

A beach towel

Holiday Which? has exposed tricks being used to lure tourists into signing up for holiday clubs abroad.

Its undercover research found that touts are using scratchcards promising ‘star prizes’ to ensnare tourists into buying holiday club membership and entering a timeshare trial.

To get their prize, ‘winners’ have to attend lengthy presentations where they're subjected to high-pressure sales tactics.

Holiday Which? researchers, posing as an engaged couple, were approached by touts who enticed them to two presentations where they were relentlessly bombarded with baffling information for up to five hours.

High pressure

The sales staff would not reveal the cost of membership until near the end of the presentations. 

At both sessions the ‘couple’ was pressured to sign up and pay money on the spot without the chance to think it over.

People in the UK are also being targeted via a letter or a phone call informing them that they have won a holiday prize.

New legislation coming into force in April aims to outlaw misleading and aggressive sales practices.

Holiday club

Holiday Which? Editor Lorna Cowan said: ‘Whether at home or abroad, everyone likes to win a prize, especially a holiday.

'But there is a catch  - you may have to attend a lengthy presentation where you are pressured into parting with thousands of pounds for something you might not even want.  

‘We welcome new EU proposals, which should prevent companies from demanding money on the spot for these types of holiday products. In the meantime we would advise holidaymakers to avoid scratchcard touts at all costs and not to buy into a holiday club.’