OFT raises awareness of bogus holiday clubsConsumers lose millions every year to scammers

12 November 2008

Scratch card

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is handing out fake scratchcards today to raise awareness of holiday club scams

This is part of a Europe-wide day of action to raise awareness of a scam that costs consumers millions of pounds every year.

Those who fall victim to a holiday club scam lose an average of £3,030.

How the scam works

Scratchcards are given out by touts for bogus holiday clubs. All of the cards are ‘winners’ but what you actually get is a lengthy sales presentation and pressure to pay thousands for membership of an ‘exclusive’ holiday club.

However, when you pay up claims aren’t delivered. In most cases consumers find that they’ve simply bought access to an internet booking service they could have got for free.

The OFT says that November is a peak time for bogus holiday club operators who target holiday makers looking for the winter sun.

Awareness raising

The OFT Scambusters team and Trading Standards Officers are handing out information and fake scratchcards at major UK airports, to raise awareness of the scam.

Norway, Belgium and Cyprus will also be handing out information about bogus holiday clubs in their countries. And in Spain officials will be at Tenerife South Airport to reinforce the message to those arriving on holiday from the UK.

Mike Haley, OFT Director of Consumer Protection, said: ‘Bogus holiday clubs ruin thousands of holidays every year leaving holidaymakers with large bills for near worthless holiday club memberships. The OFT is working hard to raise awareness of the tricks used by these scammers and to ensure that action is taken to combat the worst offenders.’

Avoid being a victim

If you think you've been a victim of scam then you can report scams to Consumer Direct, who can give you advice.

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