Be vigilant when approached by Travel Clubs – these are not the same as Holiday Clubs.
Sadly, wherever a market exists, there will always be companies that use fraudulent and dubious marketing tactics in an attempt to deceive people for their own financial gain. In the timeshare industry, these companies usually operate under the guise of being a legitimate timeshare resale company or travel club. As a result, the reputation of the industry suffers damage and VOASA members who operate legitimate businesses are impacted negatively.
Travel Club vs Holiday Club
A Travel Club membership offers discounts on trips that are sponsored by vendors within their affiliation so that these vendors can market themselves to consumers. Most memberships come with several lucrative free trip offers each year but there is always a portion of the trip that will be paid for by you, plus membership fees and other related costs. Furthermore, Travel Clubs are notorious for offering holiday club members the opportunity to sell the use rights of their points to third parties for a fee. In return these members are assured of receiving a generous rental income from overseas tourists – however, this does not always materialise.
In comparison, a Holiday Club membership allows you to purchase a specific number of points, which can be redeemed for a variety of vacation options each year. This is the newer version of timeshare ownership.
The Consumer Goods and Services Ombud reported that a vast majority of timeshare complaints emanated from Travel Clubs, which sadly tarnishes the shared vacation ownership industry because of the confusion between Travel Clubs and Holiday Clubs.
5 Red Flags
- Unsolicited phone calls or emails from a company regarding the sale of your timeshare or the elimination of maintenance fees.
- If an offer sounds too good to be true (it probably is).
- Promises made to modify or cancel your timeshare contractual obligations.
- Offers to transfer your paid-off ownership to another party.
- If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a representative of VOASA. VOASA does not perform any sales or resale services.
How to Protect Yourself
- Never pay up front to have someone help you sell your timeshare. If your circumstances have changed and you need to sell, rather approach your Holiday Club to discuss cancellation options or approach a resale company that is registered with VOASA.
- If a timeshare reseller is boastful about their sales, ask how much of it is from rentals versus actual timeshare sales as they usually combine their sales and rentals. And, if they are promising you results, see how likely they are to deliver by researching the other units available in your resort or at the destination.
- Do your research with a very critical eye before giving out your credit card information and paying a membership fee. Be sure you know that the company is legitimate by asking for their annual report and better still, ensure that they are an accredited member of VOASA by checking the member’s directory at www.voasa.co.za or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org