With the holiday season around the corner, consumers need to be vigilant when approached by Travel Clubs – these are not the same as Holiday Clubs.
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.
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 or shared vacation ownership that gives consumers more flexibility instead of returning to the same holiday location year after year.
Furthermore, Travel Clubs are notorious for offering holiday club members the opportunity to sell on their behalf the use rights of their points to third parties. In return these members are assured of receiving a generous rental income, from which the travel club awards itself a large percentage, that is to be generated from marketing Point booked weeks to overseas tourists. However, this does not always materialise.
The Consumer Goods and Services Ombud (CGSO) latest annual report revealed 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.
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. Alternatively, work with a VOASA listed rental company and recoup some of the money until you can sell.
All VOASA members must comply with the industry Code of Conduct and relevant law and regulations related to their business. Where applicable, this would include holding a current fidelity fund certificate from the Estate Agency Affairs Board.
We advise consumers to do their research with a very critical eye before giving out their 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.
This can be determined by calling the VOASA office on (021) 975-9607 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org