We all remember the Timeshare explosion in the 70s with millions of phone calls, endless adverts and more to entice you into signing up for a Timeshare i.e. to buy a share of a holiday home, typically for one or two weeks per year.
The idea being that only paying for a couple of weeks must be a lot cheaper than buying your own holiday home and maybe cheaper than hotels and villas etc.
But, for whatever reason, Timeshare sellers went for the hard sell but combined it with getting people into a situation where they found it difficult to say no. They often gave people a free evening somewhere nice or even free holidays in sunshine resorts. However, the pressure to buy was relentless and many people ended up buying a timeshare just to stop the salesmen bothering them.
That all came to an end as the publicity over high pressure selling and the ability for people to cancel within 14 days according to law made it less profitable for the sellers.
But they didn’t go away completely and CLC (Club la Costa) are sending out mass emails and making phone calls to tell people they have won a free holiday. This is the Timeshare scam.
To claim your free holiday, you and your partner must agree to attend a 90 minute presentation (probably 2 hours or longer) at a CLC World Travel Centre in the UK.
You pay a £90 deposit up front to guarantee your attendance (which will be refunded when you have attended the full session). After attending, they offer you a free week of accommodation at one of their holiday sites, sometimes plus a voucher for Marks & Spencer or other high street chain, for about £50.
At the presentation they may offer a one to three year ‘trial’ but with destinations and dates. If you do commit to a long term membership, you’re likely to find that school holiday dates will have to be booked years in advance and the holidays you want simply aren’t available to be booked. Many people admit they felt bullied into signing up and then immediately cancel when they get home.
Is It a Free Holiday?
Yes. But you have to pay for your own flights, food, insurance etc. You will have to be very flexible – you may not get to travel on the dates, to the location or from the airport that is convenient for you.
During your free week’s holiday you must attend a resort tour and presentation (if you don’t, you will be charged for the accommodation. The presentation is again high pressure and they want everyone to sign up.
There are reviews of dealing with CLC and going on their ‘free’ holidays’ available on Money Saving Expert and TripAdvisor.
e.g. 1 I went on a CLC trip to Tenerife. Had to pay own flights and transfers. We had to go to the presentation for about 6 hours and it was very boring and wasted a day of the holiday. Other than that we got a nice apartment and weren’t given any hassle. If you can get cheap flights and don’t mind one very boring day then it’s ok for a cheap holiday.
e.g.2 If you’ve signed, got a few thousand on credit to pay, you go home. You then read every thing and find they never told you that you also pay £400 a year for fees.
Maybe a Timeshare suits you so why not take advantage of the free taster holiday. But for most people it’s too restrictive and too expensive when all costs are added up.
Plus, although they promise you that selling a Timeshare is easy – hundreds of thousands of people have found that it’s virtually impossible to do and that makes the Timeshare worthless.
If you have any experiences with Timeshare sellers – do let me know, by email.