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Holiday Prize a Scam

A BRITISH couple who thought they had won a free holiday in the Canary Islands say they were duped into paying £5,000 to collect their "prize". 



Marion and Thomas Black couldn't believe their luck when they were handed a winning scratchcard while holidaying in Tenerife.

Thinking they had won another sunshine break and a tablet computer, a rep drove the ecstatic couple to an office to collect their prizes.

But three hours later, with no sign of their promised goods, the Blacks left the office having agreed to shell out £4,920 to sign up for a holiday club membership.

Speaking to the Daily Record, retired care assistant Marion, 65, said: "We were talked into it. I still don’t know how it happened.

"We thought it sounded like a pretty good deal at the time.

“We only had to pay for flights as the membership covered all of our accommodation for 10 years. So we handed over £1000 deposit by debit card.”

But things took a turn for the worse when the pair returned home to Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, to be bombarded with demanding calls from the firm, British Travel.

Unsure whether to pay the remainder of the balance, Marion and Thomas, 67, went to their bank, TSB, for advice.

Marion said: "We explained that we were planning to transfer the money but were really worried.

“In the end, we just decided to go ahead with the transfer.”

The couple believed that the hefty fee would offer them a decade of discounted hotel rooms.

But on later checking the offer's small print, the Blacks were horrified to realise all they had purchased was the right to use a certain website to search for holidays, flights and accommodation for the next ten years.

The terms and conditions also state that no “promises, verbal or implied, are valid” and that the agreement can’t be cancelled.

And to top off the duped couple's misfortune, upon attempting to use the site, they found the dates and destinations they wanted to book were unavailable.

Trying to reclaim some of the costs, Marion and Thomas, a forklift driver, did travel to Tenerife on the holiday they had originally won - but were made to fork out £500 for their flights in addition to a £109 administration fee.

Even then, they were not able to enjoy their break - having been met by yet another rep who attempted to charge them £20,000 for a further club membership.

Marion said: “As soon as we arrived at the apartment, there was a knock at the door. He said British Travel had sent him and we had to go along to his office.

“He then claimed British Travel were conmen and the scratchcards were not legal.

“But he said he could claim our £4,920 back if we signed up to his club – for luxury holidays and shopping discounts – costing £20,000.

"Thankfully, we managed to get away. It just shows you how easily this can happen. We want to warn others heading to Tenerife.”


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