Holiday clubs - top tips
Buying membership of a holiday club promises you the chance to buy cheaper holidays from a particular company. However, often holiday clubs don’t live up to the promises they make.
This page gives you some tips on what to think about before joining a holiday club and how to avoid scams
Are you sure you want to join a holiday club?
Holiday clubs can promise you great value holidays all over the world in top class accommodation. However, they often don’t deliver everything they promise. If you’re thinking of joining a holiday club, here are some things to bear in mind:
- holiday clubs don’t own any holiday accommodation and so no dates or destinations are guaranteed. Holidays are often not available when and where you want them
- you might not save any money on the holidays you book and could end up paying as much as the High Street brochure price
- you’re very unlikely to be able to sell your holiday club membership
- you’ll have to pay annual fees whether you use your membership or not
- some countries haven’t put the European regulations that protect holiday club members into force. If you sign in one of these countries you’ll have much less protection.
At the holiday club presentation
Holiday club presentations can be very high pressure. Watch out for selling techniques such as:
- the presentation has lasted so long you're tempted to sign just because you’re desperate to leave
- they’ve made you a special discounted offer valid for that day only
- you're not left alone to discuss anything with your partner. You may also be kept separate from other couples and even discouraged from taking notes.
However high pressure the presentation gets remember:
- you can always walk out of the presentation. No one can make you stay, no matter what the salespeople may try and tell you. If anyone tries to make you stay at a presentation they are committing a criminal offence
- however much pressure the sales people put you under, never agree to anything on the spot. Refuse to sign anything then and there. Take the documentation home with you and sleep on it
- don't take your credit card or debit card with you to holiday club presentations.
Before you sign the agreement
Before you sign a holiday club agreement:
- do lots of research - research the company and ask for several references. Check other suppliers and compare prices
- make a note of everything you were promised, and make sure it's in the agreement. If it's not, refuse to sign
- ask about your cancellation rights and get them in writing. If you’re signing in an European Economic Area (EEA) country, remember that timeshare regulations give you 14 days to change your mind
- it’s a criminal offence for companies to request or take money from you during the 14 day cooling-off period
- ask for written proof of the security measures which are in place if the company goes bust during your membership
- ideally, get an independent lawyer to read the contract before you sign it.
Holiday club agreements
Holiday club agreements signed in a European Economic Area (EEA) country are protected by The Timeshare Regulations.
For more advice on holiday club agreements signed in Europe outside the UK, contact the UK European Consumer Centre (ECC). They will help you try and sort out your problem with the timeshare company and can give you legal advice. You can call their consumer helpline on: 08456 04 05 03
Beware of holiday club scams
Some holiday clubs are reputable but there are a lot of bogus ones out there:
- be very wary of letters, phone calls or emails from companies you don’t know offering you business deals out of the blue
- if you don’t want to discuss holiday clubs over the phone, you can end the conversation at any time
- be suspicious of people or companies who say you’ve been chosen especially, or that you’ve won something
- never give confidential personal information to cold callers
- beware of money-back guarantees as these could be difficult to claim in practice
- if you already belong to a holiday club, beware of companies who offer to buy your membership. You could end up losing money by making upfront payments or with a second holiday club membership that you don’t want.