What is the timeshare scratchcard scam and how does it work?
If you’ve been on holiday in Europe even once in the last few decades, chances are that you’ve come across the timeshare scratchcard scam. It’s a familiar occurrence in most major tourist traps. You’re approached whilst out and about by someone enthusiastically handing out scratchcards. If you accept, you suddenly find yourself the lucky winner of anything from a cash prize to an iPad!
Of course, you can’t expect the nice young man who handed you the card to be carrying all the prizes around with him, can you? So, you’ll need to go and collect it from the office. Don’t worry though, you won’t be left inconvenienced or out of pocket, as he’ll get you a free taxi. How lovely!
Once you arrive at the (usually inconveniently-located) office, you’re greeted by a smiling member of staff who will pay for your taxi and send it on it’s way. When you announce you are there to collect your prize, you are told absolutely no problem! They’ll give it to you as soon as the presentation is over.
‘What presentation?’ you ask?
Why, the one the chap with the scratchcards told you about, of course! Did he forget that part? They’re so sorry! But unfortunately, attending the presentation is mandatory if you want your free iPad? You can spare an hour or so, right?
At this point, most folks will give in. What’s an hour of your time in exchange for an iPad?
If you do smell a rat and refuse the presentation, you soon come to realize that you have no idea where you actually are, or how to get back to your resort. The taxi is long gone and your request to be provided with one back to your resort is politely but firmly declined, as the free taxi rides are also a condition of attending the presentation. If you’re not going to play ball, how you get home is your problem, not theirs. Particularly in the days before mobile internet, you find yourself effectively stranded, with little choice but to give in.
After all, it’s only an hour right?
Wrong. With high-pressure sales presentations often lasting several hours, if not a full day, during which you are bombarded with exciting images and confusing figures, you are finally worn down and put pen to paper. Chances are pretty good by then that you’ve forgotten all about your iPad. If you do happen to remember and request your prize, you’re more than likely disappointed to discover that wasn’t at advertised either…
What can I do if I have been the victim of a timeshare scratchcard scam?
Unsurprisingly, such blatant misrepresentation is an illegal selling tactic and is therefore excellent grounds for the termination of your timeshare or holiday ownership product. Our team of friendly and professional advisors will be able to assess your situation and timeshare contract and provide you with expert advice. Alternatively, you can also use our free compensation calculator to find out how much you may be owed.