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'Holiday clubs' lure tourists into timeshare traps.

Timeshare touts are using strongarm tactics and loopholes in European Union law to trap holidaymakers into expensive property schemes, it was claimed yesterday.

A Tory Euro-MP accused 'holiday clubs' of using aggressive marketing techniques to tie unsuspecting tourists into deals costing more than pounds 10,000 for leases of less than three years.

Philip Bradbourn, MEP for the West Midlands and a member of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee, said current EU law offered little or no protection and warned people travelling abroad to be on their guard.

Under current EU law, any timeshare package of more than three years must offer the buyer a ten-day cooling-off period during which they can change their mind.

But 'holiday clubs' are beating the system by offering timeshare deals running from one year to 35 months - just enough to make sure that the law can't touch them.

Last year more than 120 complaints were received from UK holidaymakers by the Organisation for Timeshare in Europe about 'holiday clubs', and the Office of Fair Trading has issued a warning about them.

'I deplore the tactics being employed by these 'holiday clubs' to take advantage of unsuspecting customers' said Mr Bradbourn.

'People are finding themselves tied into agreements that offer them little and cost them the earth.'

He wants the Commission to extend the time limit in the law and give consumers more protection: 'I hope to bring forward a motion in the European Parliament which will close the loophole. People should come back from holiday refreshed and ready to return to work - not feeling that they have been trapped into a timeshare scam.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 26, 2001
Words:271
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