Vouchers could leave you stranded

Cold callers promising big discounts on holidays.

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Sales reps selling travel vouchers have been cold-calling consumers promising big discounts on flights and accommodation. The discounts sound too good to be true – and we think they are.

Consumer member Derek was phoned by a rep from Pacific Vacation Club and offered 10 holiday vouchers for AUD$299. The sales rep told him each voucher could be redeemed for a 50 percent discount on return flights “anywhere in the world” as well as five nights’ accommodation for up to four family members.

Derek was also told the vouchers were “non expirable” with “lifelong validity” and “100% transferable”.

The rep claimed Pacific Vacation Club was “signed up” with a range of airlines including Air New Zealand. But Air New Zealand confirmed to us it had no relationship with any company called Pacific Vacation Club.

Pacific Vacation Club’s website is registered to Waquar Ahamd in New Delhi, although the site gives a Queensland address. Pacific Vacation Club told us via email it was an Australian-registered company. We asked several times for its registration number but none was provided and we couldn’t find any business with this name listed on the Australian or New Zealand companies register.

Consumer protection

Traders selling discount holiday vouchers have been doing the rounds for years. Some are legitimate, others aren’t.

Our consumer advisor Maggie Edwards says if you’re cold-called by a voucher seller, never give your credit card details or other personal information.

“If you’re tempted by the offer, don’t hand over any money until you’ve checked the company and the vouchers are legitimate. A reputable trader should be happy to give you time to consider the offer,” she says.

In 2009, Discount Premium Holidays was fined $209,000 for misleading customers about its vouchers. The company sold the vouchers over the phone, promising they could be used “anywhere in the world”. It was taken to court by the Commerce Commission and pleaded guilty to 38 charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act.

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