Christmas Fruitcake Anyone? December 24th, 2011
I had the following message pop up on Skype a short while ago, I mean really, after all these years do people really think we are still stupid enough to fall for the same con? Aside from the jump to social media platforms instead of email, the old tactics are still the same.
Still, it made me chuckle.
I have been in search of someone with this last name. Southby. So when I saw your name I was pushed to contact you and see how best we can assist each other. I am Mr. David Akoto, a Banker here in Kumasi, Ghana. I believe it is the wish of God for me to come across you on skype now. I am having an important business discussion I wish to share with you which I believe will interest you because, it is in connection with your last name and you are going to benefit from it. One Late Albert M. Southby, a citizen of your country had a fixed deposit with my bank in 2004 for 36 calendar months; valued at (Three Million, Four Hundred Thousand US Dollars) the due date for this deposit contract was the 16 of January 2007. Sadly Albert was among the death victims in the May 26 2006 Earthquake disaster in Jawa, Indonesia that killed over 5,000 people. He was in Indonesia on a business trip and that was how he met his end. My bank management is yet to know about his death, I knew about it because he was my friend and I am his account officer. Albert did not mention any Next of Kin/ Heir when the account was opened, and he was not married and no children. Last week my bank Management requested that Albert should give instructions on what to do about his funds, if to renew the contract. I know this will happen and that is why I have been looking for a means to handle the situation, because if my Bank Directors happens to know that Albert is dead and do not have any Heir, they will take the funds for their personal use, so I don’t want such to happen. That was why when I saw your name I was happy and I am now seeking your co-operation to present you as Next of Kin/ Heir to the account, since you have the same name with him and my bank head quarters will release the account to you. There is no risk involved; the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law. It is better that we claim the money, than allowing the Bank Directors to take it, they are rich already. I am not a greedy person, so I am suggesting we share the funds equal, 50/50% to both parties, my share will assist me to start my own company which has been my dream. Let me know your mind on this and please do treat this information as TOP SECRET. We shall go over the details once I receive your urgent response strictly through my personal email address, email@example.com
Mr. David Akoto
Needless to say I won’t be contacting Mr Akoto anytime soon.
Club La Costa – Take 2 August 21st, 2011
It seems only yesterday (almost 2 years in reality) that I wrote an article detailing my experiences with Club La Costa, the company who ring you up to tell you that you have ‘won’ a free holiday for 4. Of course, this is clearly not true and in order to claim your prize you need to attend a rather long timeshare presentation here in the UK and then pay a number of surcharges towards your supposed prize. Before you know it, the holiday that you ‘won’ costs you more than a last minute deal you could have picked up yourself and the relaxation you’d have hoped for and promised, overshadowed by the constant sales pitches. I know I am not alone in feeling frustrations towards this kind of misleading marketing and hard selling thanks to all of your comments; they were appreciated.
Well, I was amazed to receive yet another cold call yesterday, again stemming from one of the call centres commissioned by CLC. Now I know that since my last call, I have not given my details to any market research companies and most certainly have not entered any competitions so unquestionably my details have been recycled since they first made contact with me.
Club la Costa, if you’re reading this then please, get the hint. I will NOT be buying into any of your timeshare deals so my advice would be to save yourself the cost of the phone call don’t call me again.
Timeshare – The Proverbial Scam feat. Club La Costa October 22nd, 2009
We’ve been getting a whole heap of sales calls recently. It’s been an annoyance that has been getting progressively worse as the weeks have passed and they have become more and more frequent. At first I was venting my frustrations on our call providers, being a new number I was frustrated at the amount of calls we were getting that should have been filtered out but it transpires that Vicki put the number on a competition/questionnaire entry she submitted a while back, here lies the problem.
The competition was with a reputable brand, it was with Marks & Spencer. Had it been with some unheard of company perhaps I could have expected this but it wasn’t. Surely we can trust Marks and Spencer when it comes to data protection and ensuring our information doesn’t get into the wrong hands? But it turns out they are just as dishonest as the rest of them and will not think twice about passing out your information to what can only be described as scammers.
Today we get a call to say we have ‘won’ a holiday (I emphasise the word ‘won’ as this is an important legal distinction which effects the way in which these people are supposed to operate) for 4 people to Southern Spain, The Canaries or Portugal, all we have to pay is the applicable airport taxes. Vicki asks me what I think and I say who knows? I mean someone has to win but on the other hand, it all sounds far too good to be true. Anyway, the lady on the phone says that she’ll send out some information by email to Vicki so that she can have a look at (owing to the postal strike) along with our unique claim reference number, so far so good and everyone seems friendly and genuine. Of course, this is where the majority get sucked in.
On opening the email which they sent through I immediately notice that it has been sent from a company called Club La Costa, which is when my suspicions started to be realised. The email itself strangely contained no sales speech, no information or further details, but just an attachment with a map to a location in Bristol where an exhibition was being hosted by another company called CLC Exhibitions.
Now, contrary to popular belief a dog isn’t a man’s best friend – it’s actually Google. So I run a couple of searches for Club La Costa and CLC Exhibitions and am not at all surprised to find a whole bunch of complaints regarding this company and the way they operate.
The scam is quite simple.
Club La Costa – or CLC Exhibitions – somehow manages to acquire your details and ring you up claiming that you have won a holiday, they tell you that this is a genuine prize if you will and that there are no strings attached. They don’t even tell you that you will have to attend a time share opportunity sales presentation. All they tell you is that the holiday is for up to 4 people and is valid for 18 months. The only stipulation according to the nice lady on the phone is that you will be liable for airport taxes. Flights, accommodation and other holiday expenses are all included.
It’s human nature; by this point almost everyone will have pictures on lying on the beach firmly set in their minds, especially for the bargain price of nothing. Being that we are in a credit crunch the thought of winning a free holiday for 4 is hard to ignore. But it’s then once you’ve already got a mental picture of the holiday in your mind that you find out you have to attend a presentation evening to claim your holiday, of course if you believe what your told, the only reason you need to attend the evening is so that the company can check your identity to prove it’s you and you are eligible. It’s got nothing to do with sales apparently, because we all believe salesmen right?
The true facts are that you have not won anything at all; in fact you are not even one of the chosen few. This ‘opportunity’ is being pitched to hundreds if not thousands of people across the country. Legally, the companies involved are meant to tell you that you have been given the opportunity to be ‘awarded’ a holiday, using the word ‘won’ or ‘win’ is sly, underhand and bordering on illegal. In order to qualify, you have to attend a presentation evening at one of CLC Exhibitions centres around the country, you may be fortunate and have one nearby, but usually you’ll have to drive an hour to your nearest location, of course at your own expense. Whilst at the evening you will be bombarded with a sales presentation lasting many hours. During this presentation you will be subjected to sales people trained to mislead and coerce you into signing up to their trial scheme which lasts 3 years and costs upwards of £3000.
Caveat: Now to be fair, timeshare works for some, some people I found on Google have had good experiences with Club La Costa, and continue to be happy but of course they are in the minority. It’s really up to you to decide if this is a scam or a genuine opportunity.
So, if you manage to sit through the whole process and say ‘no thanks’ then so long as you meet their marketing criteria (you’re a UK homeowner, are aged between 25-62, married or living together as a couple for at least a year and at least one of you is in full time employment earning at least £30000) you are eligible for the holiday – finally. The holiday of course costs a lot more than you are expecting and has a lot of hidden extras, all chargeable. We haven’t been to any presentation so I cannot say for sure how much we would be charged but internet opinion says that the charge is £29.50 per person to cover their administrative cost and a varying cost which covers the applicable taxes, usually amounting to a few hundred quid. So, at this stage you could have yourselves a holiday for around £400 and yes, if you have a strong resolve and can see your way through the sales talk then this ‘may’ be worth it. But of course it doesn’t end there.
You’ll be met at your resort by a friendly representative who will do his utmost throughout your holiday to brainwash you into signing up for the timeshare, you can’t be forced to do this of course and you can say no throughout but I for one would need a holiday to recover from this when I got home. You’ll also be obliged to attend a formal presentation on one day of your holiday and sit through another presentation just as you did back home.
Here’s an extract from a comment written by a former employee of Club La Costa which I found on one of the consumer opinion websites:
I have previously worked for Club La Costa for just short of 3 years and after reading this thread and seeing claims that there were “no catches” involved I felt obliged to set you straight. This is extremely untrue. ******* ******* is totally right in saying that there is no obligation for you to purchase anything from Club La Costa, but in the event you refuse to do so, the staff there are trained to sell in such a way you are made to feel inferior. I have even heard cases where the staff make customers who refuse to purchase a timeshare like they are only doing so as they cannot afford it.
******* – What you wrote on this thread looks surprisingly like the script I spent 3 years of my live reading to poor unsuspecting people. The sad truth is that the information given to the customers on the phone is 100% accurate, Club La Costa are very clever in the way they word things. Club La Costa employees are told under no circumstances to say to words “free” or “won”, this doesn’t mean they don’t use words to this effect to create the same excitement.
Customers are coaxed into attending a meeting, usually in a rented building or in part of a hotel. Whilst working for the company I dealt with customers from areas including Leeds, Manchester, London and Southampton. If they agreed to attend the meeting they were to be subjected to a very hard sell for at least 3 hours in which time they were made to feel inferior. Customers are also only awarded the vouchers as promised if they stay for the whole of the meeting. The lucky ones then got offered the chance to go on holiday with Club La Costa. They would then have to choose 3 dates. Only one of these could be “peak” times so those of you with children only have a 1 in 3 chance of being able to take your holiday in school holiday times. It’s like walking through a mine field – you have to try and get to the other side without one of the traps going off – for the “lucky” ones of you who do get to the other side you get to spend a week, usually in the lovely Costa del Sol, with a very well trained sales man who literally will not leave you alone from the minute you wake up ‘til the minute you go to sleep.
I do have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my time working for Club La Costa. I met some of the nicest people I will ever meet. It’s just a shame that the company bases itself on hard selling to innocent people who undoubtedly do not want or need timeshares.
You don’t get anything for free in this world; we all know this deep down. I think it’s a scandal that companies like this are allowed to target people who perhaps do not have the strength to say no.
Club La Costa, CLC Exhibitions – whatever they may be calling themselves – should be stopped. I leave it up to you to form your own opinions but I for one will be avoiding them at all costs.
If you have had any experiences with Club La Costa or CLC Exhibitions – good or bad – leave a comment below, the more people leaving an opinion the better the resource will be for people searching for information. The more viewpoints we have the easier it’ll be for everyone to make up their own minds if they recieve the call to say they have ‘won’.