Officials on the Caribbean Island of St Maarten have issued a warning regarding the resurgence of a particularly deceptive scam designed to lure unwitting holidaymakers with the promise of free gifts and prizes.

The scam, is a tried and tested method, and has been around for far too long. Individuals working for rogue timeshare exit and holiday club companies hand out scratch cards to members of the public, usually tourists, who are overjoyed to learn they have a winning card. They are then marched back to an office to claim their prize.

What then normally follows is hours of hard selling and people often end up leaving having signed up to a holiday club membership, that they did not want and had not intention of purchasing.

The scratch card scam has been prevalent in popular Spanish destinations, the Canary Islands and many other holiday resorts. However, officials in St Maarten have said this highly deceptive and aggressive sales practice has seen a resurgence on their island. In fact the problem is so bad that the Timeshare Association of St Maarten has asked the local tourist board to help stamp out these rogue companies and their deceitful practices. They say in order for the island to continue to thrive as a tourist destination, they need to make sure holidaymakers are not endlessly harassed.

They along with some of the timeshare resorts on the island are also asking the government to step in as some of these rogue companies are sending their reps to harass people inside their resorts. They say the timeshare industry and their owners that visit the island year in year out, make-up a vital part of the economy, and these type of fraudulent and aggressive sales practices are threatening the tourist industry as a whole.

People who enter into Timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of Timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any Timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.

It is also important to remember that purchasing a Timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.

The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these type of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.

If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.