Just to share my experience of being CONNED, and for your benefit¡
1) You are approached by a teenager along Orchard Road and are asked to do a survey. You¡¯d be approached especially if you look like foreigners. In the survey, if you indicate that you and your partner are above 25, have combined salary of $5000, and own credit card/s, you¡¯d be entitled to a scratch-and-win lucky draw.
2) For the lucky draw, the top prize is a free 7N accomodation, and other prizes are dining/shopping vouchers from $10-$60 thereabouts. The teenager would jump in joy saying how lucky you are, as he¡¯d be able to get commission of up to $150 if you go and collect your prize.
3) He brings you to his manager, who congratulates you, then asks that you go to a travel exhibition-fair-talk-thingy down Orchard Rd (Faber House near OG, or anywhere else). If you stay for at least 60-80mins, you¡¯d get your gifts and the teenager would get his commission.
4) So off you go, out of pity for the boy and curiosity to check out the fair, esp when you know you¡¯d have travel plans in the coming years, and of course, to get your prizes. You¡¯re escorted to the office and wait at the recep.
5) You¡¯d be asked to show ur ICs to verify ur ages, ur details would be taken down. Interestingly, there¡¯s a lucky draw. There¡¯d be a few sets of 4 digits at the counter, and if your credit card¡¯s last 4 digits match, you¡¯d win shopping vouchers. This is when you¡¯d take out all your credit cards, and they can take the chance to verify that you do have credit cards.
6) Then, another attractive consultant would take over from the teenager and bring you into another room. Before you step in, you¡¯d be asked to switch off your hps, not even to silent modes. You enter quite a big room with many small round tables and chairs. You sit at one with your consultant, who sits you through a survey to see ur travel preferences and spending power so they¡¯d take note and offer you a package you¡¯d find affordable and attractive.
7) They¡¯d show you some cut-out pictures and floor plans of suites you¡¯d be getting if you purchase their membership package. There won¡¯t be concrete black & white info on the profile of their company. There¡¯d be a manager who¡¯d drop by every now and then especially when the consultant has difficulty convincing you. As the consultant and manager talk, they¡¯d write the info down on paper, explaining to you the supposed savings if you sign up their travel packages.
8) Their packages are at least $10k. They also offer trial membership at $3k or so, with a Phuket trip or other freebies. They would sell the system to you and talk for hours. When you feel that the deal is good and you sign, a bell will ring and everyone there would clap and welcome you into the club. You are then asked to pay. They¡¯d even offer great discounts and 0% interest free instalments. You even get a free welcome gift like a dvd player.
9) (a) You leave thinking you got a good deal, then try to book your holidays. Only to realise that you can¡¯t get your holidays booked even if you¡¯re 6-8months early. Or your accomodation is only 3 star, not 4/5 star. You want to cancel your membership as you don¡¯t really have a chance to use it and do not have that much leave to clear, but they do not allow as you¡¯re bound by the contract. They threaten to sue you if you breach the contract. You¡¯re trapped and go on paying the membership, as well as yearly maintenance fees of a few hundred sing dollars at least. Though they promise to be able to buy the package over from you and sell it, they¡¯d be unable to as there¡¯re too many conned people who wanna sell, but no one who wanna buy.
(b) You leave having doubts, and surf the net for more information. And realise you¡¯re conned by a timeshare company. Luckily, if you terminate within 3 working days, as stipulated by Singapore laws, you will be refunded. Get ready to be firm as they try to talk you out of a cancellation. Or they try to drag past the 3 days.
I have been conned to this stage and after surfing the net for more information, realised that I¡¯ve fallen for a scam by timeshare companies. I¡¯m lucky that I find out about this within 3 days of signing, so I can get a full refund. I¡¯d be going down tomorrow and expect a showdown. Heard that they¡¯d sit you through hours, trying to find excuses like the person in charge is not around, or offer other packages, to make you stay in the programme. Mi & fiance will remain firm tomorrow and create a big hoo-ha if necessary.
I am really very upset to go through this. But I¡¯m concerned that we, Singaporeans, be united and warn one another against this. Let¡¯s put an end to this and protect our fellowmen and tourists. I intend to go up to those taking surveys on Orchard road, to warn them on the spot. Touting is illegal in Singapore anyway! We need to boost our tourism too! How can we allow these people with ill-intentions spoil our clean and lawful image? Tourists who are conned can get a refund from Singapore Tourism Board (STB) though.
I hope that more people would be forewarned against these scams. This message is prepared to bring more awareness to as many people as poss. With such an awareness, you would not be curious to find out more about their travel talks, neither would you and your loved ones go through losing thousands and tens of thousands paying for nothing but heartache and constant disturbing calls. (They¡¯d keep calling to ask you to upgrade your package, etc.)
Have attached related websites for those who¡¯d like to find out more, and are looking for avenues for the possibility to get a refund or take legal action. Please refer if you have a few minutes.
May we enjoy affordable holidays within our own means, without headaches and heartaches.
DO NOT be conned anymore.
Let¡¯s boycott these surveyors and cold-callers and some who got your numbers through asking their current members.
All the best!
(P/S: Feel free to copy my message and forward as emails to your friends! Argh! We gotta unite and put a stop to this!)