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The "Free Luxury Holiday" Scam.

THAILAND | Thursday, 25 March 2010 | Views [12616] | Comments [18]

The suns hot rays beat down on my face and bare arms. Sweat snaked its way down my forehead and into my eyes, stinging them, while beads of perspiration dotted my upper lip. Great, I had a moustache.
The mosquito-like whine of a scooter became louder as it approached us from behind. Instead of passing, it came to a halt with a screeching of brakes beside us.
"Hello, you are speaking English?" questioned an Indian man who sat regally astride the scooter, as if his throne.
"Ye-es", we answered in unison, warily, dismissing his presence as one of the overwhelming number of motorbike taxi's who inundate every pedestrian with offers of paid lifts down the road.
"Ok, ok, that is good for you and me, yeah? What I am doing is giving out these free cards, yeah? For the company I work for, yeah?"
His white teeth stood out against his dark brown complexion, flashing in the bright sun. I squnited and tried to concentrate on what he was saying.
"So you take one each and scratch it, and maybe you be winning a prize, yeah?"
Everything he said sounded like a question and I found myself nodding along with his voice.
He thrust a small silver card into each of our hands, and scrambled in his pocket for a coin.
"Here, for better scratching."
We accepted the coin and scratched away at the panel.
I was mildly irritated to be detained in the hot sun, with a long walk ahead, but was too overwhelmed by the heat and humidity to protest.
"You need to be getting three of the same and then that is what you are winning, yeah?"
His jilted English reminded me of my time in India, flashes of recollection whirred through my mind.
"T-shirt", Dan said, startling me out of my reverie.
Glancing down at my hand, my eyes lazily registered three blue stars.
"What do the stars mean?" I asked.
"Oh my god, you are getting stars? You have won one of the biggest prizes!" This seemed like something to get excited about, judging by the way he was jumping around.
"Really?" I glanced at Dan and saw my own dubious expression mirrored in his face.
"Yes, yes, YES! You have won one of the four main prizes!" He exclaimed loudly, flipping the card over.
The reverse side showed four pictures; a laptop, a camera, a pile of cash and two deckchairs on a beach.
"Now you be scratching the small bit here and it shows you which one you have won!" His white teeth flashed again.
I scratched the panel, revealing the letter D. I had won the holiday!
"Oh my god, you have won six nights accomodation at a four star resort in one of six Asian countries of your choice!"
I was stunned by his enthusias. I mean, you would think he had won the prize.
Was the heat making me groggy? Should we have all been jumping around hugging and squealing?
"So how do we get this free holiday?" Dan asked, skeptically.
"Ok, you come with me now and I'll take you to the resort. We give you free drinks and show you around our resort, which is what we are promoting with these cards, and then we give you a certificate.
Dan and I looked at each other. We were both red faced, covered in sweat from our time at the gym and long walk home in the relentless sun. We didn't smell too fresh.
"Nah, we need to go home first and have a shower, then we will come get our prize", we told him.
"Ok, but you have to be coming to get it, right? I am getting big commission from you winning big prize, ok? Yes? You will come? Free taxi there and back, no pay for you" He pleaded.
"Yes, we will meet you in an hour. Where?" I asked.
"Ok, ok, you are seeing this big white building. Is Ibis Hotel. I be meeting you across from there in one hour from now, yes?"
"Yes."
"I take this card with me so that if you do not be coming back, I give to someone else so I still get my commission, ok?"
"Yeah, no dramas", Dan replied.
With a kick and a splutter, his scooter took off ahead of us along the main road through Koh Samui.
Continuing our walk, Dan and I had definately picked up the pace. It would be a squeeze to get back to our guesthouse, showered, dressed and walk back to the hotel in under an hour. But was it worth hurrying? Was it a scam? What did we have to lose? Should we even go back or just dismiss it as a Thailand scam?
Dan seemed to voice all the questions running through my head when he spoke.
"We have plenty of time so let's go meet the guy and go to the hotel and if they try to get any money out of us, we'll just leave."
I was fantasizing about what it would be like to have week of luxury at the end of our six month cycling trip around south east Asia. I mean, our guesthouses were clean but we were happy to stay in budget bungalows to extend our time over here. We never really took advantage of being able to get a five star deal at a fraction of the cost of home. Suddenly urges for king-sized beds, high thread count sheets, fluffy bath towels, blissful air conditioning, and a swimming pool, seized me.
"But what if...what if...we actually won?" I hesitantly asked.
"I mean, I know it's probably a scam and all that, but if it isn't..." I trailed off.
"Well, we see where these fancy hotels are, and then we pick one," Dan replied logically.
It sounded so easy when he said it like that. I told myself to expect a scam so I wouldn't be disappointed, but a little flare of hope made my heart beat faster.

Approaching the Ibis Hotel just over an hour later, I was scanning both sides of the road for the Indian on his scooter.
He wasn't here. I felt my heart sank. We were only ten minutes late. I had thought he would be waiting. Was I stupid to think he would be? He probably had just given it to another couple to get his commission.
Then an approaching scooter caught my attention. He was wearing a red visor, like the Indian guy had been. Was it him? I craned my neck to see.
It was! I waved my hand, just as he caught sight of me and came to a halt on the opposite side of the road.
"Hello! You came. I worry. Where is your friend?" He asked, those teeth dancing in front of my eyes again.
"He is just there", I replied, pointing to Dan who was just approaching us.
"Ok, ok, so we will get a taxi, my company will be paying. I will leave my bike and get one for us."
Dan came to a halt beside me as our promotion man cut across the two lanes of traffic and flagged down a yellow meter taxi. We climbed into the back seat, as a hurried exhange of Thai took place.
Our doors had barely closed when the taxi lurched forward, jostling against scooters, motorbikes, other cars, street dogs, pedestrians and hawkers on bicycle-driven carts for a passage through the chaos.
The taxi wound its way around sharp bends, undulated over steep hills and through valleys. The odemeter jumped up and down in time as we jerked back and forward in our seats. We ground to a halt in brown dirt outside a group of buildings made of glas and white walls.
Two well-dressed Thai woman welcomed us inside.
"Sawasdeekaaa" they drawled in unison, placing their hands palm to palm and bowing in a wai greeting.
The Indian man - I realised he had never told us his name - placed our two winning scratchies on the wooden counter top.
"This lucky couple have won one of the big prizes and also a T-shirt!" He exclaimed to the woman, who smiled broadly in our direction.
"Ok guys, so you be having a free drink yeah? And be looking at our nice hotels and then you be getting your prize certificate of the six nights in four star accommodation, ok?"
With one last beam in our direction, he left through the shiny glass doors and a woman was entering.
Her high heeled shoes clicked against the tiles as she came in our direction.
"Hello, I'm Emily." She shook our hands as we introduced ourselves.
"Ok, let's go into the refreshment room and we'll have a drink and I'll explain what this is all about! Follow me!"
Who has a room just for refreshments? I wondered as we traipsed after her.
Once seated in a pale green room with potted plants dotted between sets of tables and chairs, a Thai waitress promptly materialised.
"Drinks?" Emily beamed at us.
We ordered some water and juice and then tried our best to look casual.
"Ok, so let's talk about your holidays. How many holidays do you take a year? What kind of things do you look for in a holiday?"
A questionaire appeared. Whoa, they were really into this whole holiday deal. Where was this going?
After about ten minutes Emily had established we were indeed keen on holidays. And really, who isn't? (Apart from my Scottish uncle who decries every time I embark on a trip why I would want to go somewhere they don't speak English and have different money, to stay in a place that isn't home and has a dodgy toilet is beyond him.)
"Ok, well lets head over to the office and I can show you some brochures and one of my other team members will help me explain exactly what it is we do here, ok?" She asked.
We entered another pastel-hued room again set out with lots of little sets of tables and chairs filling the space. It was like a restaurant. I wondered what they were serving here.
We soon found out when the 'pitch' began in earnest.
"What we are here at Paradise Direct is a holiday-makers club.
We invite people who regularly holiday each year, to join our club and we can get you very cheap deals on accomodation through our four partners.
Have you heard of The Marriott? The Hilton?"
An ambush of hotel names were thrown at us, many of which I had heard of but had never entertained the thought of staying in.
Colourful, glossy magazines of models enjoying the hotels facilities were thrust under our noses.
"So, Lisa, if you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?"
"Um...Jamaica", I said.
"Jamiaca, Jamiaca, Jamaica..." Emily muttered as she flicked through the pages that seemed interchangeable in their beauty.
"Ok, so here's a resort, looks nice huh? If you were a member of our club, you would get one week accomodation at this resort, for free, each year."
"Free?" We asked.
"Absolutely free! Because we are in the hotel business and have joined up with oither hotels, we can offer you free accomodation for one week every year in over 7500 hotels worldwide!"
Just as the Indian man spoke with an inflection for questions, Emily spoke almost entirely in exclamations.
"Ontop of that week every year, you also get one other week a year, during which you get access to the same five star resorts at a fraction of the cost!
We call these 'bonus weeks' and you can save up to three weeks worth and bring forward up to three weeks worth to say, go on a six week holiday through Europe., staying a week at each five star resort!
One in London, one in Germany, one in Greece, one in Italy, one in France and one in Spain! Amazing right?"
"So what does all this cost?" Dan asked. He wanted the figures. I was dreaming about being able to afford to tour Europe...in luxury!
"Ok, you pay $2000 anually as well as a $510 per year as a sort of administration fee."
Our faces must have shouted that was abit steep for an administration fee because she hurriedly continued.
"But it's not really an administration fee for us, you know, it's really for the upkeep of the luxury resorts you're staying at. You know, cleaning the pool..." She trailed off.
Because The Marriott doesn't have a pool boy of its own. Right.
"So you're really paying us to freeze the cost of your holidays.
Prices won't be staying at $149 per week in five years time, let alone ten or twenty! And that's not including the free week you get!"
I guess Emily had learnt that "free" actually meant $510 when she was at school.
"I mean, you couldn't even stay a single night at these kinds of resorts for that price right?"
Well, no, not for the $149, but when you added the $2510 on top of that... I thought.
"And there's lots of resorts in Australia, for you to take domestic trips, if you prefer."
Emily then showed us another glossy magazine full of amazing hotels in our home country.
"Have I mentioned that if you don't want to take your week that year, you can rent it out for the week?
That's right! You can stay at home and sell your week in the resort and make money!" Emily looked rapt with this prospect.
"And if you join today, this memembership is available to your family and friends. They can also access this amazing membership through your bonus weeks. Give a bonus week in London to your parents as an anniversary present!"
Hmmm, that would make me more popular than my younger brother or sister... I mused.
"As well as the free week every year, as well as the bonus weeks of rockbottom prices, as well as renting it out, or giving weeks to your loved ones, if you ever decide that you want out, which you won't, but say you ever did, we simply resell it and take 22% of the profit as our fee." EMily continued.
She'd lost me. Numbers and percentages have never been a strong point of mine.
"So, we would take your say, twenty year membership..." Emily drew 20x$510 on a piece of paper in front of her as she spoke.
"And we would sell it on as a thirty year membership..." She traced 30x$510 underneath the other equation.
"Out of the profit you make, we take a little bit of that to cover our costs."
She made it sound so fair and nice. Like they really were just giving away holidays and if you didn't want your holiday for some reason you could make money instead!
But we must have looked more subdued than the other couples who "won" a holiday and came here to "collect" it.
That distracted me. That's right, we won a HOLIDAY. The BUSINESS these people are in.
I bet none of those other prizes even existed! I bet every time our little Indian buddy stops someone he gives them a card that wins a big free holiday and a card for a smaller prize so everyone comes here and gets the pitch.
So he would have KNOWN we were going to scratch away the letter D. And the way he jumped around, all excited. What a phony. I was outraged.

While I was entertaining these revelations, Emily had called one of her partners over in an attempt to give us the hard sell. He was overweight and wearing a suit with a pink shirt. I instantly didn't trust him.
"So what's your problem with spending less than what you're spending now per year on holidays now, for better quality?" He asked. This guy was aggressive.
I thought of the cliched 'good cop/bad cop' routine. He was definately the bad cop.
Sitting beside me, Dan had immediately bristled in response to Pink Shirts tone and replied that joining something for thirty years just wasn't in his nature. And it's true - Dan can't even plan what he's doing that same afternoon yet alone for the next three decades.
Pink Shirt became friendlier. "Ok, I'll tell you what I'm going to do."
Throw in a set of steak knives?
"I'll give you six years of the club as a sort of test run."
I decided that Pink Shirt was definately an ex used car salesman.
"And how much will that cost?" Dan asked tersely.
"$6000."
"Does that include the $510 administration fee?" I asked.
"Well, usually, that's on top of what you're paying us to give you these kind of deals for, but..."
Pink Shirt glanced at Emily. They both nodded solemnly.
"Today we will waive this fee also, to show you that this is the real deal."
Then came the pressure.
"So, based on what you've heard hear today (repeat everything just said all over again)... are you going to answer yes or no?"
"Can we think about it and join later if we decide it's for us?"
"No." They both answered firmly.
"Why not?" I asked in surprise, thinking that if they were making money, they would be happy to sign us up.
"Because we only ever see people once."
"Why?"
"To keep our costs down."
"So you're telling me, that if I came back with $15000 tomorrow you couldn't afford to sign a contract? Dan asked in disbelief.
"Yes, that's right."
Dan and I exchanged a look.
Pink Shirt rushed to explain. "You see, it's not entirely our decision. It's an agreement we make ewith the Thai government that we only see people once off because sll the time you're here with us, you're not spending money in their shops, restaurants and bars."
Pink Shirt managed to look sympathetic about the poor economic circumstances of the working Thai people, while insinuating we somehow were depriving Thai babies of their food if we didn't sign on the spot.
Alarm bells were ringing in our heads when Pink Shirt started blaming things on Thai laws.
With no disrespect to the King, local laws we had seen over our time in Thailand ranged from being openly flouted - like the law of wearing a helmet on a motorbike - to broadcast as corrupt - such as being able to buy sex on the streets.
Regulation isn't a priority, as it rarely is in countires where tourism is all you've got to get better education, infrastructure and health.
They definately weren't going to be banning people from coming back to a building to sign a contract.
And how would they even know who was coming and going? Where we under observation? Unlikely.
Sensing Dans attitude towards him and his refusal to get pushed around, Pink Shirt turned to me.
"What about you, Lisa?" He asked kindly.
"How about if it was up to you? Would you jump at the chance to reward yourself with a five star luxury holiday package like this one?"
"I'm going to have to say no too, I don't have the kind of money to join, I'm afraid." I smiled apologetically, thinking that if I said I was broke they couldn't argue with that.
Oh, but how they could.
"Ok, what I'll do, just for you today, is take a $2000 deposit on the five year trial."
"Go home, work for a month, then give me another $2000, then in another month, make the last installment of the final $2000."
I could tell that Dan didn't like this guy one bit, with his feminine pink button down shirt, his slick suit, his English drawl and ability to write up-sidedown.
"No, I don't think so. You get people off the street and take them here for a free prize and then you want $6000 for some club.
I need time to consider it, and speak with my girlfriend. I don't give anyone $6000 just because they get me excited about some great offer." Dan said firmly.
Pink Shirt didn't like being told no. Pushing his chair back, he shook his head regretfully.
"Ok then. If you want to mis out, not a problem. Plenty of other people have joined, we have over 15, 000 members and more signing up everyday. It's your loss."
He walked away, leaving Emily looking deflated that she hadn't made a sale and got her commission.
We also rose from our seats and headed towards the door and entered to room with the beautifully groomed Thai women.
"Sawasdeekaaa", they repeated, heads bowed; hands clasped.
They presented Dan with his T-shirt emblazoned with the Paradise Direct logo.
Then they gave us the certificate for our "free" holiday.
It reads:
This certificate entitles the holder to seven nights luxury accommodation, for up to two people, at one of the KLR Hotels and Resort destinations.
The terms and conditions include:
Couples must be married or cohabitating for two or more years.
Couples must be aged betywen 28 and 65 and havbe a joint income of over $20,000.
Accommodation is subject to availability.
A non-refundable 99 pound administration fee is payable at the time of making your booking.
This offer is valid for 45 days from the date of issue and then for a period of 12 months only.

As the free return taxi dropped us off back to our rustic bungalow, we were left wondering.
A scam or not a scam?

Watch this space.

Tags: hotels, koh samui, scams, thailand

Comments

1

Hi Lisa, we sat through an almost identical presentation to yours, expect I found it all really rather amusing rather than a hard sell. I think the bully-boys must have been taking a day off and the b-team was on duty. Naturally, like yourselfs, we said no thank you and picked up our t-shirt and weeks accom voucher. So, what do you think our chances are of cashing in this voucher? Here's hoping!!! ;-)

  Samui traveller May 12, 2010 11:55 AM

2

Certainly a scam. I was stupid enough to actually be scammed by an Absolute Gentleman - a different "Club" with the same tactics. There are MANY sites with support for fools like me and even class action lawsuits being formed against these types. One of the best sites for info is a blog called http://www.absolutescam.viviti.com
I hope you don't mind a link because this is truly a helpful site for the scammed of the world! I actually found your story through her site!

Well done on walking away BTW.

  Scammed in Samui May 20, 2010 2:14 PM

3

We had the same thing and we are thiking about using the voucher but I'm too worried that we are going to get stung with a large bill at the end of the stay?!
I'm happy to sit and listening to a sales pitch for 90 minutes ( which will probably be 4 hours) and the say no, I have no problem with that, but will that be it?

  Sara Sep 30, 2010 1:31 PM

4

I went through the same experience and bought it : ( has anyone actually used the extra weeks? I am at the moment arguing with Absolute for a refund stating that they have lied in order for me to buy it. Can’t believe I fell for it!

  Scammed in phuket Oct 15, 2010 8:51 PM

5

has anybody out there used the 7 free nights from Absolute? if so were they satisfied with their accomodation, was it free in the end ? there has to be someone out there that has tried it out ! I have one from my recent trip to KohSamui and tempted to book, but a bit nervous that I might get over there, forced into another 90 minute presentation - refuse to sign up and get kicked out of the Hotel !!

  Am I scammed or not ? Jan 24, 2011 1:27 PM

6

just got back from phuket this week and received the same spiel this time from a group of british scammers going under the name AT&I - Asia Travel something, the office is just around the corner from the pattong merlin hotel, mainly targeting aussies i think, what a waste of time,

  dom Oct 26, 2011 6:46 PM

7

Just returned from Phuket with the same story - wow you are really lucky scratching the big prize etc etc.
Took the taxi thought what the hell. 90 minutes was 4 hours - hard sell.
We bought the 3 year package which included the initial "Scratch win" week plus 3 extra free weeks, plus some extra "cheap" weeks for family for a total $2500.
Not cheap, but not bad and if we utilize the numerous worldwide rooms, then might be a good thing?

Other than the numerous web sites devoted to this being a scam, I never thought of it being so - just a very pushy sell.
So - other than regretting the desision - has anyone utilized the service?? Made a booking? Stayed in any of the hotels as a member?
If I can book a holiday as it is promoted, then have I been scamed??
Thanks

  NJP May 31, 2012 9:38 AM

8

I was also scammed by Absolute. They completely misrepresented the vacation club membership in order to appeal to me. They claimed to have resorts that they did not. They promised 2 for 1 cruises for the life of the membership, which was an outright lie. I am working with my bank to get my deposit refunded. Please like and visit my facebook complaint page for Absolute. I would like to raise awareness and hopefully prevent anyone else from becoming a victim of Absolute. Thank you http://www.facebook.com/pages/Absolute-Destinations-Scammed-Complaint-and-Victims-page/113902915478134

  lovestosmile May 2, 2013 12:46 AM

9

Thanks to all who posted here. We ar currently in Phuket and we were approached by a nice Thai man yesterday asking us to fill out a survey about Thailand. We thought it was to help the tourist industry out so had no problems taking 5 minutes to answer a few questions about our trip. However, we got a phone call this morning "at our hotel" making the same claim - that we had won a holiday. My family were scammed in Florida years ago with the same type of thing and my instinct was "scam alert". The first thing we did over breakfast this morning was search the web for any help on the matter. Thanks to all of your comments we won't bother wasting half of our day. Thank you so much! I hope those of you who did go get to enjoy the one week prize or the full contracted years, but its just not for us.

  A&J Jun 14, 2013 12:53 PM

10

They are now targeting travellers via a "gift voucher for restaurants on Samui and Pukhet" kiosk at Bangkok domestic airport. I stupidly filled in our names and hotel on the form. Two days later we got a call at our hotel saying we had won the big prize in the draw and they would fetch us and take us to them. Again a British man vowing it wasn't about selling. Yeah right. The kiosk was next to the wifi password station, staffed by pretty Thai girls. Thank heavens I did a search and found forums such as these.

  Stavia Aug 28, 2013 6:55 PM

11

I'm ahead
Couple of years back on my first day in pattaya I was approached by this 21year old Thai chicky babe. I could not say no if u know what I mean. I was mesmerised by her beauty and the perfume she was wearing. All I could remember was if I went with her on the bus to this place I get a drink and a t-shirt. She was employed by Absolute and for very person she walked through the door she got 200tbh. I said one condition " you take my phone number and we"ll go out to dinner tonight". She said she was new to town and accepted.

I sat for the presentation given by a pommy ex-pat trying to get me to part with $5000. All I could think of was "will she call me tonight." I had my drink, sat in an aircon room for an hour and said to the guy that I'm serious and will bring my friend tomorrow so we can join together (to get the free shirt). Well the girl dropped me back on the bus. This gave me more chance to get to know her and also got into her good books as she got the 200.

That evening she called me. We went out and had a great time if u know what I mean! We ended up hooking up for the rest of my two week holiday.

Every single guy going to pattaya has one thing on top of his list and u know what I mean. It cost 3000tbh per day for a girlfriend. 14x3000=42000($1600)

Thanks to Absolute not only I did not lose $5000 I in fact saved $1600 plus a t-shirt and a drink. I still have the t-shirt.

Those who fall for this kind of scam are either extremely naive or silly to think that they are lucky to have been given such an offer. I assume most fall under the former.

As long as there are gullible people around likes of Absolute exist. Word of advice to new travellers to Thailand "anything offered to you on the streets is a scam be it a statue of Buddha at discount price just for you! Street walkers work on commission and anything they offer comes from a shop nearby. Go to the shop!"
Lucky charlie

  Charlie Sep 2, 2013 7:52 PM

12

Thailand.

Fake Watches
Pirate DVDs
Hookers posing as poor country girls
JetSki Hire damage scam
Motorbike Hire damage scam
Cops that are on the take

And some of you cant believe you've been scammed by a dodgy Holiday Club......... Come onnnnnn!

My partner and I got approached by these guys, we both knew it wasn't going to be anything amazing, but we were bored, so went for the drive...
Then back for the hard sell, we tried to get a Free dinner out them,but they wanted a deposit first, we told them we need time to talk amongst ourselves, the usual change in domineer followed.

I augured with the seller that if we are to believe everything he has been telling us, that it involves a level of trust, and if he can not extend that same level of trust to us, we don't have a deal.

As we got up to leave, he said wait, went out the back and returned with Dinner Voucher for both of us, dated it and signed it..
I said thank you and we walked out.
Thinking more about it, we realised what was about to happen, so we sold the vouchers for half their value
And went out and had drinks and laughed at the whole ordeal.

  Leslie Oct 7, 2013 7:29 PM

13

Great forum, I am in Koh Samui at the moment and my Fioncee and I were approached by a French man at Chaweng who had the exact same spiel as above. We listened to his nonsense for about 10 main and finally "won" the iPad/ $1000. We firmly said that we would take the voucher and meet him later. He did not like that and grabbed if from our hands and left on his motorbike.

Seems like this scam has been on for years and not stopped yet.

  Shane Oct 18, 2013 2:54 AM

14

We are currently in Phuket on Kata Beach and had a Swedish couple approach us. Same spiel with my boyfriend winning a cap and I supposedly won the big prize as a I had 3 stars on mine. Same as above, he was so happy jumping up and down and saying how he has goose bumps as this is a one in 10,000 win. We kept listening and they kept explaining how we have a chance to win one of these amazing prizes that includes a new iPhone, I pad, cash or a holiday. The TV had already been claimed by a prior winner!!. All we had to do is have a tour of this newly built resort in the hope that we would choose to stay there next time. I started thinking this is some sort of scam, will they rob us or something. One of them would go with us via tuk tuk, we would get drinks and a limousine afterwards to take us anywhere and the amazing price. They told us that they would get a commission which would help them pay their rent. The lady tried to organize a tuk tuk and then I just got really suss and didn't not feel comfortable getting into the tuk tuk. We told them that we will go on our own and they explained the way, but they said we have to go today otherwise we will miss out on one of the amazing prices!!!! Must go today.
We obviously never ended up going, I remembered to check today if this is a true scam as I saw them.on the street again and I found this Internet page.
Just scratched the box that says what we would have won and it was the holiday!!

  Mel Apr 25, 2014 5:04 PM

15

We got scammed about a year ago. Went in with no intention of buying anything....3hrs later had signed up to around $5K worth of holidays we were'nt going to use. I think we signed up just to get out of there. Long story short, sent them an email telling them i'd lost my job, still wanted to be a member in future(another year or two), but need our deposit back ( minus the cost of the I-pad $300). After a few emails, they refunded the money. Scammed the scammers!

  Absolute..... scam Aug 6, 2014 9:08 PM

16

I'm in Thailand, Phucket. Patong beach, come listen to this, free this free that ,no OBLIGATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go do the sales pitch, this is very nice blah blah blah!!! Kelvin comes over, kicks us out because we are not playing fair, VERY RUDE!!!!

DIDN'T SIGN UP!!!!!

But to be fair we got 40 English pounds or 2,000 Baht dollars to spend in another of their hotel restaurants. Food was NOT expensive, but not emotionally great! Service lacked, I didn't like the restaurant being next to the pool. The built hotel wasn't the great success story they tried to sell me. The hotel I'm in is better, (Baan Laimai) Very nice!

A free breakfast before the sales pitch! Not bad!

We got a free trip to a private beach ( NOT GOING! ) and a free spa treatment in the hotel we had a tour round and didn't get to visit the spa???? Bit odd! It may be half built like all the other things.

But we did get to feed a baby elephant for free! (Bit more frightening than i expected.)

So they are awful, but it cost me nothing to get these things so if your prepared to go and then be stubborn, you can milk them a little, we had a free meal, free elephant meet (ten minutes), free spa treatment, and all being told a free trip out of the hotel to another part of the island.

So, awful, but there for the taking, fill your boots people.

  Daniel.Whetstone Aug 21, 2014 3:07 AM

17

We arrived in Samui on 21.1.15 late and ventured for moring walk on 22nd and we were approached by UK person on a moped who asked if we speared English. Once I said yes then the 2 of them on the bike jumped off and pretended we were long lost friends with scratch it style perforated tickets they gave to us. I went to walk off and they said we must open the tickets now. One of the 2 tickets had an amazing prize that they hardly ever see and they acted amazed. I didn't seem to GAF and they suggested I act more excited. We must go with them now and collect our prize from the hotel in Fishermans Village. He did mention a hotel name but I don't recall what it is now. I asked if it was for time share and he said no! I said I am used to this form of scam approach as I have seen its the Gold Coast before. They just want to give me my prize which looked like it could be a $1000 US credit on a debit card and or an iPad. I smelled some scam and refused to go which seemed to surprise them. They suggested going with them (2 strangers) to get our prize and they get paid as well for simply delivering use to the hotel. I saw the main UK guy on the street the next day and he goes where were you come now and I kept walking and said no. After this I searched online and found other travellers stories. After seeing another guy riding up asking "you speak English" and I saw the same tickets in his hand I said no, no not this again and kept walking. Apart from this touting everywhere also be reset for the totters in front of tailors and restaurants. The line from the trip from a restaurant touter....."Mr....this is the food!"

  WSchrodter Jan 24, 2015 12:25 PM

18

Same thing just happened to us at kata beach. taken to patong in tuk tuk to absolute resort, given the 90 minute talk left 4 hours later in tuk tuk for kata beach with winning 7 day holiday to register online. did not buy anything, wondering has anyone gone on the free!!! holiday. be careful hey.

  rogjen Aug 2, 2015 4:38 PM

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