Today 21 March 2019, Gulf News UAE, has published the story of a huge timeshare scam, in which at least 200 people are believed to be victims. It is believed these victims have been cheated out of around Dh4 million, which equates to $1,088,983 or 955,290€.
According to Gulf News the victims were (allegedly) sold fake timeshare holiday memberships by the company Arabian Times Travel & Tourism LLC (Arabian TTT), according to Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED). This story was first highlighted in September by Gulf News
It appears this scam has involved mainly Dubai residents, Mainly Indian and from South East Asia, but it is not clear if any victims may have been visiting the country either on vacation or on business.
The deal involves a lifetime membership which gives access to hotels and resorts in India as well as around the world. The membership also includes discounts to a health club in Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman, a coffee shop and restaurant and also an optical shop in Dubai.
The scheme is based on the number of days which a client books, with the price varying from one client to another. One client paid Dh16,000 for a 77-day membership, another Dh6,000 for a 30-day package.
How the clients were lured to the sales presentation is not unfamiliar with many timeshare purchasers in Europe or the US, Arabian Travel Time & Tourism would set up kiosks Dubai in shopping malls. Here the passing shoppers would be handed a voucher asking them to fill it in with their details, giving their emails and telephone numbers.
The next step is that Arabian TTT, would then call the client with the story they have won a gift, they are then invited to a hotel to pick this up. It would also entail a video presentation about the company and what they have to offer, which lasts around 45 minutes.
Then as all timeshare purchasers are well aware, the high-pressure sales tactics kick in. The promises of the 4 & 5-star hotels that are available, discounts at other outlets and not to forget the savings which members would be making on similar holidays.
According to many of the victims, during the presentation, they were not allowed to use any mobile device, which would obviously prevent them from making any checks on the company. Loud music was played in the background and they were unable to discuss the deal with their family. The pressure was to sign there and then with full payment made at that point.
According to DED, the company no longer exists, it also transpires that the operating licence had also expired and the company was no longer operating in Dubai.
The DED has informed victims they should “communicate with legal authorities concerned to cancel their contract”, or “request compensation or refund with the concerned company”.
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Below is a link to the Gulf News article.