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Cape Town – A Cape Town travel club is facing prosecution by the National Consumer Commission (NCC) over a range of charges, including tricking consumers into signing up.
Vacation Hub International (VHI) has been investigated by the commission and the report has been referred to its prosecution unit, commission spokesman Trevor Hattingh said.
VHI is a wholesale travel club and lifestyle company focused on travel and tourism, according to its website.
Hattingh said the complaints were that VHI distorted material facts to trick consumers into signing up, that the company used unfair tactics to prevent consumers from canceling membership contracts within the statutory cooling off period of five days provided for by the Consumer Protection Act and that VHI exploited the vulnerability of timeshare consumers who were struggling and desperate to get out of their timeshare.
âThe investigation was recently finalized and the report has been forwarded to our prosecution unit for further enforcement. Our prosecutor, after evaluating the report, will formulate charges, âHattingh said.
VHI’s director of member services, Hannelie Jacobs, said she wanted evidence from the commission so that she could investigate the case on her own.
âLike most businesses, we have disputes at the NCC. In fact, we advise our members of their rights to bring disputes to the NCC.
âWe have never refused to cancel a member who wished to cancel. All of our members receive a copy of the agreement on the day they join and have very clear instructions on how to cancel. It is not possible for us. to prevent a person from giving notice. in the cooling off period, âJacobs said.
Regardless of the commission’s investigation, Trudie Broekmann Attorneys said he sent cancellation letters to seven disgruntled VHI customers, due to their alleged deceptive marketing and refusal to agree to cancel contracts.
A customer, Mzwamadoda Grootboom, said he contracted with VHI in October last year for a lifetime membership in VHI.
âThe day after the contract was signed, Grootboom telephoned VHI to cancel the contract within the five-day cooling off period authorized by the CPA,â the lawyers said.
âInstead, the consultant told Grootboom to call VHI again in two weeks. However, when Grootboom called VHI two weeks later, the consultant told Grootboom that the contract could not be canceled as it was now outside the cooling off period.
Jacobs said: âWe totally disagree with the statements of lawyer Trudie Broekmann.
âOur legal department responded with evidence to each of the six cancellation letters they sent to us. “