Time-share company fined $30,000 for misleading
Issued 17 April 2002-03 /141
Time-share company fined $30,000 for misleading conduct
Time-share company One World Leisure (NZ) Limited (OWL) was fined $30,000 plus costs in the Auckland District Court today after pleading guilty to breaching the Fair Trading Act in relation to its promotion of time-share investments and holiday ownership.
A Commerce Commission investigation revealed that OWL telemarketers contacted members of the public advising them that they had won a free gift or accommodation package, which could be collected at a holiday or travel show. The holiday or travel shows were in fact presentations promoting the purchase of time-share or holiday ownership rights.
Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said that according to those who attended the presentations, the selling was pressurised and they were asked to commit to the packages on offer immediately at the end of the presentation.
In addition, the free offer promoted over the phone had a number of undisclosed conditions including a requirement to purchase meals at set minimum prices and a required minimum stay.
Ms Battell said that OWL also misled members of the public with its ‘Spot the Beach Ball’ competition, which promised a prize of a week for two on Hayman Island, plus hundreds of other holidays.
“OWL never published the winner of the competition in the Waikato Times, as specified on the entry form, and now acknowledges that no draw ever took place in relation to the competition,” she said. “The competition was run simply as a means of gathering data to create the database,” she added.
“The Commission remains concerned about the telemarketing practices of some time-share operators and will continue to prosecute those who mislead the public.
“In the meantime, members of the public are advised not to be induced to attend timeshare presentations on the promise of prizes and they should not feel pressured into signing deals on the night,” Ms Battell said.