I received an email from Karen in which she recounted a rather unfortunate experience resulting from a visit to Nerja in November 2009 and a solution to which is still not forthcoming. Rather than paraphrase, here is the full, completely unedited email:
Travel Scam by Ultimate Finding Company, Principle Travel and Essential Travel UK
During a recent holiday in Nerja Spain; we were scammed with a very clever sales pitch and follow-up by very pleasant people at the Ultimate Finding Company (ULFC) – a very appropriate name -when we purchased a membership in a so called exclusive travel club called Principle Travel.
We were lured to the sales pitch with the promise of winning a fairly significant prize on a scratch card. We purchased the membership on the promise of world wide access to 4 star self-catering units at ₤76 /week and deep discounts on other holidays such as two for one cruises and 40-50% reductions on hotels. We were told that Principle Travel can offer such discounted rates as its revenue relies on an annual membership fees not on markups like other travel agents.
After we purchased our membership we were told that units would be available from ₤76. This new information created some concern for us so we immediately contacted the ULFC and were told not to worry as the ₤76 rate would be available 99% of the time. We asked for this commitment in writing and were assured that it would be sent by post and waiting for us when we returned home. It never arrived. When we tried to book units at the promised rate of ₤76 pounds were told that this rate is only available 6-8 weeks in advance of the holiday. We have not been able to book any unit at this rate.
The scratch card prize was 3 free weeks of accommodation from Essential Travel UK. This has also not worked out as promised. After purchase, we were told that weeks could only be used individually. We have noticed from other postings on the internet that the free accommodations requires attendance at yet another sale session and that ULFC and Essential Travel UK same company. During our attempts to book holidays we had correspondence from staff at both Principle and Essential Travel, we strongly suspect, therefore, that these companies are all one and the same
Clearly, we were deliberately misled before the sale to close the deal and after the sale to make sure we did not invoke the 7 day cancellation clause in the membership contract. We have communicated our concerns to ULFC and Principle Travel and have requested a full refund and review and action by senior officials. Both requests have failed. Therefore, we feel compelled to tell our story in the hope that others will not fall into the same trap.