Issued By
  West Yorkshire Trading
  Standards Service






West Yorkshire Trading Standards has recently been inundated with calls concerning supposedly “free holidays”.  In many instances consumers are told they have won a free holiday or have been successful in a holiday competition. 

Unfortunately, what at first may appear to be a prize or a bargain offer may not turn out to be such a great deal after all.  Often such schemes have hidden costs such as booking fees, travel insurance, airport tax and so on, all of which can add up to a considerable amount.  In some instances the lucky winner may have to pay a fee to claim a prize such as a holiday voucher.  Unfortunately claiming the voucher doesn’t guarantee that you will get the holiday you want at the price you want to pay.  As with most things that seem too good to be true there are often strings attached.

Another problem consumers have encountered is not being able to contact the company.  Constantly engaged phone lines and unanswered letters all add to the confusion.

Under the law travel companies are required to be bonded in case of financial problems.  Many of the schemes require upfront payment not to a travel company but to marketing companies who are simply running the promotion.   If the marketing company was to go bust it is unlikely that a consumer would be able to recover any upfront payment.

Martin Wood, West Yorkshire Joint Services Chief Officer said, “I am sure that not all these promotions are bad, they are certainly not illegal and perhaps there are some examples of very good bargains.  However, consumers should take note, the schemes are really just another way of marketing.   Before parting with any money take time to consider what it is you are getting into and what you may or may not get for your  money.

The holiday industry is an extremely competitive market place and it really does pay to shop around.  Always read the terms and conditions and don’t be pressurised into parting with money unless you know what the scheme involves.

Further information and advice about this or any other consumer problems is available from The West Yorkshire Consumer Helpline on 0113 3848 848- Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 6.30 pm and Saturday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.


For further information contact:


David Lodge Principal Trading Standards Officer 0113 289 8243

Paul Cooper Divisional Manager  0113 289 8240

Graham Hebblethwaite Divisional Manager/ General Media Contact 0113 289 8218