CAPE TOWN. – A renowned local consumer attorney, Trudie Broekmann, is taking Flexi Holiday Club to court to claim back all fees paid by their clients, who are a group of long-standing members of the Club.
Flexi Holiday Club provides timeshare to South African consumers. It has come to light that Flexi Holiday Club has been engaging in unfair dealings with consumers including, among other things, negotiating unlawful contracts, providing false information to induce members to join the scheme, and failing to supply the holiday accommodation which they agreed to supply under the contract.
A total of 32 consumers have so far approached Broekmann, a Cape Town based attorney specialising in consumer law, to cancel their contracts citing their grievances with Flexi Holiday Club’s service delivery and false promises as their main reasons for cancellation.
Two of Broekmann’s clients, Alison and John (not their real names) from Cape Town, purchased Flexi Holiday Club points in October 2018 for R 57 500.00. Apart from paying the purchase price for the points, Alison and John also have to pay exorbitant annual levies to Flexi Holiday Club.
They signed the Flexi Holiday Club contract while they were on holiday at Club Mykonos, Langebaan, where they were approached by a Flexi Holiday Club marketing agent who told them that they had won a prize.
All they had to do to redeem that prize was to attend a short presentation at the hotel. They were thus lured to a 2 hour, hard selling presentation about Flexi Holiday Club which resulted in Alison and John signing a contract which binds them to Flexi Holiday Club in perpetuity. The fact that the contract would last for the rest of their lives was not disclosed to them at the presentation.
The Flexi Holiday Club sales agents promised them access to an array of local and international holiday accommodations which they would be able to reserve during peak holiday season and school holidays.
One of Flexi Holiday Club’s marketing statements reads “From exotic destinations, mountain retreats, Caribbean cruising, wellness spas, and lazy seaside vacations – they’re all yours with Flexi Club.”
However, since purchasing the points, Alison and John have not been able to reserve any holiday accommodation.
When they tried to make a reservation, they were first told that their selected accommodation was fully booked, and then that their chosen accommodation was no longer part of the Flexi Holiday Club accommodation portfolio – despite it still being advertised on their website.
Alison and John then realised that they had made a mistake and requested cancellation of their contract with Flexi Holiday Club.
After much back and forth correspondence, they were advised by Flexi Holiday Club that they are required to pay a fee of R 40 678.12 in order to cancel the contract. They then contacted Broekmann for assistance.
Broekmann sent a letter to Flexi Holiday Club in October 2019 cancelling the contract due to Flexi Holiday Club’s breach of the contract by failing to provide Alison and John with holiday accommodation, the misrepresentations made by Flexi Holiday Club’s sales agents, and the contract’s non-compliance with the National Credit Act, the Consumer Protection Act and the Property Time-Sharing Control Act.
Non-compliance with the aforementioned Acts and misrepresentation results in the contract being invalid and Broekmann claimed a refund of all amounts paid to Flexi Holiday Club by Alison and John at that date, an amount of R 35 812.26.
Flexi Holiday Club refused to acknowledge the cancellation of the contract and its invalidity. The Club also denied any misrepresentation on the part of their sales agents.
The Club insist that they will only release Alison and John from the contract if at least 30% of the purchase price for the points (including interest) has been paid as well as all amounts owning to the Club in respect of annual levies. However, according to Broekmann, cancellation on the basis of breach of contract, misrepresentation and an unlawful contract is a unilateral act and the contract is legally cancelled from the date of delivery of the cancellation letter.
Broekmann says that Flexi Holiday Club’s treatment of Alison and John, and other consumers who have similar complaints, contravenes section 66 of the National Credit Act and section 68 of the Consumer Protection Act which provides that a supplier must not penalise consumers who assert their rights under these Acts.
On behalf of her group of clients, Broekmann will lodge a joint complaint to the National Credit Regulator and the National Consumer Commission with the intention of having the matter heard before the National Consumer Tribunal.
Consumers with similar complaints about their Flexi Holiday Club membership may contact Trudie Broekmann Attorneys on 021 422 0269 or firstname.lastname@example.org in order to join the group of claimants, but must do so by no later than the end of March 2020.
Statement issued by Fanie Heyns on behalf of Trudie Broekmann Attorneys. For more information, contact Lauren Lewis of Trudie Broekmann Attorneys on 021 422 0269 or Heyns on 083 412 9777.