For the past few months I and my boyfriend have been struggling with a travel agency called Easy holidays. On the 7 May 2017, whilst on a visit to my boyfriend who lives Cape Town, we were asked to enter a competition to win a holiday abroad, upon scratching the promoter told us we won and that we needed to go to their offices to claim our prize and listen to a 60min presentation. We were told by the promoter and employee of Easy Holiday, that we needed to lie and claim that myself and boyfriend were living together as that was a prerequisite of the contract. The salesman in question’s name is Leonard. He explained to us indeed we had won a holiday, not a free holiday but a discounted holiday and also presented the services of his company, which is to sell holidays to people via a points system. At the time of the presentation he told us that they were running a promotion and that we upon signing would receive in addition to the allocated points would also receive 10 extra points thereby ensuring that we start the contract on high note and have a high value in terms of points which is the currency of the product. The agent emphasized that his company were strictly interested in couples as they are their target audience- and single people were not preferred. The questions that we had for the Leonard the salesman was to ask should we decide or should something happen where we can no long use or want the product or afford the product, what is their cancellation policy- Leonard assured us that cancellation would be simple and there would be no ramifications. We would get our deposit of R5000 back that we paid to them and they would sell off our points and the case would be closed. At no point did Leonard ever say that in order to cancel we would have to pay a hefty Capital Value sum where the value of points might not match the sum. Leonard did not mention the fact that when we try to get ahold of him he will not answer. Leonard did not mention the fact that getting ahold of anyone from Easy holiday- via telephone or email would be difficult if not impossible. Leonard did not mention that by signing the contract we would effectively be signing into a debt.
Leonard upon successfully giving misleading facts about Easy holiday then referred us to his manager, Mr Abubaker, who himself assured us of the same inaccurate facts. When myself and my boyfriend at the time left the office we thought we made a once in a life time opportunity and had met two seemingly genuine salesman. This product does not work for us because we cannot afford it, I myself am on a 12 month employment contract which will be ending in April 2018. I do not have the funds to handle such a product. We have assessed our respective finances and we simply cannot afford a luxury product such as this as
A month after signing i.e June 2017 we realized that we cannot maintain the product, and this was 2 months before the first payment was going to be due to Easy Holiday. I must emphasise the fact that neither myself nor my boyfriend had even begun or ever used the product i.e. go on holiday, before deciding to cancel, and thus we were confident that cancellation as per Mr Abubaker and Mr Leonard had stressed would be a seamless process.
Upon notifying them that we want to cancel our membership, in June 2017, we got a response of receipt of our initial email to cancel and they said they would revert back to us with the cancellation process. Two (2) months later in August we finally get an actual email from them addressing our cancellation. In between the time of our initial email sent in June and their response email in August there were no calls from either salesman or the company to us to discuss our want to cancel or to check on their customers, something that Leonard had emphatically stated, as part of their exclusive client/customer service. In fact the times we did try to get ahold of Leonard he did seem to not know who we were nor did he seem interested in us. In their response email sent by them in August, the email stated that we would receive no refund of the R5000 deposit we paid and that we would have to pay off the capital debt which they calculated to be R47500, even though we hadn’t used their service at all. At this point we had paid R5000 and now we would have to pay a further R47500 on something we were cancelling and not having used- how is this fair or even right? When we queried the contradiction of the no refund policy and what was said to us on the day we signed, we have consistently been met with silence. Every time we call both Leonard and Abubaker the gentleman who signed us up they say they will get back to us but never do, we don’t hear from them until we have to call them again. Also when we do call the officers, Mr Leonard is never around or is on “leave”, further fueling our frustration, anger and disbelief. No one is willing to take responsibility for the fact that their employees lied us to when we were signing up with them- this is pure and simple misleading, deception in order to make a sale. These two salesmen both Abubaker and Leonard have displayed a lack of ethic, a lack of morals and a complete lack of human empathy at what has transpired through their hands.
In the current climate of South Africa, more and more people are finding themselves in debt, and economically unstable. I myself am a young woman of 29 years, to find myself bound to something that was presented to me as a genuine product am completely baffled and outraged at seeing what it actually is. This is another bad example of a system that perpetuates debt and forces people into poverty, once my contract ends next year I will literally be thrown straight into debt by paying for something I have not even used, nor want nor can afford. Myself and my boyfriend are in the situation where easy Holiday have started debit order payments from his account and yet there is still no word from them in trying to either assist us or answer our questions, whereas this could’ve been sorted and dealt with months ago.
Just today on the 04 October 2017, I again phone Mr Leonard who again did not know who I was, even though the previous week on the 29th September 2017 we had spoken telephonically, where I explained the situation and had to remind him who I was, he stated then that he would speak with Mr Abubaker and get back to me, unsurprisingly he did not. Today again he said he would look into it and get back to me- he mentioned that we need to write a formal letter of cancellation to which I told him we did that and the response from them was this bill of R47500, to which he promptly said that that was their policy and rushed me off the phone.
My questions are:
1) We have not used the product how can we be expected to pay- R47500 on top of the deposit of R5000 we paid? Again for a product we have not used and have no intention of using - there is no benefit from our side-there is no good that is coming to our side from this whole thing. The only people who benefit is Easy Holiday.
2) On the statement sent by Easy Holiday it says that in the contract we signed we have 40 points, but at the time of signing we were given additional promotional points on top of the 40 standard points. Where are those additional points?
3) In selling off the points to recuperate the capital value- whose responsibility will that be, and what guarantee do we have that it will cover the capital sum.
4) Why the two salesmen Mr Abubaker and Leonard display such deception- is this company policy?
5) What of the false promises made to us by the two salesman relating to cancellation, who also assured us that selling the points off would be done by them?
6) We were told to lie and say we stay together as that was a prerequisite for the “prize” and product- even though during the presentation I told Leonard that I was going to catch a flight back to Guateng where I reside that afternoon-thereby disproving that myself and myself and the boyfriend live together.
7) Why has trying to get answers from Easy Holiday been so difficult and near impossible?