Customers file harassment complaint

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 October, 2012, 5:42am

After paying more than HK$3 million to a travel company that they say provided no services, a group of Hongkongers have complained to police that the company is continuing to harass them for more money.

Twenty-seven clients of Hong Kong-based Emperor Regency International (ERI) yesterday filed a complaint about debt- collection calls from the company, which persuaded them to buy memberships in an Australian travel club in 2006.

Despite paying monthly instalments of thousands of dollars, the customers say they have never received the travel deals.

One complainant surnamed Cheung said he paid about HK$30,000, but received nothing more than some travel brochures. "When I called to book an air ticket, they said they would reply later. But they never did."

Many stopped paying after the deals failed to materialise. In recent months, they have received letters and phone calls from a debt-collection company hired by ERI to seek payments of HK$50,000 to HK$100,000 to settle their accounts.

A customer surnamed Wong said the company demanded HK$60,000.

"They called my office and threatened me that if I did not pay, someone would come by to harass me," he said.

The customers contacted Neighbourhood and Workers Service Centre lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung, who helped them file a complaint yesterday at the police headquarters in Wan Chai. A police spokeswoman said the department was reviewing the request for an investigation.

A woman who answered ERI's phone declined to comment. The Australian travel club that the customers thought they were joining, HC Asia Pacific, said it stopped using ERI as a marketing company in 2004.

The customers said ERI first asked them to come to its office to pick up prizes they had won. Once there, they received an hours-long sales pitch urging them to buy memberships.