Beware of dodgy club membership pitches, says consumer council

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 May, 2013, 6:18pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 May, 2013, 7:04pm

The Consumer Council warned Hongkongers on Wednesday to beware of the deceptive tactics used by some salespeople trying to entice them into buying or renewing hotel or dining club memberships.

The consumer watchdog said that it had received 124 complaints dealing with club memberships last year, down from 132 in 2011.

And despite fewer complaints, the watchdog said, the nature of the sales practices had worsened from merely misleading to bordering on deceptive.

In one case, a woman received a phone call from someone who claimed to be working for company A. And since she had bought memberships through the company before, she agreed to pay HK$2,188 for a five-star hotel plus dining membership.

Soon after paying, the woman received some shoddily printed coupons that appeared to be issued by a different company. After checking with company A, she discovered that the package she bought had nothing to do with it and the salesperson merely pretending to work for the company.

In another complaint, a man who wanted to terminate his membership was tricked into paying more. He was told that in order to verify his identity, he had to give them his credit card details.

Once he did this, the company used the card information to charge him for another membership

Consumers should always be careful when handing out their credit card details, the council said.

And if they were charged for products or services without their authorisation, they should immediately alert their credit companies to void the payments.