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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-02-24

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, February 24, 2002


  • [01] 'Timeshare deal offered holidays in the north'
  • [02] UNFICYP saves more than a million dollars
  • [03] Oz union visit 'a sensation'
  • [04] Hunter, aged 19, killed

  • [01] 'Timeshare deal offered holidays in the north'

    By Alexia Saoulli

    MORE complaints about timeshare or holiday deals have been made to the Sunday Mail, following a series of articles highlighting how tourists are being harassed, especially in Paphos.

    One Sunday Mail reader, a Cypriot, was particularly unhappy that he was offered holidays in the occupied areas and that, although he told Cyprus Tourism Organisation officials in London he claims nothing has been done about it.

    Another reader, Graham Tedds phoned the Cyprus Mail the day before he and his wife Janet went back from Cyprus to England. His complaint was that consumers are being misled and not fully informed of their legal rights.

    The Tedds were holidaying in Paphos last week when a “very friendly man in a jeep” approached them, wanting to tell them about a discount holiday scheme. They agreed and followed him to a café on Tombs of the Kings road.

    “He did not sell us a hard pitch, as reportedly other touts do, nor did we get given scratch cards,” said Tedds. “We've heard that is done to entice unsuspecting tourists into the café where they are then pressurised into signing away £10,000 up front.”

    He said the salesman expressly told them this was not a timeshare scheme and that it was a 10-year membership deal with Dream Works Vacation Club that would offer them airfares and package holidays cheaper than at a high street shop.

    In fact, the first point in a 14-point contract titled 'New Members Declaration of Understanding for Dream Works Vacation Club', which they signed, said just that.

    The name of the company with which the Tedds signed for the holiday package was Phoenix Promotions, reportedly the main agency for Dream Works Vacation Club and Timelinx, which claim not to be timeshare companies.

    The membership fee is £2,800 sterling, including the first year's annual club fee, which the Tedds paid by credit card. After that the club fee is £75 sterling a year. Failure to pay will result in loss or suspension of membership benefits.

    The contract the couple signed also said “I/We understand that I/we are signing a legally binding contract which under Cyprus law has no change of mind clause or cooling off period”.

    But under Cyprus law, according to Tourism Ministry official Maria Pasadi, any holiday programme that is for more than one a one-off holiday effectively constitutes timeshare. That means, among other things, a deposit is not allowed to be taken until after a 15-day cooling-off period, during which a customer can change his or her mind. The Cyprus law also states that consumers must be made aware of this fact before entering into an agreement.

    The day after signing the contract the Tedds returned to the UK. Once there they read various Cyprus Mail timeshare articles published last week and Graham became concerned.

    “That's why I decided to stop the payment on my Barclay card,” he said “But the credit card company said they would only stop the payment if we contacted the company to inform them that we were withdrawing from the deal.”

    However, he soon realised that he had no contact number for the company in Cyprus, only an agent's number in the UK in Wiltshire. He promptly contacted the agent and was relieved to get an answer from a woman who confirmed that she did operate out of the UK and dealt with a number of companies in Cyprus.

    Within days the Tedds received a confirmation letter from Phoenix Promotions with its letterhead and a Wiltshire address. But the envelope had been posted from Scotland.

    “We became rather worried about this,” Graham said, “because we couldn't understand why the letter had been posted from Scotland and signed in place of the agent in Wiltshire. When we contacted her she too was baffled and said that she would check to see if we had in fact been registered with Dream Works”.

    Yesterday, Graham Tedds said the agent had got back to them confirming their registration with the organisation. “So we've decided to go ahead with the deal,” he said, “particularly since it all seems to have checked out.”

    Another reader, who asked for his name to be withheld, told us that he had bought a holiday package from Maxima Marketing Ltd in Protaras in September last year.

    He alleges he was harassed into the deal and coerced into paying a deposit, claiming he was not told about a cooling-off period under Cyprus legislation.

    “I discovered that Maxima is part of 'Poalim Investments' in Israel who operate a company specialising in timeshares and holiday exchanges, including two hotels in the Cyprus occupied areas. I rang to demand my money back, but was told that under Cyprus law there is no cooling-off period.”

    He said he was accused of not wanting to pay the money he owed and that a “debt company would put me in my place”.

    “In October, I also contacted the CTO in London but they only seemed in interested in the Northern Cyprus part of the scam and not the fact that people are being misled.”

    So far, this reader claims he has paid more money than he should have - for what now appears to be a timeshare deal, according to the ministry official. Although he says he didn't have “a gun to his head”, he feels he has been pressured and “ideally would like my money back”.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] UNFICYP saves more than a million dollars

    UNFICYP has saved more than a million dollars in expenditure between 2000 and 2001 due to cost-cutting and redundancies, according to a report from the UN Secretary-general released yesterday. The UN general assembly approved an amount of $43.2 million for the force in June 2000, while expenditure for the following 12 months amounted to $42.3 million. The difference was put down to lower rations costs for troops, lower salary costs following a reduction in staff and lower communications charges.

    Since April 1999, UNFICYP has laid off 110 local staff and used outsourcing to fill the gaps. The force is also using tender contracts for supplies and other needs.

    One third of the cost of UNFICYP is paid by the Cyprus government, around $13.8 million, while Greece contributed $6.5 million under the period of review.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Oz union visit 'a sensation'

    A VISIT to Australia by two trade union leaders, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, at the invitation of the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), Sharon Burrow, has given "a significant push" to rapprochement efforts and common action between Greek and Turkish Cypriots living in Australia. The General Secretary of left-wing union PEO, Pampis Kyritsis, and the President of Turkish Cypriot trade union DEV-IS, Ali Gule, who have just returned from a ten-day visit to Australia, believe their visit created a "sensation".

    During their stay in Australia, Kyritsis and Gule met government and trade union officials, as well as with Greek and Turkish Cypriots living and working in Australia.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Hunter, aged 19, killed

    A MAN aged 19, from Tsakilero in Larnaca district, was killed yesterday while out hunting with his fiancée's brother-in-law in Ayios Ioannis Fanou in the Paralimni district, said police.

    Pavlos Lambrou, a construction worker, died instantly, they said. State pathologist Eleni Antoniou will be carrying out the autopsy. Police are investigating the circumstances of his death.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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