Sally and Sean went along to a seminar run by a company offering timeshare holiday club memberships, Easyshare Limited. Sally and Sean purchased a membership and took out a loan with Easyshare’s associated finance company to purchase the membership, for $13,000.
With the club membership Sally and Sean received an allocated number of membership points which they could then use to book accommodation for overseas holidays. Sally and Sean were particularly keen on using their points to pay for accommodation on the Gold Coast for a family wedding.
Sally and Sean said they were told at the seminar that the number of points required for accommodation on the Gold Coast was the same all year round. When Sally and Sean later logged onto their Easyshare account they discovered that this was not the case; the number of points required changed according to the season. By that time the cooling off period in which Sally and Sean could cancel their purchase of the membership had passed.
Sally and Sean wanted to cancel their membership, and the credit contract for the loan, because they felt they had been misled about the benefits of their membership. Easyshare said that Sally and Sean were unable to cancel their membership and that its sales representatives at the seminar would have told Sally and Sean that use of its properties is subject to seasonal rates. Lastly, Easyshare said that its product disclosure statement and other information given to Sally and Sean made it clear that accommodation is subject to availability.
Sally and Sean said that after they were told they could not cancel the membership and the information about seasonal rates, they contacted Easyshare to see whether there were further options to use their points to pay for accommodation. Sally and Sean said that they then received further poor service from Easyshare, in that accommodation was not available.
We facilitated a telephone conciliation conference in August 2014, between Sally and Sean and Easyshare’s complaints officer, Margaret. The parties were able to discuss the issues as they saw them, and were able to reach a resolution both parties could live with. Both parties approached the conciliation with an open mind, which helped them reach a resolution. Easyshare wanted to ensure Sally and Sean remained happy customers, and Sally and Sean said they probably should have read more of the information they were given at the seminar.
The agreement reached was that Sally and Sean would begin their monthly payments towards the credit contract, on exactly the same terms, from December 2014, not August 2014, with no penalty. The parties also agreed that Sally and Sean could contact Margaret directly at any time to discuss plans to use their membership points.