A cruisy time
Hannah joined a timeshare vacation club, Holidays For All, after attending a promotional seminar while she was on holiday in Fiji. Hannah was particularly attracted to joining up with Holidays For All because upon joining she received 5 two-for-one cruise certificates with a cruise company.
Hannah spoke with Holidays For All and said she was not planning on using the two-for-one cruise certificates in the near future. Hannah said Holidays For All said that was fine, as long as she did not register the certificates. If Hannah registered the certificates she would have to use them within 12 months.
Eight months later Hannah was contacted by the cruise company and told that the certificates were about to expire. Hannah told the cruise company it must be mistaken because she had never registered the certificates.
Hannah complained and Holidays For All agreed to issue Hannah with the certificates once she was ready to use them. Hannah asked Holidays For All what would happen if she waited 10 years before registering the certificates. Holidays For All said that would be too much of a time gap and confirmed she would be unable to register the certificates in 10 years’ time.
Hannah complained to FSCL that Holidays For All should have confirmed she would still be able use the certificates in 10 years’ time. Hannah said she was disappointed because one of the reasons she joined Holidays For All was so that she could take advantage of the two-for-one cruise deals in the future.
A reasonable settlement offer
In our view, Holidays For All had made a reasonable offer to settle Hannah’s complaint by offering to issue the certificates once she was ready to use them. We also considered it reasonable for Holidays For All not to confirm that Hannah would be able to register the certificates in 10 years’ time.
Under FSCL’s Terms of Reference, our CEO can decline to investigate a complaint where it appears to her that a participant has made a reasonable offer to settle a complaint.
We thought it would be impossible for Holidays For All to know whether the cruise company would still be in existence in 10 years’ time. We thought Holidays For All may be in a position to provide Hannah with the certificates in 10 years’ time, but it was under no obligation to guarantee this. Further, the value/cost of a cruise in 10 years’ time was likely to be considerably more than the value of a cruise in the next 1-2 years or so.
We thought it was unreasonable for Hannah to expect the certificates to be available in 10 years’ time, or indefinitely.
We decided not to further investigate Hannah’s complaints as we considered Holidays For All had made a reasonable settlement offer.