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Brisbane-Lawyer, Solicitor - Admitted 2005
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 14361
Experience:  I did my law degree at the University of Queensland
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Whilst holidaying in Phuket recently my husband and I foolishly

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Whilst holidaying in Phuket recently my husband and I 'foolishly' signed up with a 'Vacation Club' - Club Tropical - Tropical Vacation Network Co Ltd. As is the case, we again 'foolishly' got caught up in the hype and on the pretext of winning a great prize for just listening to their '90 minute presentation', signed up for their 'timeshare' scheme which offered 1 week free accommodation and heavily discounted further weeks all around the world for $23000 for 25 (+ a further 25yrs). That same afternoon they stood over my shoulder whilst I carried out an international transfer of $5800 deposit to their account (as their credit card facility was 'down' due to something in Bangkok!!!). When we got back to our accommodation we googled the company and went on some forums which were totally negative, that it was a scam. We got on to our bank straight away to see if we could reverse our transaction as it was done after 5pm on Friday afternoon 17/5, but were unable to do so. The balance is due on 7 June. Could you please advise. Many thanks, Sandra
Could you please advise.

If you don't pay it, then there is nothing they can do about it unless you return to Thailand. Court orders from Thailand are unenforceable in Australia. But if you return to Thailand, they could get your passports taken off you meaning you won't be easily able to return to Australia.

Unfortunately, however, it is very unlikely you will recover your $5800.

Should you have any other questions, please let me know.

If you're satisfied with the results of your question, then I'll ask you to please provide positive feedback so that I will get credit for the time spent on your question. Your question can continue even after you leave positive feedback, so if you have any follow up questions please don't be afraid to ask.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Alex - my husband and I are 'intelligent professionals' so it is extremely embarrassing that we jumped in without researching. Maybe we were just so relaxed that our brains were 'asleep'. How long are records kept? A part of the contract read as follows:

'3. If after due enquiry (within 15 days after home arrival) either you or your legal advisors can point to any matter which demonstrates that you will not receive exactly the benefits of membership as set out there in the written agreement, then:

a) Club Troipical will cancel this agreemenht

b) All monites paid will be refunded in full

c) You will be under no obligation to pay any balance

PLEASE NOTE HOWEVER THAT THIS IS NOT A GENERAL RIGHT OF CANCELLATION. This is an opportunity for you to check the legal arrangements).'

Am I able to send you a copy of the paperwork?

Yes, you can. Please email it to:
[email protected]

And ask them to forward it to Alex in the Australia law group. This can take up to 24 hours.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks again. I have emailed you a copy of our paperwork.


Of note, I would be interested to know whether Club Tropical used to be Absolute Vacations. I understand that Absolute Vacations was shut down, but subsequently started up under another name???


I'm not certain that Club Tropical is a scam, but I believe it's not as 'fantastic' as it was made out to be. There is also a $375 annual fee similar to 'body corporate' fees but Club Tropical don't actually own any properties, there are resorts that are available to Club Tropical members, subject to availability etc.


Therefore to be a member would be a very expensive exercise for 1 'free' week per year and other 'discounts'!! If Club Tropical were to shut down what happens to the '50 year' promised subscription??


It just does not make economical sense and upon reflection we see the 'error of our ways'. Hence the value of 'cooling off periods'.


I look forward to your advice re cancellation of this contract.


Kind Regards


It has come through and I have had a look at it. Basically it is as I thought, governed under the laws of Thailand.

That means it is unenforceable in Australia so if you don't send any further money, all they can do is call you and complain, but they cannot sue you in Australia to enforce the contract.

The terms and conditions are largely irrelevant because they will not refund your $5800. And suing them in Thailand would be a long shot as the judicial system in that country isn't free from corruption issues. Also, suing them in Thailand would require that you return to Thailand, and that is something I recommend you avoid.

Lastly, given all the complaints we get about Club Tropical on this site, I would say most people draw the conclusion that it is a scam - unfortunately after they have handed over a good sum of money. My recommendation is that you abandon the contract and send them no further funds. As for Absolute Vacations, I have never heard of them. It is possible they might be the predecessor to Club Tropical or just another scam outfit in Thailand.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanx Alex.


Do we not have grounds to rescind the contract or is it the case that as there r few words in the contract we r not left with any legal avenue to cancel??


Also, if it's a scam would they register our details with the authorities in the event that we don't pay the balance and if so, how long r records kept?


I appreciate yr assistance.



Do we not have grounds to rescind the contract or is it the case that as there r few words in the contract we r not left with any legal avenue to cancel?

No, you don't have any legal grounds to rescind the contract at this stage, as they are not in breach of the contract yet.

In answer to your second question, they would try to get a Court order in Thailand so that if you return, your passports would be seized until you have honoured the contract and paid what is outstanding.

Such a Court order would not have an expiry date.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

That's a shame - we love Thailand - expensive lesson. Is it possible down the track to check the court register to see if we have been placed on it?

Usually they will wait for the person to return before seeking the Court order.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

How will they know if we return?

They would only know that if someone tips them off or they see you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Alex for helping us with this issue.


We will certainly use this service in future and will leave feedback as extremely happy customers.


Kind Regards


I was glad to help.