Winning a holiday? But what if it’s not all it’s cracked up to be?

Who doesn’t dream of receiving a phone call telling you that you’ve won a free holiday in Turkey? A week of relaxation and enjoyment under the Turkish sun and all free of charge – not to be missed. Unless more is expected of you than to merely recline lazily on your beach chair. What if the gift turns out to be a poisoned chalice?

Free of charge? Costly affair!

Tempting customers with gifts is a commonly used sales technique, which has been around for many years in Belgium, particularly in the furniture sector. It is also used by companies abroad, including Turkish operators in the holiday sector.

Be vigilant and don’t accept a 'gift' that turns out to be a poisoned chalice. You don’t get something for nothing. Once you’ve arrived at your holiday destination, the tour operator takes you on a tour of local artisans selling jewellery, carpets, leather goods, etc. Using aggressive and misleading sales techniques, sellers try to tempt you into buying stuff. Often at inflated prices.

A typical sales trick: “You don’t have to pay now. A deposit will do and you can transfer the balance when you get home.” Which makes us suspect that the actual value of your purchases is probably no more than the deposit you paid.


Have you received a reminder to pay the balance? Try to prove that the value of your purchases does not tally with the total price demanded by the seller. If you have bought jewellery, have it valued by a jeweller and send a copy of the valuation certificate to the seller to substantiate your refusal to pay the balance.

Have you been offered a free holiday? Try to find more information about the company which is organising the trip. Scrutinise any documentation you have received. Check the company’s website and reviews on the Internet. And remember: in principle, a gift is free of charge. The giver should not expect something in return.

Not sure? If so, contact ECC Belgium.