WHEN Lynda and David Cook paid a York holiday firm £3,200, they looked forward to a lifetime of luxurious but cheap vacations abroad.

But more than six months later, the only benefit they have received so far from Global Vacations is a plastic "hamper" of food.

They are still waiting for their Global Discovery Club membership pack, giving details of how the deal would operate. The pack was promised before Christmas by G A Khan, manager of Global Vacations' office in York. The Cooks are now fighting to get their money back.

The couple, from Market Weighton, say their nightmare began last November when they received a phone call out of the blue asking them about their leisure interests and holidays.

"I am always a bit wary and said I hadn't got much time," said Mrs Cook. "A couple of weeks later, we got another call and were told we had won a free holiday, and would we like to come and collect it at a presentation evening?

"I said: "Is it a timeshare?" and "Do you have to buy anything?" and they said "No" both times."

The couple were invited as VIP guests to Global Vacations' premises in Barleycorn Yard, Walmgate.

They joined up to 20 other people for a presentation evening where they were told how they would enjoy cheap but luxurious holidays abroad for the rest of their lives if they joined up to the Global Discovery Club. They paid a deposit of £200, and subsequently received a letter from Mr Khan welcoming them to membership of the Global Discovery Club and saying they should receive their membership pack within three or four weeks. But the pack failed to arrive.

They paid the outstanding £3,000 in February, but still the pack did not turn up. They say Mr Khan repeatedly said the delay was caused by "printing problems."

They say they eventually gave Mr Khan seven days to refund their money in May but have heard nothing since.

"My husband says we should put it down to experience, but it's a lot of money and I'm not prepared to do so," said Mrs Cook. "We want our money back."

Another reader from near York says she paid Global Vacations £1,000 earlier this year for five years membership but has still received nothing and is now demanding her money back.

The Evening Press was unable to contact Mr Khan, but a Global Vacations salesman Eddie Vee - better known as York's own Elvis impersonator - told the paper that membership packs were now being sent out. "We sent out 40 last week." He added that, while the backlog was being dealt with, people wanting their pack could turn up to the office to pick one up.

He assured customers that they would receive the benefits to which they were entitled. Asked why there had been such a delay, he said Global Vacations had originally been dealing with another business based in Spain, but it was now handling customers' membership itself. He said Mr Khan was away on holiday.

A York trading standards spokeswoman said: "We are getting queries about Global Vacations and are looking at the activities of the company."


PICTURE: Lynda and David Cook, with their "hamper" Picture: Paul Baker