The victims discussing the problem at a mall in Muhaisnah. Image Credit: Anjana Kumar/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai’s Department of Economic Development on Monday said it has launched an investigation into complaints against a time-share company accused of duping residents.

The complainants, mostly from south Asia, have alleged that Dubai-based Arabian Times Travel & Tourism LLC (Arabian TTT) failed to honour time share contracts which promised members access to hotels worldwide, besides a slew of other benefits including health insurance, discount vouchers and gym membership.

Last week, nearly 30 victims gathered at a mall in Muhaisnah to discuss their plight with this reporter. It is not clear how many people were affected or the amount of money involved, but many said they lost thousands of dirhams.

Booking cancelled

Indian expat Pradeep Purushwani, who works as an aircraft engineer, said he paid Dh25,000 in September 2017 for a 140-day time-share package with Arabian TTT.

“One year on, I am yet to avail of any of their offers. When I tried to book a holiday under the scheme, all I got was an email response saying that my booking has been cancelled because of internal issues,” he said.

Nibin Rehman Kanappully, also from India, said he lost Dh9,000. “Neither are they honouring the contract nor are they refunding our money,” said Kanapully, who later lodged a complaint with the DED.

In response to a Gulf News query, Mohammad Ali Rashid Lootah, CEO of the Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection sector at DED confirmed that the case is under investigation.

Aniqua Ekram from Bangladesh, said that following her complaint, the DED ordered Arabian TTT to refund Dh18,500 she paid for a life-membership.

“However, they haven’t paid me anything as yet. Both their Karama and Bur Dubai offices are closed. I don’t know what to do now,” she said.

Victims said they fell for the scheme after handing out their contact details at the time-share company’s kiosks in malls.

Ekram said shortly after sharing her personal information, she got a call from Arabian TTT saying she won a gift.

High-pressure tactics

“I was invited to a hotel to collect the gift, but was subjected to high pressure tactics to close a time-share sale. Who would have thought that their promises would be outright lies,” she said.

Arabian TTT said they won’t be unable to able to make any refunds this month, but assured that the money invested by customers will not be lost.

“We request our valued members to be patient for some more time,” the company said in a statement to Gulf News.