TRADING standards officers have warned of bogus holiday clubs offering "free" holidays and cut-price deals which could cost people thousands of pounds.

A number of people in the York area have received phone calls advising them that they have won a holiday and all they have to do to claim their prize is attend a local presentation.

But the holiday clubs, which offer a lifetime of luxury at discounted prices, have been promising far more than they can deliver.

The bogus companies have used high pressure sales techniques to get consumers to sign legally binding contracts with the lure of various claims.

However, they often only provide last-minute accommodation that is usually low star rather than luxury.

Add on expensive flights, supplements and taxes, and the deals could end up costing more than holidays booked through normal routes.

Liz Levett, trading standards manager at City of York Council, said: "The free holiday rarely turns out to be free once non-refundable administration charges, supplements and taxes are added."

She also warned: "Consumers may find that they have paid thousands of pounds for what turns out to be no more than access to a booking service."

Residents in the region who are invited to such a presentation are warned by the Office of Fair Trading not to attend and not to sign anything without advice.

Trading standards in York can be contacted by calling (01904) 551562.