062 A pensioner from Northriding, north of Johannesburg whose internet banking account has been robbed of R31.500 which he believes was an inside job. ( He did not want to be identified.) 280610 Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

London - Travel firms trying to tempt families with “hurry deals” on holidays are in fact not offering the limited-time-only bargains they claim.

Companies selling holidays and cruises commonly use the tactic of promising fantastic savings on breaks in the sun, provided these are snapped up immediately.

Yet often these supposedly time-limited bargains are available for much longer than claimed, a study by Which? has found.

In fact, travellers who are not taken in by the tactic can find the price of the holiday they are interested in may fall well below that of the supposed deal.

Which? found that in 43 percent of adverts pushing short-term “hurry deals”, holidays were still available at the same or lower prices after the sale ended. For example, a firm called Reader Offers promoted an Adventure of the Seas cruise at a saving of £500 (about R6500) if it was booked before April 17. But the saving was still available nine days later.

Another advert, for Warner Leisure Hotels, carried the promise “save up to 40 percent on selected summer 2012 breaks” but warned people to hurry and book by May 1.

Yet equivalent deals appeared ten days later, while five of the prices had gone down even further.

And in a separate example, Princess Cruises encouraged consumers to book a “dream cruise” in an offer “only available for five days”. However, the firm started a six-day sale some three-and-a half weeks later that offered even better prices on the same cabins.

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, said: ‘”o one likes finding out that someone on the same holiday paid less for it. But it’s even worse if you bought your holiday in a rush because the ads told you the prices would be available only for a short time.”

Reader Offers said it constantly audits its marketing to ensure no one is misled, but promised ‘”ven more stringent checks” in light of the Which? study.

Warner Leisure Hotels also said it would investigate the findings, adding: “It is certainly not our intention to confuse within our advertising.” - Daily Mail