For too long there have been a number of unscrupulous companies who target timeshare owners saying they have a buyer for their timeshare product, often for grossly inflated prices, but require a substantial advance payment or require the owner to attend a “meeting”. These arrangements almost always end up in disappointment and loss of money for the consumer. (For information see Timeshare Consumer Guides No 12 &13).
Partly because of legislation that came into force in 2011 Timeshare Directive (2008/122/EC) and UK regulations (SI 2010/2960)], and because timeshare owners are at last becoming wary of the old-style fraudulent practices, new approaches are emerging where companies contact timeshare owners who wish to dispose of their timeshare product and may have experienced problems in selling it.
We recommend you are extremely cautious of companies who:
- Are not your principal timeshare company or exchange company.
- Contact you ‘cold’ without any invitation from yourself.
- Apply undue pressure, or press you for a decision within a short time period.
- Invite you to a meeting (for example to sign documents etc.) possibly with discounted travel or accommodation. 5. Request any form of up-front payment as a deposit, administration fee, bond of trust, surety against withdrawal, insurance cover, validity survey, land registry tax, certificate charge, VAT, etc, however reassuring they may be on this.
- Assure you that your payment would be fully protected under laws governing the use of credit cards.
- Ask for your credit card, debit card or bank details, but assure you they will not take any payment, or say that without the three security digits they can’t take payment.
- Ask you to give or send your original ownership documents to them.
TAKEOVER: The Company may offer to “take over” the ownership, together with all the liabilities, but require a considerable advance payment. It is important for timeshare owners to recognise that the transfer of registered ownership is subject to the rules and regulations of their timeshare company, and companies will require specific procedures, documentation and transfer payment charges for this to take place. They may also have strict rules about who they will allow to take over ownership and may refuse such a transfer if the resort believes the prospective owner is not a ‘natural owner’.
TERMINATION: The Company may say they can cancel your ownership or otherwise terminate your ownership agreement with your timeshare company. Terminating or cancelling your ownership will be subject to the rules and regulations of your timeshare company, and there will be specific procedures for this to take place. (For further information see Timeshare Consumer Guide No 61). Your resort will not accept instructions from a third party while the ownership is registered in your name.
RENTAL: The Company may offer to rent out the timeshare to cover the annual management fees and probably an extra profit for the consumer also. Unfortunately, such companies often request a considerable advance payment
Consumers are warned to be wary of any company who makes unsolicited calls to them, and especially if this relates to timeshare resale, take-overs, termination, rental schemes or bonus holidays. Check companies out very carefully and if they imply they are from your timeshare company or a related company check this very carefully. Beware requests for advance payments. If you have any doubts, your timeshare company, resort owners’ committee or ourselves at the TATOC Consumer Helpline.
If you do decide to make payment to any company in this way you should ensure you have clear, precise and comprehensive details of the service you are purchasing in writing, and study this very carefully before giving any payment. It is safer to pay using a UK registered major credit card so you will have the benefit of protection under the 1974 Consumer Credit Act if things go wrong. Payments made by debit card, cheque or bank transfer do not have this protection. Even so, do not depend on the Consumer Credit Act to guarantee a return of your money because the onus is upon the consumer to prove there has been misrepresentation or a failure to deliver on the contract