Consumer Guide 84: Unsolicited Calls

    Timeshare Owners are frequently pestered by unsolicited calls from companies who have considerable information about their timeshare ownership. Contrary to what these companies often say there is no general database of timeshare owners to which they can have access. Every timeshare company, whether a timeshare resort, a management company or an exchange company, rigorously guards their members’ data for commercial reasons as well as to comply with data protection regulations.

    However, with modern technology the challenge of data security is an increasingly difficult one. As you may have heard through recent media coverage even Government agencies are having difficulty protecting the security of highly sensitive data.

    We therefore recognise that details of timeshare owners occasionally “leak out” to businesses who then make unsolicited calls. It also seems that these companies may pass these details on to other companies who then do the same. The membership records for a resort or timeshare exchange company is a saleable item, but the details that change hands are often very out of date.

    The reality is that timeshare owners’ information is not contained within a general database, nor is it made available to companies through any official or approved channels. Indeed, the problem of owners’ information being ‘leaked’ to companies is of considerable concern throughout the industry. The fact that it happens is illegal. It is against the best interests of timeshare owners, their resorts and all associated companies. Because of this, and because the giving of owner’s details is prohibited, the process is ‘underground’ and is therefore virtually impossible to prevent. It usually runs a course and then dies out.

    We recommend the greatest caution if you receive an unsolicited call from:

    1. A ‘resale’ company saying they can sell your timeshare (and possibly already have a buyer).
    2. A company implying they are calling on behalf of your resort or exchange company and offering you ‘extra’ weeks or ‘bonus week breaks’.
    3. A company presenting themselves as a legal firm or acting on behalf of a foreign government body who can recover money you may have lost to a fraudulent company or one that has closed down.

    If you are at all concerned contact your resort, Timeshare Company or the Owners Committee for information and guidance. TATOC Consumer Helpline Guides covering these areas are also available from TATOC Consumer Helpline.

    One quick way to terminate such calls is to say “sorry, I have already sold it”, or “please note I will be recording this conversation”. The call will end very quickly. We hope you will not be troubled by these unsolicited calls for too long.