This section contains advice on what steps consumers can take if they have paid monies and are concerned that there may be dishonest, fraudulent or incompetent practices by the business that consumers have paid / entered into a contract with or possible breaches of contract – possible failures to carry out work as described / promised

If you feel you may have been defrauded or have not had the services you believe you paid for, we recommend that you do the following.

  • Make a written complaint

    Write (recorded delivery is recommended) to the business at the address given on the contract / agreement. and outline your complaint and ask for an urgent response.

  • Submit a Subject Access Request (SAR)

    Submit a Subject Access Request (SAR) to the business. This legally compels them to provide you with all the information they have regarding what they have actually done on your behalf.

    Click here for guidance on Subject Access Requests

  • Legal, Claims and Relinquishment services

    If the business has promised legal, claims and /or relinquishment services regarding your timeshare, check with your timeshare company whether they have received any correspondence from the business. Note – do not be intimidated by clauses in contracts that say you are prohibited from contacting your timeshare company. If you have such concerns, this is reasonable on your part and to deny you the right to carry out such checks is likely to be a breach of Consumer Protection Regulations (CPRs).

    Note that there are a number of businesses that have been misleading consumers regarding claims and relinquishment. In particular, some of these may use the following tactics

    • Falsely stating that the liability for the timeshare will be forced upon the heirs of the timeshare owners
    • Falsely stating that a ‘class action’ is about to take place
    • Falsely stating that all timeshares have been declared illegal
    • Falsely stating that they have a 100% track record in claims / relinquishments

     

    If you have been told any of the above to persuade you to pay the business, we recommend that you also ask them to clarify such statements within their written response to your complaint.

    If you are not satisfied with the response or do not receive a response, you have the following options.

  • Section 75 refunds

    if the initial payment was made by credit card we would strongly recommend contacting your bank. A Section 75 claim can be made for the initial payment and any other balance payments (even if these weren’t paid using the credit card).

    Click here for Section 75 guidance

  • PayPal

    If you paid via PayPal – even if you used a credit card, contact PayPal and raise a dispute via their Resolution Centre resources.  Advise them of the circumstances.

  • Civil claims

    If you paid by other means than a credit card, such as a debit card or bank transfer,  you can file a claim through the UK courts. The most convenient way to do this is via the Money Claim Online (MCOL) service. This does involve paying fees and most likely appearing in court. You can represent yourself or consult / appoint a solicitor. We would advise that there is of course always a risk in pursuing a court claim – and that this also includes the possibility that the business could be wound up / made insolvent and / or have accounts and assets frozen.

    Click for more information
  • Insurance

    It is worth checking your insurance policies to see whether you are insured against fraud, theft and/or dishonesty. This may be through a stand-alone policy – for example, for card protection (individuals) or employee dishonesty/fidelity (businesses) – or as part of a wider insurance product such as home contents, travel, or legal expenses.

  • Timeshare products

    Timeshare products are subject to strict laws in many countries. If you feel you have been misled, you should first contact your timeshare company in writing and tell them why you believe this to be the case.

    In general terms, when you purchased your timeshare, you should have been provided with a cooling off withdrawal period and should not have paid any monies during that period.

    The timeshare seller should have followed compliance procedures and ensured that you understood your rights and the nature of the product and asked you to confirm by signing documents that this has been carried out.

    Advice on current laws within the EU can be found on this link –https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/holidays/timeshare/index_en.htm If you believe that the seller did not comply with these laws, we advise you to first check your documentation and if you still feel the sale was not legally compliant, explain this to your timeshare company and ask for an urgent response.

    Note also that the laws do include a range of timeshare and related products, including timeshare resale and what are referred to as long-term holiday products.

    Prior to the current laws, other laws did apply and these may vary from country to country, even if the countries are now a part of the EU. Other laws may also apply in non-EU countries.

    In particular, one element of Spanish law has been noteworthy in recent times. A Spanish Supreme Court ruling dictated that timeshares sold in Spain from 7th January and up until the current EU laws took effect could not have a term longer then 50 years. Sales made during this period of Spanish timeshares may therefore have the possibility of being declared null & void by a court if they do exceed 50 years. There are some complexities and other elements regarding the ruling, but if you believe it may apply to your timeshare first check your documentation and then if you feel you may have a case seek expert advice.

    If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from your timeshare company

    If they are a member of the Resort Development Organisation (RDO),you can take your complaint to RDO. You can find details of members and the services provided to consumers related to members on this link – http://rdo.org/

    You can contact Citizens Advice

    You can contact a legal expert. If you choose to take this option, we recommend that you

    • Find a business that is regulated, such as a qualified and registered lawyer
    • Ask them to complete a comprehensive questionnaire – we have provided an example, which van be used to help evaluate any business offering timeshare legal, claims and relinquishment services  – click on this link

HOW WE VERIFY

Transparency Test

We check to see if the business provides clear and transparent information about ownership, location, contact details and the legal entity behind the business.
In some countries such as the UK, trading businesses are obliged to provide such information on their websites in order to be legally compliant. But in our view, any business that wishes to foster trust should provide such information regardless of where they are based. Many rogue businesses do everything they can to hide or obscure such details. If there are details, we will also check with official records to determine if the information provided is accurate.

Official Evidence

Instances where an official government authority has arrested, charged or convicted persons acting in an executive role in a business – or action has been taken by such authorities against the business which has resulted in closures, sanctions and fines.

Note – we do not include civil actions, such as contractual issues and similar disputes as these are too commonplace in the commercial / corporate world, with many well known, established businesses often involved in such actions. In terms of criminal actions, we also do not include cases where they are at an investigation stage, since it is possible to abuse the systems with the use of unproven allegations which none the less have to be investigated. This includes, for example cases where a ‘criminal report number / reference’ has been issued, but no arrests have been made or charges brought.

Verification Contact

We contact or attempt to contact businesses featured on this website – requesting that they review the information (or lack of information) we have and asking for a response / clarification. In some cases, this may lead to amendments to the information on this site.

“We would like to thank you for all your help and assistance that you have given us regarding this, we feel sure that without your help this would not have been possible.”

Mr & Mrs P, Oct-15