Some businesses may have associations with others that are on the warnings list. Where this is indicated, above-average caution is advised, including the use of questionnaires.
This section provides advice and resources that enable consumers to carry out checks on businesses and products prior to making any payments / entering into contracts. It includes
- Questionnaires that can be submitted to businesses that will help determine legitimacy, viability and clarity of the services offered and the expertise on offer.
- Things to consider regarding buying timeshare and related products and services.
LEGAL, CLAIMS AND RELINQUISHMENT SERVICES
There are many businesses that are misleading consumers with regard to assistance with timeshare claims and relinquishments.
We strongly advise that prior to paying any monies or signing binding agreements you carry out very thorough checks. For this purpose, we have provided an example of a comprehensive questionnaire you can use, download it here
We recommend at all times that you do not proceed until such an evaluation has taken place.
If you are unsatisfied with the response (or lack of response) from the business to provide you with the information requested in the questionnaire, then we recommend you do not proceed.
If you are unsure of any of the information provided in a completed questionnaire, you can contact us via the following link
Some businesses ‘hook’ consumers with promises of legal assistance to timeshare owners and then tell them they can only get it if they buy another product that the consumer had no interest in. Often these are dubious ‘Leisure Credits’ or ‘lifestyle / concierge’ services and sometimes ‘holiday discount ‘clubs or software. This is usually regarded as an unlawful practice known as ‘bait & switch’. (These may also be sold as stand-alone and have been included with a warning under timeshare products).
If you are considering buying a timeshare or timeshare related product, above all else, think of whether the specific product under consideration is right for you.
If it is a ‘traditional’ timeshare – buying the right to spend time in high-quality holiday resorts for an agreed and long-term period, you should understand and be satisfied with all the crucial elements, such as the term of the contract, what your purchase entitles you to, the annual fees that are payable, the quality of the product and your consumer rights. In the EU, these are explained further on the following link
You should understand that a timeshare is a ‘holiday ownership’ product and not a property investment, so is unlikely to rise or hold its purchase value. If a salesperson tells you a timeshare agreement is a financial investment, they are committing a criminal offence. Ask about your cancellation and withdrawal rights. For timeshares within the EU, you have a legal right to a 14 day cooling off period and it is an offence for a timeshare company to take any monies from you during this period. The laws in other countries vary, so do ensure you get all the facts prior to committing to buy. If you take out a loan to purchase, remember that, provided the sale of the timeshare was legally compliant, this is likely to be a separate commercial agreement, so it will still be in force even if you later dispose of the timeshare.
Do have a good look around the resort and ask as many questions as you want. If in any doubt about the answers, ask if they can be put in writing. Take your time. And remember that if you do wish to leave the sales presentation at any time, then you can do so. If anyone tries to make you stay at a presentation, they would be committing a criminal offence.
The EU laws also apply to other related products such as timeshare resale, exchange contracts and other types of long-term holiday products.
Note – some businesses have sought to place their products outside of the EU timeshare regulations. These are often described as ‘Leisure Credits’ and sometimes ‘lifestyle / concierge’ services and sometimes ‘holiday discount ‘clubs or software. If you are being offered these, be particularly wary and ask, for example
- Do you have a cooling off / withdrawal period?
- Would you be able to book similar holidays / buy featured products at a similar or even lower price without having to join the scheme / pay upfront and possibly annual fees?
For such products, we recommend that you do not purchase without these questions being answered satisfactorily and ask to have any such promises put in writing. If they do not agree, we strongly recommend that you do not proceed.
HOW WE VERIFY
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.
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.
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.