This section contains advice on what steps consumers can take if they have paid monies or entered into a contract with a business, and are concerned that they may be dishonest, fraudulent or that there has been a breach of contract or failure to carry out work as promised.
In many cases, you will be able to take immediate steps. The information available below covers most elements of the types of action you are able to take, and includes possibilities concerning legal & claims services and timeshare itself.
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.
The assistance and information provided by KwikChex should not be considered formal legal advice.
KwikChex provides helpful links to official and qualified information on reclaiming monies and methods of redress. We also provide specific information on businesses operating within the timeshare sector, including those stating they provide exit and claims services. This includes where there is robust evidence of misrepresentations, previous court rulings, cold-calling and failures to provide promised services. This information is contained within the Timeshare Business Check directory and news service, and also includes information and comments on other elements such as business transparency, known histories and connections of people and businesses. If you cannot find the business you have had dealings with listed, please fell free to contact us about them.
Consumers are welcome to pass on such information to banks and credit card providers, solicitors or relevant authorities, including redress services such as the UK’s Financial and Legal Ombudsman Service.
Please note that beyond this, KwikChex cannot provide specific advice on any legal or financial claim, including, for example advice on Section 75 or Section 140 that apply when a consumer has paid by credit card or taken out a loan to pay for services and products which in the UK may be covered under the Consumer Credit Act. The Financial Ombudsman Service can provide assistance free of charge on such potential claims.
Check a business timesharebusinesscheck.org
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.
Is the business you are concerned about regulated or accredited by a recognised authority / organisation? Check with the business to verify this.
Ask the business for details of their complaints process and in the first instance, write to them setting out your reasons for concern. Where the business is regulated, or accredited, and you are not satisfied with their response to your complaint / concerns, you can ask the business to provide you with the details of the regulator or accreditation organisation for the purpose of making a formal complaint.
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:
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.
Remember – you can ask advice from the Financial Ombudsman Service and submit claims without having to pay any fees
· First, let the business you have paid know you believe you were misled and give the reasons why you feel this is so and why you are entitled to a refund. You can consult the Financial Ombudsman Service to better understand your rights under the UK Consumer Credit Act. Contact information can be found on this link https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/contact-us And there is good advice provided by the Which? Consumer organisation on this link
· If you are not satisfied with the response or receive no response from the business you have paid and believe misled you, contact your bank / card provider and inform them that you are making a claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
· Give them clear details of the transaction – the name of the business you paid, the date you paid and the amount you paid.
· Advise them of the reasons / grounds for your claim – i.e., promised service not provided, misrepresentation or the bankruptcy of the business you paid. Provide them with details that support your claim.
· Request that they acknowledge your claim within 14 days and at that time, give an indication as to the time they will take to assess it.
· Remember that Section 75 claims are a part of the laws that protect consumers and so your bank is obliged to respond.
· A Section 75 claim can be made for that payment and any other balance payments (even if these weren’t paid using the credit card). You need only make one claim and include all payments made under the same contract and to the same beneficiaries.
· If you are not satisfied with the response you receive or receive no response, you can submit a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) – see link http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/consumer/complaints.htm ·
For further information see the Which? guide https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/section-75-of-the-consumer-credit-act
· If your complaint is rejected, and you are still not satisfied with the reasons given, you can consider making a civil / court claim.
Other than the information provided above, KwikChex is unable to provide advice or assistance for any claim or potential claim in relation to financial services or products including section 75 claims.
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.
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.
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 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 1999 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, including, (for example) with regard to the specific identification of the property within the contract and whether your rights, including a cooling off period were properly and compliantly explained to you.
A significant number of court cases have taken place, based on the Supreme Court ruling and in many cases, compensation has also been awarded to owners. Regrettably, there have been many rogue businesses taking advantage of the precedent and it is essential that owners carry out exceptional due diligence and use only genuine, qualified and expert businesses. We recommend that you use a comprehensive questionnaire process that will help you to check the most important elements, including previous histories of businesses – click here to view and download an example questionnaire.
You can also use the Checking and Decision making section on this website to examine information on businesses.
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
If you require further assistance, please contact us