A recent increase in cases of Timeshare owners being targeted for further exploitation has prompted Action Fraud to warn owners to be on the lookout. Scammers are actively seeking out Timeshare owners who may be vulnerable or previously mis-sold their Timeshares and telling them they are owed compensation. The scammers pose as reputable companies offering unsuspecting customers exit from their timeshare burdens for a fee and promising to be able to reclaim compensation.
The scammers are aware of the Timeshare owners personal information from their previous investments which provides them with false credibility. They request upfront fees from owners which range from £2,500 to £9,000 and additional fees requested to cover maintenance or legal cover.
Action Fraud have seen an alarming increase in the amount of complaints being made to the service and between January and July 2018, 1,155 reports of timeshare recovery fraud were made. In this period, victims reported losing £7,893,028, an average of £14,000 per victim.
The victims who are from across the UK, are aged between 50 and 81 years old, those targeted are often vulnerable, elderly and desperate to unburden themselves of their timeshares. Most concerning of all, is where these termination services are sold to owners at huge costs. We have heard of many instances where customers have paid up to £20,000 or more to terminate a timeshare with no provision for a cooling off period. You should avoid paying any monies to anyone until you are completely satisfied that they are legitimate companies and they can demonstrate that they can undertake the work you are paying them to do.
Protect Yourself From Timeshare Recovery Fraud
Check the details of the company contacting you, such as the website, address and phone number. You can check to see if a company is legitimate on the governments Companies House Register and by looking for online reviews.
Be wary of cold callers. A Cold Call is an unsolicited telephone call from a business seeking to attract new customers. Cold Calling is not illegal, however there are restrictions on how and when a marketing cold-call should be made. The new GDPR regulations along with the ICO’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations tighten up these restrictions, and as from 25 May 2018, any organisation involved in cold calling will have to abide by strict guidelines or face hefty fines. The only instance where you can be lawfully cold-called is if you have given consent before being contacted. If you receive a cold call from a timeshare exit company, they may have obtained your details illegally.
Ask how they have obtained your information. If you have been a victim in the past, any report of fraud is protected by law and can’t be shared with anyone else outside of law enforcement agencies.
Challenge any calls, letters or emails from people you don’t know or companies you’ve never contacted and if you’re asked to pay for a service, or give your bank details, end the call and report them either to Action Fraud or the ICO.
The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these types of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.
If you have purchased a lifestyle or concierge service, a timeshare or a holiday points based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Timeshare Termination.