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Timeshare Release

RDO / Timeshare Release

I no longer want my timeshare

We understand that sometimes you just need to relinquish (hand back) or sell your timeshare; it may be you no longer use it, or may not be able to afford it anymore. Regardless of the reason, it is best if you contact your member services first who should be able to talk you through your options.

Stay away from scammers

There are many companies whose sole job is to run scams on timeshare owners in order to make money out of them. The two most common ones are:

  • Timeshare Release (relinquishing your timeshare)
  • Timeshare Resale (finding a buyer for your timeshare)


How the timeshare release scam works:

You may receive an email, a cold call or a letter offering to help you get out of your timeshare contract. They may even promise that they will take your developer or resort to court on your behalf and you will be entitled to financial compensation. Or you may find companies on the Internet when you are searching for information on how to relinquish or sell your timeshare.  These companies are looking to play to your vulnerability, advising you NOT to speak to your resort or owners association, warning you that they will not want to help.

They typically offer to assist you to relinquish your timeshare for a fee. This fee could be anything from £100 to £10,000 (if combined with an offer to join their own holiday scheme), with no guarantee that you will be able to relinquish your timeshare, and likely no real service either.

How the timeshare resale scam works

There are many companies trying to take advantage of timeshare owners who want to sell their timeshare interest. Companies of this nature frequently claim to have a buyer for your timeshare, often ready to pay a ridiculously high price.

Be suspicious of any company that:

  • contacts you without an invitation, for example by cold calling
  • asks you for an up-front payment, for example an administration or lawyers/notary fee
  • says they have a buyer waiting to buy your timeshare
  • suggest they can obtain an unexpected or unrealistic high price
  • asks you to send them your Ownership Certificate
  • puts a lot of pressure on you to make a decision quickly
  • asks for any personal information, for example your bank details or address
  • invites you to a resale presentation possibly with discounted travel or accommodation


Our advice:

  • Never respond to cold calls from resale agents or companies promising to help you dispose of your timeshare – your details have probably been obtained illegally
  • If you’re not sure of a company’s credentials or believe you have been scammed, contact RDO enforcement department on enforcement@rdo.org
  • If you’re looking to sell your timeshare, contact a resale member of RDO and never use a company that hasn’t signed up to its code of conduct
  • Do not agree to travel to a resale company’s offices, whether in the UK or overseas. There is absolutely no need to do this and you may well find that rather than selling your timeshare, you are persuaded to sign up to a holiday club, sometimes referred to as a long term holiday product
  • Be careful of accepting invitations to join class actions as the actual claim may not exist or be quite as risk free as promised. You may also find that if you attend a meeting to discuss such an action, you are in fact being sold a holiday club
  • Do not agree to post your ownership documents to a company you don’t know is reputable. You may never see the paperwork again but at the same time if the sale is not finalised, you may still be liable for your annual management fees


We would strongly advise customers to avoid using these companies, some of which are not regulated and appear to have been set up to make money out of timeshare owners.

Timeshare owners looking to sell or relinquish their timeshare should in the first instance contact their resort for advice and guidance. If the resort is a member of RDO, it will have an exit programme in place to assist people wishing to relinquish their ownership and, depending on your personal situation, you may be able to hand back your timeshare free of charge, subject to the management fees being fully up to date.

If you think that you have been scammed by one of these companies, you should contact RDO’s Enforcement team on enforcement@rdo.org as soon as possible.

The Enforcement team requires a detailed written summary of the case (including dates, name of the company, an outline of what the offer included and details of payments made), and a copy of all the documents related to the case i.e. the contract – which should include details of the services included – and all other available documents such as faxes, e-mails, and proof of payments made (credit card slips or bank statements)

Once the enforcement team has received this information, it will do its best to help victims, but it is important to bear in mind that these companies have not signed up to RDO’s code of conduct and are not associated with RDO in any way.

Other common scams are:

Class Action Suit

Typically timeshare owners are cold called or they may have responded to an advertisement inviting them to join a class action against their developer or exchange company. At a subsequent presentation it is likely they are instead persuaded to sign up to membership of holiday club (also known as a long term holiday product).

The reality: the majority of these class action schemes are bogus, their primary objective being to persuade people to sign up to a holiday club, something that is never made clear in the company’s initial contact with timeshare owners. Far from being a straightforward process, the reality is that in Europe, class actions can take many years to come to a conclusion and there is no guarantee that these will ever be successful and that money will be paid out.

These companies take advantage of timeshare owners and often make promises that they cant fulfil, such as full purchase refunds if they were to win the case.

You can read about other common scammers here:

http://mindtimeshare.me/2012/07/31/class-action-uk-from-devon-working-in-connection-with-itra/

http://forum.holidaywatchdog.com/itra-rci-action-group-one-and-the-same-t115773.html

Legal Claims Companies

Pretty much like the class action suit scam, timeshare owners receive a call out of the blue or respond to an advertisement inviting them to sue their developer or exchange company, often with “examples” or previous successful claims.  Often these companies start off with a “no win, no fee” pitch, but end up charging for “admin” fees.

These companies take advantage of timeshare owners and often make promises that they cant fulfil, such as full purchase refunds if they were to win the case.

A number of these companies move from industry to industry, One such company has in the past moved from Solar Claims to Timeshare: Read http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/dont-burned-again-new-solar-3447594 and http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/oct/02/firm-pursue-claim-misselling-solar-panels

Holiday Clubs

Holiday club offers – timeshare owners receive a call out of the blue or respond to an advertisement to discuss ways in which to dispose of their timeshare. They are invited to attend a presentation during which they are told that the company will take over ownership of their timeshare, so the annual management fee will no longer be their responsibility. At the same time, they are persuaded to sign up to membership of holiday club.

The reality: the company frequently fails to take over the customers’ timeshare, leaving the management fees still liable for payment each year. Furthermore, the customers have signed up to membership of a holiday club, which they probably never wanted in the first place! Holiday clubs claim to offer savings and discounts at luxurious resorts around the world but the discounts are not guaranteed and many customers have reported that the reductions are no better than those available on the high street