STOP! and check
Thousands of timeshare owners have fallen victim to exit and claims fraud scams and the award-winning Timeshare Task Force (TTF) team continues to receive new reports and requests for assistance every day from distressed owners.Very often it is able to help owners recover their money – but that’s not always the case, because the scammers have ways of making things very difficult.
Ideally, the TTF want to help protect timeshare owners before they have lost money and is launching an information campaign designed to stop the scams called STOP! & Check.
To date, KwikChex has never had a report of a wholly honest unsolicited approach to a timeshare owner.
If you haven’t requested contact, don’t engage with people you don’t know by phone, email or text. Often, they will start by saying they are from an official organisation and have your details from a central timeshare owners database.
If you are being pestered frequently, ask your phone service provider what call-blocking options they have to help you. Contact your national data protection authority.
STOP! – the so called agents and brokers
The vast majority of scammers are unregulated and unqualified.
They may say they work with lawyers and experts, but if they cannot produce written proof of proper accreditation themselves, do not engage with them. They have nothing worthwhile to offer you, and you are at extreme risk of losing money
Check – your timeshare status and what relinquishment options you have
Many timeshare companies have exit options. If you simply no longer can or want to use your timeshare, contact your timeshare company/resort first. Scammers will do everything they can to persuade you not to do this, but even if you are behind on payment of annual fees it’s the first thing you should do as many people have found out too late (before paying for an unnecessary exit service) that their timeshare had already been cancelled or there were free and lower cost exit options.
Check – the viability of any compensation claim you may have
In addition to timeshare exits, owners are often lured in with promises of substantial financial compensation. Some owners may well be entitled to compensation if laws or regulations were broken during the sales process or contracts breached – but very many are distraught after paying thousands for ‘legal’ help services only to find they have been scammed, or may not receive compensation for other reasons.
Even when using a regulated / qualified business, insist on receiving a written, detailed viability report prior to signing a contract or paying monies.
Say that it should include the following:
- A detailed description of the services to be provided and the identity and qualifications of who will provide the service
- A statement of the likelihood of success of the claim and how long the process is likely to take
- A statement of any risks involved, such as additional costs, or the possibilities of non-payment of any sum awarded (for example in the case of the insolvency of the business you are claiming against)
Ask them to advise you if you may have alternative options to make a claim, such as with your bank, credit card provider or ombudsman service.
STOP! & Check with appropriate, accredited organisations
Using the STOP & Check advice will really help ensure you do not become one of the thousands of timeshare owners that have suffered emotional and financial distress.
This information has been provided to RDO by the Timeshare Task Force, which is accredited by UK Trading Standards and is managed by KwikChex, an award-winning investigations, verification and resolutions business. Free assistance is available via the website. All details regarding the service, how it is funded and who it works with are also provided on the website timesharetaskforce.org
Verification of the integrity of the service and verified feedback from timeshare owners is available on its Buy with Confidence profile.
You can double-check any information you receive from KwikChex resources with the following authorities and official consumer protection organisations, or go to them directly for help:
- UK Consumer Centre
- European Consumer Centre
- Financial Ombudsman Service for compensation claims in the UK when timeshare purchases have been are made by credit card or a loan