Timeshare, Fractional & Holiday Club Scams

“Bet my scam is bigger than yours”
You can report a timeshare scam/fraud to Action Fraud run by the police.
There is a specific question about Timeshare and Holiday Club frauds.

Five Timeshare Scam Avoidance Rules

Rule 1 – If you are cold-called about Timeshare put the ‘phone down. Do NOT speak to them.

With everyone wanting out of Timeshare, the market is now awash with real and imaginary ‘exit schemes’. The usual cold call, with a guarantee to get you out, they will send you full details of the buyer passport, name, address and telephone number. Payment only required on completion. All you have to do is complete the resort transfer form and they will arrange for the transfer with the resort. A few weeks later you get a letter from the resort confirming relinquishment. A big sigh of relief and you pay the “exit” organisers their £5,000. But many months later you get next years fee invoice. A telephone call to the resort confirms that the letter of relinquishment was a forgery, you still own and you are £5,000 poorer!

The extortion timeshare scam. A call out of the blue from a Company that you have never heard of states that you owe them £2,500. If you do not pay immediately by a card they will send Debt Collectors to your door. Whilst not uniquely targeting Timeshare owners, this scam is rapidly gaining in popularity.

A holiday for £1? Easy? Offer to buy a Timeshare on Ebay for £1, pay the money, delay arranging the transfer until you’ve used the Timeshare for a year then walk away from the purchase. The only person upset is the original owner who is still stuck with it.

The TCA (under Sandy Grey) maintained an, unpublished, Black List of Companies in or on the periphery of the Timeshare industry. On 10 September 2011, the 2,000th name was added to the list. Whilst most of the businesses on the list are cold-calling cheats there are a substantial number of marketing and management Companies whose anti-Consumer practices are destroying the industry.

With more savvy Consumers around, with less money to spend, sales salesmans are now relying on the “free” (or low cost) holiday scam. Sometimes it is a cold call offering the holiday or it could be a glossy website, but always, hidden deep in the small print, will be the requirement to take a “tour” which in Timeshare language means a “sales presentation”. If you fail to take the tour you will be charged the full holiday price which will be quite exorbitant. If you take the tour you are very likely to end up £10,000 poorer.

From bright spark to dimwit in 4 easy steps.
Research by eminent psychological experts suggests that human IQ shrinks as a result of various activities. All activities associated with holidays. An average person, with an IQ of 100, would lose 20 points off their IQ after 14 days idling in the sun. A further 20 points would be lost following the intake of alcohol. If it is a very cold drink that is less 10 points off. After attending a sales presentation lasting 5 hours, (the brain shuts down due to information overload) and knocks off another 20 points. The average human would now be down to an IQ of 30. 
Perfect scam fodder!

You receive a letter, apparently from your Timeshare resort, saying that they can sell your Timeshare for 5% more than you originally paid for it. The fee for this service is only £499. But the payment has to go to Geneva not Tenerife, where your Timeshare is based. Yes, yet another scam on a scam!

The Timeshare scam is so old, it is amazing people still fall for it, but they do! An affable local bounds up to you as you’re strolling along a promenade overlooking the Med and gives you a scratch card, for free! You take it and, amazingly, you win something. Not something worth a whole lot, mind you, maybe a beach towel or a watch. The only catch is you have to go to a nearby hotel to collect your prize.

Before you can say “I’m a consumer get me out of here”, you’re sitting in an airless room listening to some tedious and very slick presentation on the benefits of Timeshare apartments, which can be yours for an incredible one time only price. The pressure to buy can be intense, the deals are almost always worthless and you will have wasted an afternoon of your holiday. (The Irish Times – 22 July 2011).

If the salesman vehemently denies that he is selling Timeshare then you can be certain that it IS Timeshare!

The Bums Rush – an oldie that still won’t go away. “The law requires us to only offer this to you today. If we offered it to you tomorrow we would be committing ‘harassment”, which is the biggest load of old rubbish to come of the industry.

With the Timeshare industry struggling for survival, traders are using every trick in the book to entice Consumers into their web. Telephone and Internet invitations to a “£99 holiday” are now the common bait. Take the bait and your life will be made a misery as salesmen pester you to join their club. Salesmen to whom the word “No” has no meaning.

A ‘friend’ shows you a nice fat cheque they got for the sale of their Timeshare . All they had to do was give the Company in Spain a security bond of £1,200 and the cheque arrived 6 weeks later. Your ‘friend’ tells you how to contact the Company to sell your Timeshare and, exactly as explained, you pay the security bond and wait for your cheque and wait and wait and ….!

What you don’t know is that your ‘friend’ gets £350 for every introduction and is working all their other friends as well.

“Investment” is now becoming the scam of the year with offers to invest in properties (usually “to be built”) in such exotic places as Cape Verde, St Lucia and even farthest Cornwall. If you think the idea of adding £30,000 to your home mortgage for ownership of a piece of real estate is a good one, then go ahead. Please don’t blame anyone though but yourself when, five years down the line, you find out that the real estate was a figment of the salesman’s imagination.

Suddenly there’s a swarm of web sites offering to relieve owners of their unwanted Timeshare, all appearing to offer the perfect solution to your problem. Don’t be surprised if the “get out” costs you many thousands of pounds, and you still continue to get the annual fee invoices for the Timeshare you thought you had got out of. Yes, you’ve been stung again!

Five Timeshare Scam Avoidance Rules

Rule 2 – NEVER pay any money upfront irrespective of the reason given.

How do you fancy a flutter in the Fractional Stakes? You only have to put down £20,000 or £30,000 on ” Fractional Ownership ” to get lots of weeks of holidays; lots of rental income and lots and lots of money back when it is all sold in a few years time. Too good to be true? Yes, you bet it is!

They claim that a new law came into force in 2008 which blocks the resale of Timeshare weeks but they can solve the problem of getting out the ownership if you attend their offices for a consultation. The “new law” statement is utter rubbish and, if you attend their offices, you will be duped out of upwards of £7,000. Well worth a miss!

How would you like to trade in your Timeshare for a piece of real estate? That is what is now being offered to suspecting Consumers by a number of crooks. The downside is that you not only have to pay money to the crooks for the swap but, when you look deeper, the real estate doesn’t’ even exist and the promise of a profit after x years isn’t in writing. So, if an offer of an investment in land in Bradford, St Lucia or Cornwall comes your way you know what to say to them!

“Come into my parlour” said the spider to the fly.’ “Come into our offices to join our compensation group” said the crook to the Timeshare owner’. But the end result is the same in both cases!

The new extortion scam.
The Resort says “you must pay your annual fees or we will take you to Court” —- pause —- “Or we’ll let you off the hook if you pay us £xxxx to upgrade to our exciting new product”. So, if you’re a coward, you pay them £xxxx to avoid being taken to Court!

You are cold called by the “Timeshare Consumers Alliance” with an invitation to join a class action against RCI or some other major Timeshare Company. Just remember that the real Consumers Timeshare Association NEVER cold calls anyone.

You’re at a Timeshare presentation, not having signed for anything, when the salesman asks if he can just check your credit card to see that it’s OK. When he returns he makes it very clear that you won’t get your card back unless you sign. Making a fuss isn’t advisable as the two very large men at the front door are watching you closely.

Timeshare owners are being targeted by Spanish fraudsters saying that they have won a lottery. No such lottery exists. Those being cold called have previously been cold called by fraudsters pretending that they have sold their Timeshare for a massive sum.

Five Timeshare Scam Avoidance Rules

Rule 3 – When buying anything costing more than £100 ALWAYS use a credit card for at least part of the payment.

The usual “nice lady” promises you will receive a cheque in payment for the sale of your Timeshare and asks that, when you have received the cheque, you pay her the 10% commission for the sale. The bankers cheque arrives issued by a large bank in Spain which you send into your bank. A few days later the bank confirms that the money is in your account. The nice lady calls again to confirm that you have received the cheque explaining that it will only take a couple of days to clear. Would you please wait for about a week and then send them a cheque for the 10%. You send your cheque and some three or four weeks later the Spanish Bank cheque is sent back to you by your bank with the word “FORGERY” stamped on it and the bank removes the payment from your account.

“We understand that you have a Timeshare. Do you want to rent it or sell it? We are the experts” says the smoothie on the ‘phone. You like what you hear so the conversation moves forward” but we will need your card number/pin number/account number/mothers maiden name etc. to be able to pay you when the deal is done”. You, being a sucker, fall for this and are surprised to get a call from your card Company/bank a few weeks later saying that an attempt to remove a large amount from your account is being held pending your confirmation.

This is “Identity Fraud”, using Timeshare owner’s lists, which is growing even faster that Timeshare fraud.

A friendly voice on the phone offers to help you get back the money promised by a cash back scheme. The friendly voice says that their “legal expert” will ensure you get back all the money, but to meet him you must go to Tenerife. They will happily arrange for you to be put up for a week’s holiday at their expense.

On Tenerife, you find that the “legal expert” is a salesman who wants you to buy a Timeshare, with the promise of all the cash back in a few years, which is no better than when you started, and you’re a few thousand down for a Timeshare you don’t want.

The charming person on the telephone tells you that you can have a 7 day stay in a luxury apartment in a hotel or resort in Spain/Canaries/UK/Bali etc. etc. All you have to pay is a very modest sum.

You pay.

You pay for the flights.

You pay for the taxi to the resort and present yourself at reception.

“We do not have a record of your booking and we are full. Sorry, you must go elsewhere”.

Five Timeshare Scam Avoidance Rules

Rule 4 – When on holiday tell anyone who approaches you to “Get Lost” (politely of course!).

How do you get a fine for a motoring offence when you were not where the offence is alleged to have been committed and you don’t drive? 
By being on a list, (stolen of course), off Timeshare owners. 
 Numerous owners have received demands for €129 as a fine for an offence said to have been committed when they were on holiday in the Canaries or mainland Spain. Pay it and that’s another €129 you are down to the fraudsters.

Stealing ownership of a good, resalable week is one of the latest timeshare scams. 
You don’t receive a management fee invoice one year, think nothing of it, then a few weeks later get a letter saying “you haven’t paid, we are repossessing”. 
 Or, if the week isn’t that good, the letter says “pay us lots of £££ and we will reinstate your membership”.

“We are processing your paperwork” is the latest scam to avoid the law, a new variation on “The Thumb” (see below).

When you sign to buy a Timeshare you are “distracted” from the written statement on the agreement that you have a 14 day cooling off period.

When you arrive home you find that your copy of the agreement is missing. You ask the seller for a copy and get the response “Certainly, we’ll get it to you shortly as we are processing it”.

It arrives on day 15, too late to cancel!

Suddenly there are half a dozen web sites offering low cost holidays in the US, or they phone with very tempting offers.

All the offers come from the US, usually Florida, at prices which are very tempting. However, nobody gets their holiday and the fraudsters take approx. £500 a time.

Check the Company on www.bbb.org to see what their local authorities think of them!

You do have the right to cancel within 30 days if the Company is based in Florida If they will not return your money, ask the Florida State Department to help.

With sales getting more difficult, some operators are trying to “lock in” their owners to keep income from management fees flowing.

How? By making it almost impossible to sell by imposing a massive “transfer fee” if the owner does attempt to sell a fee often greater than the value of the week being sold.

An offer that you can’t refuse – but should. 
A holiday in the US, or New Zealand, or some other far distant shore, including flights and two or three weeks accommodation, all for around £500. 
You send the £500, they send you nothing.

Yet another resale fraud – this time in the UK. 
Crooked resale brokers are pretending to sell a really good week to a buyer for a very modest price. The problem being that the buyer pays the money and gets nothing in return except, perhaps, a photocopy of an ownership certificate in the name of someone else. Some of these certificates are forgeries.

Five Timeshare Scam Avoidance Rules

Rule 5 – Read Rules 1,2,3,& 4 again and memorise them !!
If you think you have been scammed Contact Us .

You buy a Timeshare for £10,000 with the promise that, if you don’t want to use it, the operator will rent it out on your behalf and you will receive over £1,000. A quick calculation says that you will get all your money back in under 10 years and thereafter will have a steady income of £1,000 for life. Too good to be true? Yes, this is one of the newer timeshare scams whereby the operator changes name or simply disappears after a couple of years.

The fraudsters are getting cheekier. When a victim questions the reason for sending money to the fraudsters, they fabricate some very convincing documents to give the impression that the payment is approved or required by a responsible authority. Any letters headed “Abogado” (lawyer); “Auytamiento” (Town Hall);”Mercantil” (Companies House) etc. should be treated with the contempt they deserve.

A number of traders carry the logo of a trade body in order to give themselves credibility. The trade body concerned only exists as a few words on a piece of paper and no reliance should be given to such traders.

When RCI is not RCI,

“RCI” cold call offering bonus weeks at tempting prices. Exactly the week you want! You give the caller your credit card number and …nothing. The real RCI (the largest Timeshare organisation in the world), say that they are investigating what appears to be a fraud using their name.

The “Rescue” Scam! Yet another cold call. This time the promise is “we will get back all the money that you were cheated out of by those crooks in Spain”. 
 Just send us £160/£185. 
You might even recognise the voice of the character who originally cheated you!

With the Collateral Contract Scam you are asked to sign two contracts.

Contract 1 for a conventional Timeshare lasting for a number of years. No deposit is taken and you are given a cooling off period. These are all correct according to the law. Contract 2 for a Timeshare period of less than 36 months (which falls outside the law) a deposit (or full payment) is taken and no cooling off period is given. Again all correct in law. 
However, if you attempt to cancel, quite lawfully, the first contract within the cooling off period you are told that you will not be allowed to continue with contract number 2 i.e. meaning that you will lose all the money paid.

A variation – you are asked to sign Contract 2 which is for “free membership” of a “club”. Only when you read your copy of Contract 2 do you see that the deposit for Contract 1 has been added, after you signed, to Contract 2.

Now it’s the Timeshare owner in the firing line:

  1. One UK resort developer projects a 30% loss of owners in year 2000 as a result of increased management fees, which will put the fees up again causing yet a further loss of owners.
  2. Another UK developer gave owners 37 days in which to pay an unlawful management fee, or they would be repossessed.
  3. Yet another UK developer invited owners to hand back their ownership certificates if they disputed a massive levy, many did.

Credit Card money going the wrong way. 

The charming character on the ‘phone says “Let me have your credit card number so that we can send you the proceeds from the sale of your week that we have just made”. 
You give it and your next statement shows 10,000 euros deducted FROM your account! 
Moral: Never give your card number to ANYONE unless you really intend to make a payment.

If the promise is not in writing – then it won’t happen!

Have you ever wondered where the accommodation for a Holicon comes from?

If, as an owner, you have agreed to forego use of your week for one year at the request of the resort because of “major refurbishment” or “ use as a show apartment” or some similar excuse, check whether it is not actually being used by someone else, perhaps from a holiday club?

A highly profitable switch for the operator!

“Phantom accommodation”
For £3,000 you purchase the password to access an Internet site which lists thousands of weeks of Timeshare available for rent.

But what the operators conveniently omit to say is that few, if any, of these thousands of weeks of Timeshare actually exist.

Sounds just like a Holiday Club, on the Internet.

One well established marketing technique is to persuade punters to visit a resort, perhaps on the promise of a low cost holiday, in order to sell them a Timeshare.

But a new variant of this “Fly-Buy” scheme has surfaced.

The caller says that they have a buyer for your Timeshare at a price you never dreamt was possible. “Just come over to Tenerife/Costa del Sol at our expense to complete the deal.” You arrive to find that there has been a slight hiccup in the deal, “but while you are here, why not buy one of our lovely ….”.

If you fall for it you become the owner of two Timeshares.

Every crook and his dog is jumping on the “Holiday Club” scam bandwagon.

Three new names have come across our desk in the last three days, either on the Costa del Sol or Tenerife. The latest trick is to provide the purchaser with a contract that does not even have the sellers address. How do you get your money back if it all turns pear shaped?

Next they’ll be asking punters to just sign a blank piece of paper.

Hyprafund – yet another “guaranteed cash-back scheme”

Hyprafund claim that Lloyds are their bankers. “No, we are not” say the bank.

Hyprafund claim that Richard Carr is the Fund Auditor. “No, I am not” says Carr.

Hyprafund claim an Economist in Spain is the Fund Trustee. “NO, we are not” says the economist, 
Hyprafund claim to pay Fund members their money back in the future – “?? ??????” say the members.

Circumventing the law – one wonders why!
Holiday Clubs are now the “in thing” with every Tom, Dick and Harry selling them instead of Timeshare. No cooling off period; a hefty deposit when you sign and “bad luck, mate” when you try to book your holidays. The cost is extortionate for a three year membership, more than you would pay for a top class Timeshare week in perpetuity!

Points Clubs
With a plethora of Points Clubs, and more appearing out of the woodwork every month, it is timely to issue a warning.

Points Clubs fall into three categories.

1. Outright timeshare scams, where Consumers pay more money for less benefits. The only winner is the operator.

2. Clubs designed to rescue a failing Timeshare operator from his own incompetence. Both operator and Consumer will eventually be the losers.

3. Clubs run by larger, professional, organisations. The only safe ones to consider.
Choose with care, or you could be badly hurt.

The “Show Apartment” scam (common in Portugal)
“Sorry” says the salesman” but the apartment I’m trying to sell you is occupied but take a look at this apartment, it’s just the same”.

It’s exactly the luxury and space you wanted. You sign up, pay, and go home.

Until you come to the bank your newly acquired treasure with an exchange Company – “Sorry (a word you’ve heard before!) but you only own a “pig in a poke” which limits your exchanges into other pig-sty’s.”

Stolen Ownership Certificate
You get the usual telephone call: “We’ve sold your Timeshare week for £££££££££”. A lot more than you expected. In fact, four times more than you expected. Just send us your Ownership Certificate and the ££££££££ will be sent to you in 14 days”. You wait …and wait …and wait …until eventually you call them – a dead telephone number.

So you don’t believe the salesman when he says “You could have won £1,000”?
Easy; the salesman shows you a photograph of the last winner of the £1,000 and you’re convinced. Or are you?

Keep your eyes open when you are doing the “Timeshare tour”. You might just recognise the happy couple in the photograph as the Sales Manager and his girlfriend!

When is a deposit for a Timeshare NOT a deposit for a Timeshare?
When it’s dressed up as the purchase of a number of weeks holiday for an extortionate sum!

A salesman tells you that the Timeshare will cost £7,000, but, “as you’re such nice people”, you can have it for £5,000 and have a number of weeks of holiday for £2,000. You sign two separate contracts, one for the “deposit less” Timeshare and one for the holiday weeks. Then you decide that you want to cancel, yes, the £5,000 can be cancelled under the 10 day Timeshare law, but the £2,000 can’t, so you are tempted to pay the £5,000 just to get something back for your money.

And the very reason for governments banning deposits was to remove the emotional “lock-in” to continuing with a contract you didn’t want.

Fancy a flutter on the Timeshare market?
Invest between £15,000 and £40,000 in a number of Timeshare weeks, anything from 6 to 20 weeks in all, on the promise that the salesman will sell these weeks, on your behalf over the next 12 months at an “enormous” profit. All you have to pay are a modest registration fee and the regular management fees.

A year later you contact the resort to collect your profits and, whoops, only one week has been sold. Oh but of course, you can continue for another year. All you have to pay is a further registration fee and the management fees, again!

What can you do? The resort is holding on to your “Ownership Certificates”, ‘in case we make a quick sale’. The management fees are rapidly eroding the profit and you are still the proud (embarrassed!) owner of more Timeshare weeks than you need.

And there is a nasty suspicion that some of these “investment” weeks have been sold to more than one investor!

Feedback: Six such investors tell us that they have been forced to “sell out” at a big loss. In one case £21,000 in 1996 turns into £14,000 in 1999.

Double whammy
A year ago you paid £295 to reseller “A” who had promised to sell your week “within 6 to 8 weeks”.

Now reseller “B” comes on the ‘phone offering to sell your week “at a special promotion in America/Russia/Israel in only a couple of weeks time”. This time the fee is £330. You mention that you are already registered with reseller “A”, “no problem, we’ll get that £295 back for you”, promises reseller “B”.

But a quick check on telephone numbers confirms that reseller “B” is really just reseller “A” having another bite at the cherry. Now you are £625 down and still own your Timeshare week.

Bureau de Change or “How to lose the benefit of the Credit Card Company refund scheme”.

Credit Card Companies operate a voluntary scheme to refund payments made in Europe for Timeshare if the card holder cancels (in writing) within ten days. This refund eventually comes out of the pocket of the Timeshare Company making the sale.

To get around this enforced refund, Timeshare Companies in Spain are ‘persuading’ Consumers to use their credit card to withdraw cash, at a Bureau de Change, and pay a deposit in cash.

Now the poor credit card holder cannot get a refund from his bank if he cancels, and the Timeshare Company get to keep all the money.

When a Free Holiday is neither Free nor a Holiday
You’ve won a “Free Holiday”. All you have to do is attend a presentation. Suspicious, you ask “is it Timeshare?” “No, certainly not”, so you attend. Yes, it’s a 2 hour Timeshare presentation.

Whether or not you decide to buy a Timeshare, you ask for your “Free Holiday”, only to find that:-

You will have to pay a fee ranging from £30 to over £150, so it’s hardly free.
The conditions for booking the holiday are so restrictive that it is very easy to miss the booking period, losing everything.

When you take the holiday, it will be at a Timeshare resort. Where, if you didn’t buy at the first presentation, you get a further 4, 5 or even 6 hour high pressure selling, hardly a holiday.

If you actually get your holiday, you’re one of the lucky ones. Lots of people promised “Free Holidays” simply didn’t get anything for their time, trouble and money. Four Companies have been closed down for not providing the promised holidays and others are being targeted.

Black Hole?
Additional charges on owners, “levies”, have become increasingly prevalent over the last couple of years. These levies have generally been justified on the grounds that they are necessary for “refurbishment” and “renewals” of the owner’s accommodation.

But one group of owners, when they next stayed in their accommodation, were unable to identify where all their levy money had been spent, despite assurances that it had all been used to improve the owner’s accommodation.

They suspect that some of the levy money had been diverted into other projects; projects of no interest or concern of the owners.

A veritable “Black Hole”.

Can’t sell your Timeshare? How about converting it into a money-back guaranteed bond?
Out of the blue someone calls to say that they can help you get your money back from your Timeshare. (How did they know you are an owner?).

Their offer is simple! Give us your Timeshare and £2,000 and, as if by magic, we will give you back the original price that you paid for your Timeshare (perhaps £6,000) in xx months time.

You hand over your Ownership Certificate and the money and you get an important looking bond. “Guaranteed repayment to Mr & Mrs Smith on 1st January 2015”.
And what happens on 1st January 2015? Absolutely nothing! The crooks have long since gone with your money and your Timeshare.

“The thumb”
Buyers are told that they have a cooling-off period, but are not told how many days this is. Almost in the same breath they are also told that they have “a full month to pay the outstanding amount”.

When it comes to signing the Purchase Agreement, the salesman points out that the date for payment as one month in the future, but he has his thumb firmly over the clause stating the cooling-off period is only 10 days.

Mr & Mrs Punter happily cancel after 28 days, only to find that it is too late.

“The thumb” has struck again!

The advance payment scam.
A Timeshare reseller calls you or writes (how did he know you owned?) saying that he can sell your week (sometimes he says that he has already sold your week) for a figure three or four times more than you know its worth. How marvellous, and all he wants is a small administration/registration fee, usually between £100 and £300.
You send the fee and there is a deafening silence.

Weeks later you call the reseller, can’t get to talk to the person who originally called you, but the other salesman is quite blunt. “Could never sell it for that price, it isn’t worth a quarter of that, sorry mate, bye”.

1. “We are calling you from Spain [Bulgaria, Mongolia] and have a buyer waiting with his money to pay you the original purchase price. Just pop down to your bank and mail us 800 euros, send us your Certificate, and we’ll have the money with you in a couple of weeks.” Do as they ask and you could be poorer and lose your Timeshare.

2. “We don’t want any advance payment, but just tell me your Credit Card number so that we can deduct our commission when we make the sale”. Guess what appears on your next Credit Card statement a few weeks later?? No sale having materialised.

3. “We have rented out your week for £600. Just send us a £200 administration fee and we’ll send you the £600 two weeks before your holiday week”.

A Timeshare in all but name!
The ‘no-deposit’ rule has hit the salesmen badly, so they have dreamed up a new wheeze to lock a purchaser into the contract. They offer them a 35 month period of use of a Timeshare – sorry, ‘holiday apartment’ (which falls outside the Timeshare legislation) which converts on payment of a nominal sum into a full blown Timeshare in month 36. For which you pay an amount roughly equal to the deposit the salesman wanted in the first place.

Neat! This doesn’t actually break the law, but forces the buyer to think very hard about cancelling because he will not get the deposit, sorry, “holiday apartment use” money back.

This duping operates under various guises – “Holiday Bond”, “Special Holiday Program” and other similar names.

How to become the unwitting owner of two Timeshares.
On holiday enjoying your Timeshare when a salesman approaches you. At the presentation you tell him that you already own a Timeshare. He says “no problem, we’ll sell your existing one provided you buy a nice new one from us”. Sounds great, and you hand over the money for the new one and go home to wait for the cheque for the sale of your ‘old’ one.

Guess what, the cheque never arrives?

Now you own two – with two sets of Management fees and two sets of finance repayments – thanks to the Buy/Sell Scam.

Variation 1: You have contracted to buy a Timeshare when another salesman persuades you that you are making a big mistake, just buy into HIS resort and he will extract you from the legal obligations of the first contract. Except that he doesn’t! This one is known as the “Rescue scam” in the trade.

How to pay more for your mortgage.
You are being put under pressure to buy a Timeshare at a presentation but can’t afford it (or trying to use “We can’t afford it” as your excuse to get away from the salesman).

No problem, he can arrange a replacement mortgage, with lower repayment terms than your existing mortgage, which includes the Timeshare. 
The repayment figures given by the salesman are tempting. You sign up for the Timeshare and arrange to talk to the mortgage broker when you return to the UK. Great, you’ve got a reduced mortgage AND a holiday for life!

But, (how often that little word turns up), the mortgage provider says he knows nothing about the lower figures and the cost of the family home plus 
the Timeshare turns out to be higher than your existing mortgage.

Of course, you don’t have to take up the new mortgage, but you do have to pay for the Timeshare, now well past the cancellation date.

When Blue equals Red or “Of course you can upgrade”
Timeshare weeks are divided into three colour bands throughout the year, Red for the most popular, with White and Blue for out-of-season weeks. 
A buyer who cannot afford a Red week is verbally promised there will be “no difficulty” in having use of a Red week even though he is only buying a lower grade week.

It is not until the new owner attempts to use a Red week the resort denies any knowledge of the promise and the scam is exposed. The resort then denies everything the salesman has promised.

For £8,000 down and £250 a year you can have a holiday from a choice of resorts. You own nothing; you have no guarantee the Company providing the holidays will exist in 2 years time, let alone 20 years time. For the money you have paid you could got yourself a first class Timeshare and a second car.

Buyers are signing up for exactly this, often with the tempter of a “Money Back Bond” after only 5 years, and we all know how reliable those “bonds” are!

Variation: Instead of paying to join the “Holiday for Life” club you are offered shares in a Company. The incentives, benefits and risks are exactly the same.

Too embarrassed to admit that you’ve been the victim of a timeshare scam? Please tell us so that we can help others avoid the same embarrassment.


Last modified: June 25, 2018