At Sarah Waddington Solicitors we have seen an increase in calls lately from frustrated Timeshare owners who are desperate to be free from their contract and obtain the compensation they are owed. However, desperate timeshare owners are prime targets for scammers who implore dirty tactics to con, swindle and trick them out of more of their hard earned money.
Just some of the people who have contacted us have said that they are being bombarded daily by companies promising them relinquishment from their ownership in a matter of weeks and guaranteeing them thousands in compensation. This is particularly prevalent at this time of year as we approach the time when timeshare companies are starting to send out their annual maintenance fee invoices.
This year will be especially concerning for owners in light of the COVID 19 situation which has seen many members unable to use their timeshare ownership and wondering what they should do about paying their maintenance invoice which has either already arrived or is due soon. This can be extremely worrying as they tend to increase every year and often much faster than the normal inflation rate. This can make the charges even more unaffordable as people continue to face the Pandemic and the uncertain times ahead.
A ‘double dip’ scam is one that targets people who are already vulnerable and desperate having already fallen victims to grossly unethical contracts or timeshare scams. They implore various, convincing tactics and different approaches to persuade targets that they are legitimate.
These fraudulent companies often make claims such as;
They are even so devious as to initiate a call and offer their sympathies that you are stuck in a timeshare you don’t want or have previously been scammed and will strike up friendly conversations and fake understanding in order to secure your trust.
No matter the ‘con’ and the angle they are working the conversation will inevitably turn to you having to make a ‘small payment’ to them in order to gain your freedom, compensation or make the sale. They will frame this as a – one off fee, translation charge, legal fee, court fee or even just payment for their services.
This can leave some Timeshare owners confused, dismayed and at their wits end not knowing what to believe and who to trust.
Here are some of the key things to look out for in order to identify scammers early on and keep your money safe.
This is the BIGGEST red flag ever. It doesn’t matter how they frame it to you; they weren’t passed on your phone number from ‘the register of timeshare owners’ because it doesn’t actually exist. They might even claim to be from reputable banks or law firms, they aren’t. They’ll often be sympathetic and say they know you’ve been victim of a scam and want to help. They don’t.
No matter how convincing they sound you have the power to hang up the phone so use it. The same applies to letters ‘congratulating’ you on your timeshare compensation as they implore the carrot dangling tactic to entice you to make contact with them.
Use the internet to do your research on the company and the individuals in question. Check their details, website, reviews and be sure to go through every aspect with a fine toothcomb. Just because they have a legitimate looking website doesn’t mean you should be so easily convinced. Question everything!
These people are experts at discretely extracting information from people, but you must stay on your guard and remember never to share any personal information or payment details with these people over the phone. At some point the time will come for them to ask for payment in one way or another. They might tell you it’s ‘only for a small fee’ to cover the costs of something but once they ask for money cease all contact immediately.
Another obvious sign is that if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. These people usually claim to be able to gain tens of thousands in compensation whilst charging extremely low fees and neither of these are likely to be true. They also make false promises such as being able to ‘guarantee’ you money but remember that no one can guarantee you compensation and anyone who does should be treated with extreme caution.
The only reason that these companies continue to exist is because some timeshare owners are taking their calls and unfortunately buying in to what they are saying. Remember, these companies are generally unregulated which means that there is absolutely no limit to what they can say. They can lie, impersonate others, make false claims and say whatever they think you want to hear in order to gain your confidence and get their hands on your money.
At Sarah Waddington Solicitors we hear horror stories on a daily basis from elderly and vulnerable clients who have been approached by or fallen victim to one of these scams and we work with them to provide guidance and advice on what to do and how to deal with them in the future.
Some of our clients have paid out thousands of pounds to different timeshare compensation companies some on multiple occasions, only to find that the non-regulated compensation company has closed for one reason or another. This means that they have no chance of ever getting their money back and are no nearer to obtaining compensation for their timeshare then when they first set out.
If you have been victim of a scam, have concerns regarding unsolicited contact with someone wanting to discuss your timeshare or need advice on what to do regarding your Timeshare contract, then do not hesitate to contact Sarah Waddington Solicitors. Our experienced lawyers will give you an MOT on your timeshare ownerships and be able to offer expert advice on the merits of your relinquishment and compensation claim. We will provide straight forward, easy to understand advice free of charge and if you decide to proceed using our services then we will provide you with a no obligation quote.
We are deeply committed to providing our clients with a first class service that they can trust. We understand that most of the people that come to us have been deeply burned before and we work to ensure that we do absolutely everything in our power to help them in their time of need.