How to know if a timeshare offer is legitimate | Sarah Waddington Solicitors

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Protect Yourself From Bad Deals And Timeshare Scams

A lot of people nowadays are aware of the negative reputation that timeshares have earned over the decades and are able to recognise a scam early on and avoid making any type of agreement or transaction with such individuals or companies.

However, a lot of people have been tied into agreements for years now and are not always fully informed about just how much of a target they can be for double dip style timeshare scams from unethical and ruthless conmen whose only goal is to take their money.

Our expert timeshare solicitors are here to help talk through some of the ways that these illicit scammers target their victims and how to avoid becoming one of them.

What Types Of Timeshare Scams Are There?

One of the biggest mistakes that people can make is to take things at face value and trust that the information they have been given or the source that it comes from is legitimate. Trust nobody until you have done thorough research to ensure as much as you can that they are authentic and what they are offering is not going to leave you out of pocket.

Just some of the scams that are used to trick existing timeshare owners include;

  • Timeshare Resale

This has become increasingly common over the years and is used by fraudsters looking to take advantage of vulnerable timeshare owners who no longer want their timeshare. They can be very good at what they do, and it isn’t always as easy to spot them as people may think. These people are after one thing only, your hard earned money and they are prepared to put on a good show in order to get it.

The approach they commonly take is to pretend that they are an estate agent, timeshare realtor, broker or some other title that they give themselves and they can either use their own company name or pretend to be from a legitimate one that they actually don’t work for at all.

These people will often claim to have a keen buyer lined up who is extremely interested in purchasing your timeshare and for those that are desperate to sell, this can be music to their ears. They will at some point, if not immediately make you aware in passing that you just need to pay their upfront fee which they will say is for something like legal costs, an introducers fee or solicitors bill etc.

In reality, once the money is sent they are gone and never heard from again.

Protect yourself by doing your due diligence, look into the company and do not be fooled by a website as these are easy to fake. Contact by phone, email and other avenues multiple times, search online, look for reviews and question everything, if they are the real deal they wont mind proving it. Never send any money without making sure that you know exactly who you are sending it to and that what you are sending it for is genuine.

  • Timeshare Exit, Cancellation and Compensation

With the success of recent years in the courts of timeshare owners successfully getting out of and receiving compensation for their timeshare through legitimate legal routes, this has opened up another avenue for unethical individuals and organisations to make money fraudulently.

They will usually do this by approaching timeshare owners and claiming to offer legal services or something similar that will free them from their timeshare contracts and even in some cases give them compensation. These people can be well versed in legal terminologies and claim to be from real companies or an entirely fictional one that they have created complete with legitimate branding, business name, logos and websites etc.

Always check that the legal company you are dealing with is SRA registered which means that they are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. They should be able to provide a company registration number as well as an SRA number for you to check.

Signs That An Offer Isn’t Genuine

Not all timeshare scams fit into one of the boxes above as they are constantly changing and evolving what they do and how they work in order to keep the money coming in. Here are some tips on what to look out for if you receive an offer of any sort relating to your timeshare;

  • Do not ever respond to cold calls, emails, letters or any type of communication that involves someone reaching out to you directly. The chances are that your details were obtained illegally and that the person contacting you has an ulterior motive.
  • Do not trust any correspondence straight away, even if it comes from a big name, brand or organisation you are familiar with as it is easy to create a fake email name from a different source.
  • If you are ever unsure then seek advice before you do anything from friends, family or professionals who will be able to help spot if anything untoward is going on.
  • Don’t be fooled by what might seem like genuine concern, empathy or compassion. These scammers are very good at talking and getting on your side so that you trust them and may say things like ‘yes we’ve helped so many poor clients before who have lost money’ etc.

A lot of people who are not technically minded do not realise nowadays just how easy it can be to create a fake business brand, logo, website, social media pages, email address and so on. Do not be deceived by fancy branding and ensure that you do everything you can to check out the legitimacy of who you are dealing with.

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