Online safety bill, how useful is it? - Sarah Waddington Solicitors

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UK draft online safety bill published

With many Timeshare owners falling victim of online scams promising relinquishments and compensation, will the new online safety bill be enough to protect them? Read what Timeshare specialist Solicitor Sarah Waddington has to say below.

The draft Online Safety Bill has recently been introduced by the government, as they seek to deliver their manifesto commitment to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. However, it is suggested that the Bill is unsuitable for fraud, Google and Facebook have suggested.

This type of fraudulent activity is increasing and it had been hoped that the bill would include scams, to avoid a loophole being created which the people behind the scams will no doubt exploit. Without these additional protections, it is clear that the Bill, as drafted in its current form, is not fit for purpose. It will not protect those who need it and those who are vulnerable will continue to be exploited due to the lack of these legal protections.

The Bill is heavily focused upon user- generated content, examples of which are terrorism and child exploitation. We have seen campaigner Martin Lewis arguing that scams should fall within its remit and we wholeheartedly agree with this argument. This exclusion of this would mean that the Law would still fall far short of measures which are required to protect the consumers and it is a long overdue measure. We have seen many examples of consumers who would have benefitted from scams being included.

During lockdown there has been a surge of online scams and robust laws need to be introduced to prevent this. Is it not common sense that an Online Safety Bill would naturally cover ALL aspect of online safety, and not exclude an area which is clearly an area which is surging and in need of inclusion? ALL scams need to be included and considered in the Bill so that ALL Consumers are protected as much as possible, against the present and real dangers which many of them face each day from online fraudsters.

We are pleased to see Martin Lewis continuing his fight in aid of the long suffering consumers in renewing calls for fraud to be covered by the Bill, telling new Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries that the omission is “catastrophic to millions wealth and mental health” and also “plead with you to include scam adverts in the Online Safety Bill alongside scam user content” he has tweeted, whilst adding that the “distinction is arbitrary and impractical”.

It is vital that the major platforms are also taking playing their part in preventing fraudulently paid-for adverts from appearing on their sites.

We have also noted that Rocio Concha, director of policy and advocacy at consumer group Which?, said tech giants “simply aren’t doing enough to protect consumers from being scammed online”, after watching the hearing.

The financial and emotional toll on victims targeted with fake and fraudulent adverts can be devastating, and yet we did not hear anything in this evidence session to suggest that these platforms will make any serious changes to crack down on criminals exploiting their systems anytime soon,” she said.

The Government cannot delay taking action any longer. The draft Online Safety Bill must be amended so that major tech platforms are required to prevent fraudulent paid-for adverts from appearing on their sites.

We wholeheartedly support and agree that scams desperately need to be added to the Bill and we will continue to watch this issue with interest to see how matters develop.

If you think you have been a victim of one of these companies, please call us now on 01924 601095 Our advice regarding your options is free and there is no commitment. In addition to helping you with the continuing contractual issues with the timeshare company, we may be able to help you get the money back you have paid.

What Can You Do?

Unfortunately, the timeshare industry is one that has been rife with scams and continues to have such issues to this day, but there are circumstances under which you could make a successful timeshare compensation claim.

Some of the types of contracts that could have grounds for a claim include;

  • In Perpetuity Timeshare Contracts
  • Mis-sold Timeshare Agreements
  • Floating Week Timeshares
  • Timeshare Points Clubs

Taking legal action against the timeshare company can help to get you the financial compensation you deserve and, in some cases, terminate the contract for breaching the law. Timeshare law is extremely complex and is not something that can be taken on by anybody but requires the professional expertise of a specialist timeshare solicitor.

If you think that any of the above are relevant to your timeshare agreement then get in touch and the team at Sarah Waddington Solicitors will be happy to speak to you about your case. If you would like to get an idea of just how much compensation you could be owed then try our free timeshare compensation calculator.

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Widbury Barns, Widbury Hill, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 7QE