Your Questions Answered
Our FAQs aim to answer any questions you may have about our Timeshare Relinquishment Service. If you have any other questions, please call us on 01924 601 111
Can you really get me out of my Timeshare contract?
We have successfully negotiated exits for many of our clients. We are proud to say that the pressure we are exerting on the Timeshare companies is starting to pay dividends and they are realising their exposure. We will continue to take our fight to the timeshare clubs to ensure our clients get out, and compensation where possible. We will always act in our clients’ best interest and will not take on any cases where we feel we are unable to successfully assist.
How much will it cost to get me out of my Timeshare contract?
Your first 30 minute assessment won’t cost you a thing. If we decide you have a case that we can pursue we will offer you our services on an agreed fee basis that will cover all work during your case up to and including issuing proceedings at court to force the timeshare company to release you (subject to a risk assessment confirming that the prospects of success at Court are reasonable). There are no hidden costs and once an agreed fee has been set, it will not change.
Will you get me my money back?
As part of our timeshare relinquishment service we will also assess whether you are eligible to claim damages from the timeshare company or associated parties in the form of compensation and advise you of this. Any work to be undertaken to secure compensation will fall outside the scope of the timeshare relinquishment service and we will discuss with you the options for funding the additional legal work. We will, in most cases, be willing to fund this aspect of our work through a no win no fee service, known as a “damages based agreement”. This means that you will only have to pay our fees in the event that we are successful and win compensation for you. Our fee will be based on an agreed percentage of the damages we recover on your behalf.
How long will it take?
Each individual case is different, depending on its complexity. For example a case involving any compensation claim will take longer than a straightforward relinquishment. We will start to work on your case as soon as full payment is made, contracts are signed and we have all your original documents. From the moment the case is launched it can take up to two years before an outcome is reached. Once we have assessed your paperwork we will have a better idea of the timescales for your circumstances, as they can vary. More often than not the timeshare companies will employ as many delay tactics as possible but we will always keep you notified on the status of your case.
How much money could I get back?
This will depend on your individual case and on what grounds you are eligible to claim for compensation. There are usually two alternative compensation routes: If you purchased by a loan or credit card you may have a claim against your finance provider. If you purchased your product in Spain after 5 January 1999 you may have a claim against your timeshare provider. Our legal team will advise you further on this if we believe you have a valid claim for compensation.
Can I still use my Timeshare if I start a claim?
As long as you continue to pay your maintenance fees then your membership rights will remain unaffected by legal action.
I’m still paying for my Timeshare on finance, can I still claim?
Yes. This is because any statements that are made leading up to the granting of the finance, that are made by the salesperson on behalf of the timeshare company, are also deemed to be made on behalf of the finance company. Also if a credit card is used, under the CCA, we can also hold the finance company jointly and severable liable, along with the finance company.
Can I stop paying my management fees?
You have signed an agreement (regardless of how one-sided) and will continue to be liable for your management fees until you have been relinquished. However, once you have instructed us to work on your behalf, we may be able to help you to avoid paying these while your case is underway. For more information about this speak to a member of our team.
What should I do if I am contacted by someone else saying they can get me out of my Timeshare?
We are aware of a number of companies cold calling people implying they can offer services similar to ours. We do not recommend engaging with these companies or providing them with any personal details.
Due to strict SRA regulations, Solicitors firms are unable to cold call potential clients. We recommend asking the following questions to any company offering to help you with your Timeshare if they are a legitimate company they should be able to provide you with these details.
1- How did you get my number?
2- What is the full name of the company that they are calling from?
3- Are they regulated by the SRA? If so what is their reference number?
4- Are they a U.K company
5- Are they registered with Companies House? If so what is their Company registration number?
It has been our experience that in most cases these firms don’t deliver what they promise, and some even disappear with your money, so do not hand over any money until you are sure you are dealing with a legitimate company.
Why cant this be done on a No Win No Fee basis?
We have considered this question in detail with our compliance team. The answer to is very simple. Each case is different and it takes a lot of time and effort putting the case together, before we know if there is compensation to be claimed.
We cannot guarantee what the outcome will be, we cannot guarantee that you will secure any compensation or refund. So it is not appropriate to offer this service on a no win no fee basis, as this type of arrangement is generally agreed for cases where there will definitely be compensation awarded at the end of the case.
It will also depend upon your specific instructions as this is what we act upon. Some members do not want compensation they just want to be free of their timeshare ownership as quickly as possible, while other members want to pursue a full claim.
What should I do if the Timeshare company threaten to involve a third party to collect maintenance fee debt?
You should advise your Legal team of this immediately and provide them with the correspondence to deal with on your behalf. If you do not have any legal advice, we would advise you to seek this straight away as you do not want the risk of this affecting your credit rating, or the high costs of defending yourself in court.
Can the Timeshare company cancel a holiday I have booked using points which I have paid for?
You should check the Club Constitution but often you will find that there is provision for the Timeshare company to cancel any existing bookings if you have not paid your maintenance fees. The rule generally is that the maintenance fees must be paid for the year you are actually taking the booking/holiday.
What should I do if the Timeshare company tries to contact me?
Upon instructing us to represent you we will send a letter to the Timeshare company letting them know we are acting on your behalf, and to send all future correspondence directly to us. Unfortunately, the Timeshare companies ignore this and try to make direct contact with you to offer schemes to get out. These will always require you to pay more money and usually, they will insist you sign an agreement not to pursue them for compensation.
If the Timeshare company continues to try and contact you, you can reiterate that you have instructed us and for them to liaise with us directly and that you will not answer any more correspondence from them.
Why cant you provide me with a time-frame of how long it will take?
As each case is different, we deal with them all on an individual basis and therefore the time-frame will depend on how long the matter takes to prepare.
Some cases are more complex than others, some Timeshare companies take longer to respond than others, and each correspondence with the Timeshare company will require a different response or action from us. Therefore it is very difficult to predict how long matters will take to conclude. It is in the timeshare companies best interest is to slow down every case as much as they can in the hope you will give up or lose the will to fight them. It’s our job to persistently fight your corner for you until we get a successful outcome, which takes time to do properly.
I am being pestered to pay for the maintenance fees, what should I do?
If as a result of you falling behind with your maintenance fees and creditors/timeshare companies/ Debt collection agencies try to do any of the following things to recover the money you owe, then, in certain circumstances, the following could be considered as harassment:
- Contacting you several times a day, or early in the morning or late at night
- Pursuing you on social networking sites
- Putting pressure on you to sell your home or take out more credit
- Using more than one debt collector at a time to chase you for payment
- Not telling you if the debt has been passed on to a debt collection agency
- Using paperwork or business logos that appear to be official when they’re not, for example, sending you letters that look like court forms
- Putting pressure on you to pay all the money off, or in larger instalments when you cant afford to
- Threatening you physically or verbally
- Contacting you if you say you dont owe the money – for example you are fully up to date with maintenance fees.
- Falsely claiming to work for the court or be a bailiff
- Implying that legal action can be taken when it cant. For example, implying that your home can be taken from you without a court order.
- Giving the impression that court action has been taken against you when it hasnt.
- Giving the impression that not paying the debt is a criminal offence.
For most debts, it is not a criminal offence if you dont pay them. However, is it important to point out that not all contact from companies seeking to recover monies would constitute harassment. For example:
- Sending occasional reminders and demands for payment
- Telephoning you to ask for payment at reasonable times of the day – but NOT several times a day
- Calling at your home, as long as this is at a reasonable time of the day and you have agreed to the visit in advance.
- Taking court action – which is what a creditor can ultimately do, however, this should always be a LAST resort.
Evidence that you would require in order to Support a harassment claim by the creditor
Before making a complaint, try and gather as much evidence as you can to support your claim. Such evidence could include;
- Recording the number of visits or calls with dates and times. Write down what was said to you each time and to whom you spoke.
- All letters or documents you have received emanating from the timeshare company or their agents- ALWAYS keep these.
- Possible witness statements from neighbours or other people who live with you - if numerous visits have been made to your home (Which happens only very rarely.)
The best way to complain:
If you feel that you are being harassed by any of the above, then please get in contact with this office to discuss this matter further. Here at Sarah Waddington Solicitors we take this matter very seriously.
Upon receipt of your instructions in this matter we shall assess whether this does indeed constitute harassment taking the above factor into account and if this does constitute harassment we shall write to the company who is contacting you asking them to stop.
We will also Point out in our letter that harassment is a criminal offence and that we will take further action if this harassment continues.
Once in receipt of our letter they have 3 business days to respond informally. This could be by phone or email. A final response letter might take longer, but should be within 8 weeks.
Your creditor must report your complaint to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), even if they respond within 3 business days. This could ultimately lead to the removal of their licence to carry out this activity.
For your information any organisation which is harassing you for payment of a debt which they say is owned, whether it be for maintenance fees or any other kind of debt, it’s always a good idea to check whether they belong to a trade association which has a code of practice. Trade association may also take action against its members who habitually break their code of practice.
All financial institutions including bank, building society or credit card company, have to adhere to The Lending Code.
The Lending Code sets out standards that its members should follow. These include:
- Allowing you more time if you are in financial difficulties before further action is taken.
- Guidance and support if you have fallen into debt because of mental health problems
- Using trustworthy debt collection agencies who also follow The Lending Code if the debt is passed on or sold
- Telling you before they pass or sell your debt to a new debt collection agency. This means that you should not be contacted by the new debt collection agency until after your lender has told you that your debt is to be moved.
If your complaint is against one of the above type institutions then You should complain to the bank, building society or credit card company first, using their complaints procedure. If this does resolve the problem, and you do not receive a satisfactory complaint within 8 weeks then you can refer your complaint onto the Financial Ombudsman Service, informing them that a debt collector or creditor has broken the terms of The Lending Code.
Which countries can you help me relinquish my Timeshare from?
We have a wealth of knowledge in dealing with Timeshare ownerships in both Europe and America, regardless of where the Timeshare company itself is based.
These continents are where the majority of Timeshares are purchased, where we have been successful and our Solicitors have expertise. However, we have also taken on cases from other destinations outside of these areas.
We will only take on a Timeshare Relinquishment case based on our experiences of successful cases. If we do not think you are entitled to cancel your contract we will not take on your case.
Can Timeshare companies send out bailiffs to recover debts?
Assuming that the timeshare company has taken enforcement action against the client for unpaid maintenance fees , before a bailiff visits, the client should first make sure that they receive a notice of enforcement, which should include the right information. If it doesnt, the client can complain, to stop the bailiffs coming until a new notice is sent.
To be valid the notice MUST:
- show the clients correct name and address
- show what debt the client owes and state the correct amount
- explain that the client will have 7 days notice before the bailiffs can visit
- confirm that the notice has come from a registered bailiff and not a debt collector – Clients can check on the Bailiffs Register if they visit the Justice website
- be sent to the client by letter - either by post, fax, email, by being fixed to the clients front door if they dont have a letterbox or handed to the client.
- be written in a certain legal style – not using complicated legal jargon
After sending the client a notice of enforcement the bailiffs then have to wait 7 full days before they can visit. This doesn’t include the day that the client gets the notice, the day of the visit or Sundays and any bank holidays.
For example, if you the client received the notice on Monday, then the bailiffs can’t visit until the Wednesday of the following week.
NB The notice of enforcement will NOT be valid if it’s come from a debt collector. They don’t have the same powers as bailiffs – so they will not be able to come to the clients home to collect a debt. The clients can always send them away if they do.
Remember a Bailiff cannot come to your home or take any action against you if you can prove that you dont owe the debt.
In such a case, clients should be advised to collect as much evidence as they can to show that they are not responsible for the debt. They should then send this to the bailiffs with a letter explaining that they dont owe the money. They can find their address on the notice of enforcement.
If a client has not been able to pay their debt or set up a payment arrangement and the bailiffs are coming to their home, remember that the client does not have to let them in.
A client can stop them getting in and from taking their belongings by:
- telling everyone in their home not to let them in
- not leaving any doors open (they can enter through any open door)
- parking or locking their car in a garage away from your home
Obviously, a Clients main priority should be to get the matter out of the hands of the bailiff and back to the county court.
If the debt is an unpaid county court judgment a client can apply to the court to stop (suspend) the warrant and vary the instalments that they were ordered to pay by the court. A client can apply to do this on form N245, available from the court. The form asks for details of their income and outgoings with a few personal details such as whether they work. The client would have to pay a small fee at the court, unless they are getting income support, income-based jobseekers allowance or tax credits and they may have to show proof that they are receiving these benefits.
The fee can also be waived if they are on a low income and payment of the fee would involve undue financial hardship. Applications for a fee reduction or waiver are dealt with entirely on an individual basis according to circumstance and there are no precise guidelines about when a fee should or should not be reduced or waived. In either case the client must complete Form Ex160 and send or take it to the court with the N245.
Some county courts may refuse to suspend a warrant of execution until a walking possession agreement has been signed.