TATOC Consumer Helpline

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TATOC Consumer Helpline Guide No. 13

Fees already paid to timeshare resale companies.

Unfortunately, there are a number of companies operating in a dishonest or illegal manner who prey on timeshare owners offering them false hope of selling their timeshare property for unrealistically high prices. Many imply or even state they have a buyer already waiting and ready to purchase the timeshare, often saying the purchaser has already paid a deposit, and take a considerable deposit from the timeshare owner as a ‘security payment to enable the sale to go through’.

The information given is confusing; misleading and does not honestly represent the service available from the company and, in some cases, is dishonest and fraudulent. This practice is well known within the industry, consumer bodies, UK Government departments such as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), and the wider European Parliament. The above consumer scam is now prohibited under EU Directive 2008/122/EC which was implemented in all EU member states from 23rd February 2011. Unfortunately this legislation is not retrospective and contracts made prior to this date are not affected. Please see the ‘legislation’ tab on the TATOC website for more information.

TATOC has produced a consumer-focused Resale Code of Practice which reflects the needs of timeshare owners and new legislation, with which reputable companies recognised by TATOC must comply. One of the principle elements of the code is a ban on taking deposits of any kind in advance of sale, however disguised this request for up-front payment.

The code also forbids quoting unrealistically high resale values and advising owners that a purchaser is already waiting to purchase.

TATOC Consumer Helpline will only recommend companies who have agreed to be bound by the TATOC Code of Practice.

A common complaint timeshare owners make when they have paid up-front charges is difficulty getting through to the resale company and a feeling of being fobbed-off when they do. In addition, there is often a failure of the promises made by the resale company and no resulting sale or return of the deposit paid. To get money back from the resale company will not be easy. It is usually the first time owners experience this unfortunate situation but the company will be very familiar with dealing with dissatisfied customers. As a consumer body we are not able to take action on your behalf but there are a number of things you can try if you feel they apply to your situation:

If the company has your credit/debit card details you should contact your credit card company or bank for their advice on whether it is necessary to cancel your card.

They may ask you to pay an up-front fee (often £1,000.00 or more) to a registered Trustee or Escrow company and assure you that your money is fully secured for you until completion. Investigations have proven this to be untrue and your money is not safe at all. You will almost certainly lose your money.

We strongly recommend extreme caution if you are approached by any of these companies and if you have any doubts please check them out thoroughly. If you require any information or assistance contact your resort, a member of your Owners Committee or ourselves at the TATOC Consumer Helpline.

TATOC Consumer Helpline Guide No 14 contains details of companies who have committed to follow the consumer-focused TATOC Resale Code of Practice and have been examined to ensure compliance.

It is not the TATOC Consumer Helpline policy to approve or recommend any specific company, or to imply any particular success in achieving a sale, but these companies follow the TATOC Code of Practice which provides some degree of protection and an indication that the company will act responsibly. For general information on selling timeshare see TATOC Consumer Guide No 11.


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About author

tatoc consumer help

TATOC, the Timeshare Association, is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014. The TATOC Consumer Helpline is TATOC's flagship service providing advice, support and information to timeshare owners and the general public. If you have a question about timeshare, don't hesitate to contact the Helpline team.

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