Timeshare fraud

What does timeshare fraud offer?

A fraudster asks you to invest in timeshares. With a timeshare, you don’t buy an entire property at a holiday destination. Instead, you buy a share in a property that allows you to use it or rent it out for a certain number of weeks every year. Because you are sharing costs with other investors, your overheads are lower.

How does timeshare fraud work/

You are invited to attend a timeshare presentation or a presentation featuring a new holiday venture. Usually, you are promised an expensive gift if you stay until the end of the presentation. Alternatively, you are told that that you have won a gift which is yours if you attend the presentation.

You might be pressurised into signing a contract for a timeshare. Sometimes, the property involved may not exist or it may fall below the standards described in the presentation or in the seller’s glossy brochures.

Often, the gift on offer is not as advertised and you may be asked to pay an administration fee to cover its value.

If you already own a timeshare, the fraudsters may offer to sell it on your behalf for a fee.

If you have already fallen victim to a different timeshare fraud, the new fraudsters may also offer to pay any legal fees you might run up.

How can I recognise a timeshare fraud?

  • Remember: if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is
  • If you are offered a prize for attending a presentation, read the small print and don’t agree to pay any money for the prize
  • You can leave the presentation at any time - although the sales staff might try and persuade you to stay
  • Read the small print on the contract. If it is different to what you were promised, challenge it or don’t sign it
  • Don’t feel pressured into signing the contract
  • Make sure you get all verbal promises in writing.

How can I avoid timeshare fraudsters?

  • Ask if you can take the contract away and sign it later. If the company is reputable, it will allow you to do so
  • Ensure a lawyer reads through your contract
  • Ask about your cancellation rights and get them in writing
  • Ask for references
  • Research the property and market
  • Be aware that costs such as maintenance fees may increase
  • The property will rarely increase in value, so the resale value will probably be lower than the price you paid for it.

What should I do?

  • Under the Timeshare Act 1992: if you sign a timeshare agreement in the UK lasting three years or more, legally you have a 14-day cooling off period to cancel the contract and any related credit agreement
  • If you sign a timeshare agreement elsewhere in the European Union (EU), you will legally have a cooling off period of at least 10 days to change your mind
  • You should cancel in writing, preferably by recorded delivery.

Reporting it

If you're a victim of fraud that is a crime in progress and you need an immediate police response dial 999.

If it is a non-emergency situation,

call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

You can also report fraud or find further advice and information on the Action Fraud website.