Holiday Booking Scams Including Timeshares Rise By 19%

The number of holidaymakers that were ripped off last year by booking scams saw an increase of 19%, new figures show.

The UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre Action Fraud saw 5,826 cases reported during 2016, up almost a fifth on the previous year.

The most common scams related to airline tickets, online accommodation bookings and the perineal timeshare sales.

A total of £7.2m was lost to these scams last year at an average of £1,200 per victim.

More than a quarter of the victims said that that the scams had a significant impact on not only their financial well-being but also their mental and physical health. A further 259 were left needing medical treatment or at risk of bankruptcy.

A new campaign has launched backed by the City of London Police, Abta and the fraud prevention group Get Safe Online to highlight the dangers posed by holiday bookings and timeshare purchases.

Tony Neate, of Get Safe Online, said holidays are often a “big-ticket item” and present “the perfect opportunity for cyber criminals to swindle unsuspecting victims out of their hard-earned money”.

He went on to stress that you should always do as much research as you can about the organisation you are looking to book with before making a purchase.

“By booking in haste, you could not only risk losing a huge amount of money, but also disappoint family and friends when it comes to that long-awaited escape.”

Sporting events such as the UEFA Champions League Final and religious trips such as the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages are a popular target for these scam artists due to the limited availability of tickets and subsequent higher prices.

Timeshare Scams and Timeshare Release Claims

The unregulated timeshare industry that saw its boom in the 1980’s and 1990’s is still claiming its fair share of victims.

Many customers were promised exotic holidays at affordable costs with an “investment for the future” angle taken in the often oversubscribed timeshare presentations. It was during these presentation that high-pressure sales tactics forced people into quick and uninformed decisions.

These tactics have left many people owning timeshares which they can no longer afford due to the ever increasing maintenance fees. However, after a Supreme Court ruling in 2015, timeshares that were mis-sold to customers could be eligible to a full refund or cancellation.

This has allowed customers to bring claims against timeshare resorts such as Club La Costa. In a groundbreaking ruling against the resort a customer was refunded the full purchase price of his timeshare along with a proportion of the maintenance fees. The contract was also cancelled as he was granted a timeshare release.

Action Fraud says reports of travellers being swindled have consistently risen over the past five years.

Mike Tanzer, Abta chief executive, said: “Abta is regularly contacted by members of the public who have been caught out by increasingly sophisticated travel-related frauds.

“Follow the tips we have put together in partnership with Get Safe Online and the City of London Police to avoid falling victim yourself and ensure that your hard-earned money goes towards your holiday and not lining the pockets of a fraudster.”

Timeshares What You Need To Know

It is important that you understand all the aspects of timeshares before you even consider getting involved with one. From the sales presentations, to the maintenance fees, to getting rid of your timeshare – we have listed some things to be wary of.

Timeshares Can Become An Endless Pit Of Money

At each timeshare presentation, the sales representative will tell you that a timeshare is a fantastic investment. Something where the value is only going to increase, a fantastic holiday destination and something that can be left to your family for future generations. The reality is usually much different.

One of the great lies of timeshares is that they can be sold on for more than you paid for it. It is more likely that your timeshare will become an endless pit where you will continue to pour money, with little or nothing to show for it.

In many cases owners are almost willing to give their timeshares away for nothing, just to be rid of the maintenance fees and other issues associated with timeshares.

High Pressure Sales Tactics

Another common theme of timeshare sales is the high-pressure sales tactics and presentations that you will endure. The sales person will say anything and everything to get you to sign the contract for the timeshare where the downward spiral begins.

There have even been cases where customers have been kept in presentations for three-four hours and basically forced into signing timeshare contracts.

Timeshare sales presentations will draw in people from all walks of life – they do not discriminate as long as they get you to sign the contract and start spending money they are happy.

Don’t ever feel pressure into signing a contract. Always read every single line of the contract. Have it checked by a legal professional. And then and only then should you sign anything, but even then do it with great caution.

Mercantile Claims can help you exit your timeshare contract, if it was miss sold to you or if it contained unfair clauses. Please complete the form below and one of experts will be in touch.

A Word Of Warning For Timeshare Presentations

Timeshare sales presentations are one of the main ways that resorts attract customers in to buying a timeshare and from there it is usually a downward spiral of high maintenance fees and other costly problems until it seems almost impossible to cancel your timeshare contract.

Many timeshare presentations start in the same way, representatives of the resorts meet you at your hotel and whisk you off to a luxurious resort. There you can enjoy a wonderful breakfast accompanied by stunning views.

To hook you into the presentation the company will usually offer you a complimentary activity during the day anything from ATV riding, zip lining or parasailing. This is one of the few benefits that you can enjoy on these presentations, so take full advantage of them. These are great offers to experience some memorable activities.

But then comes the high-pressure sales presentation. This will usually take two-three hours and will be geared around pushing you and other holidaymakers into buying a timeshare. This is usually where many people crumble, they cave into the pressure and feel obliged to taking on a timeshare after the free breakfast and activities.

If you don’t wish to endure this intense sales presentation, have your breakfast, enjoy your free activity and say “thanks but no thanks.”

The sales representative is giving you the hard-sell and he will do anything to get you to sign that contract. They will make the resort sound like the most amazing place on earth, there will be no downsides to buying a timeshare at this resort (but we know there will be).

If you are seriously tempted by buying a timeshare, then do thorough research. Check the resort, read reviews and more importantly check how the laws regarding timeshares work in that country. Only once you have all this information should you make your final decision.

Remember once you’ve signed that contract it can be very difficult to get out of it and the financial implications could be huge.

Spanish Supreme Court Rules Against Silverpoint Vacations

The Spanish Supreme Court has issued five judgements against Silverpoint Vacations, which operates timeshares in the Canary Islands and various other sites around the world. The cases came from the Arona Court and from the Provincial Court of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which have ordered that €169,000 must be returned to the complainants.

The first of these judgements came against the Club Paradiso Resort, where Silverpoint were ordered to pay €31,000 to the victim. Further rulings have since been passed against other Silverpoint Vacation Resorts including the Beverly Hills Club and the Hollywood Mirage.

Between 2003-2008 contracts were issued to timeshare owners which contained clauses which bound the owners to high maintenance fees and other high costs in advance of staying at the resort. Silverpoint Resorts also said that the customers could resell their timeshares for a high-profit but this simply wasn’t possible.

The Provincial Court denied status of consumers to the plaintiffs, as they were considered investors looking to obtain profit through resale. However it was also noted that “the mere possibility that they could profit from the transfer of their rights does not exclude their status as consumers”, since they did not dedicate themselves professionally to this type of operations.

Contracts the customers signed with the Beverly Hills Heights Resorts were ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court who said, “they do not respect the dictates of Law 42/1998” before going onto add: “advances are required that the contract calls deposit .That is, rather than partial breach of the law, we are faced with a lack of systematic compliance with it.”

The Supreme Court went onto declare “radical nullity” of the contracts signed by the plaintiffs, specifying that “it is so clear that the defendant [Silverpoint] is circumventing that the contract does not transcribe arts. 10, 11 and 12 of Law, nor does it mention, as it was obliged, the “character of legal rules applicable to the contract” so that the acquirer could not know what was the legal regime of his contract.”

The court also ruled that Silverpoint Vacations should pay another three customers fees of £10,400.00 – £17,994.00 and £28,715.00 after similar breaches of the timeshare contract and laws.

The legal representation of Silverpoint Vacations didn’t share the view held by the Supreme Court saying: “with due respect, we do not share the view of the Supreme Court, which is reflected in the judgments in question and, therefore, all remedies will be exhausted against those judgments, both to National level and at the community level “.

If you believe that have a timeshare contract you have signed is breaking any laws, please contact Mercantile Claims for advice.

How To Get Rid Of Your Timeshare Forever

Timeshare properties are notoriously difficult to get rid of. Many timeshares legally bind customers into long-term contracts, while others make it that hard to sell your timeshare that many simply give up trying. To be rid of your timeshare once and for all you need good legal help and at Mercantile Claims, we are timeshare release specialists with vast experience.

Timeshare law can be very difficult to understand and this has been the main reason timeshare companies and resorts have succeed in keeping customers bound to their contracts, as people simply don’t know how to spot the flaws in the contracts, how they relate to the law and how it can help them be released from their timeshare.

Contracts Can Make It Hard to Get Rid of Timeshare

The laws surrounding timeshares can be just as complicated as the contracts the timeshare companies and resorts issue to customers. Without professional help is nearly impossible to understand all the intricacies of the laws and contracts. Without the specialist knowledge people simply give up – and this is what the companies rely on.

But once a customer takes the time to engage the help of a specialist timeshare lawyer, the contracts can be scrutinised carefully.

Not it goes without saying that not all timeshare contracts that are issued breach any of the laws, but even so it still doesn’t mean that you can’t get rid of the contract and the timeshare.

Our professional timeshare legal experts here at Mercantile Claims, will advise you on the best way to legally exit your contract, sometimes without even going to court. Now while this advice won’t be free, when you weigh it up against the costs of things such as the maintenance fees paid on the property, legal advice is a far better alternative.

What Makes An Illegal Timeshare Contract?

It is not uncommon for timeshare contracts to contain some kind of law breach, and cases of legal timeshare cases being won by claimants is continually increasing. Many timeshare contracts will contain a clause(s) that have recently ruled as illegal.

Any timeshare contract that exceeds a fifty year term, is known as ‘in perpetuity’ – these are now illegal. There have been cases where a timeshare contract doesn’t specify any end date – thus they have been ruled as ‘in perpetuity’. These cases have seen claimants win compensation from the timeshare company and also a release from their contracts.

Other cases are appearing where floating weeks and points-based systems are being ruled as illegal. This aspect of the law is slightly more complicated, but at Mercantile Claims we will be able to advise you if your contract has breached any of these laws.

To summarise there are several ways for you to get rid of your timeshare. Some people try selling on the timeshare, while this is possible it is very difficult. Getting expert professional advice from Mercantile Claims could save you thousands of pounds in maintenance fees and other associated costs – as well as releasing you from the timeshare contract.

Don’t wait any longer, contact Mercantile Claims to find out if you could get rid of your timeshare and rediscover your freedom.

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Timeshare compensation group Sue Barclays Credit over timeshare deals

Clydesdale Financial Services, the consumer credit arm of Barclays Bank, are being sued for more than £1.6 million by 106 customers, over holiday home timeshare schemes.

The claimants all purchased timeshares in England, Australia, Tenerife and Spain – between 2006 and 2014, through the Resort Properties timeshare club.

In 2011 Resort Properties were taken over by Silverpoint Vacations, according to High Court documents which were uncovered.

The group of claimants have all said they were invited to a presentation by Silverpoint & Resort Properties, receiving a week’s free holiday at a resort as part of an incentive. From here both Silverpoint Vacations and Resort Properties, recommended that customers take out loans with Clydesdale Financial Services to fund their timeshare purchases.

The 106 claimants have said that they were rushed into signing contracts for the timeshares and the full details of the deal were not made clear to them.

It’s then claimed that the group were told the timeshares were an investment that would be easily resold for a profit with the help of the clubs. Further allegations claim that both Resort Properties & Silverpoint Vacations told the consumers they could rent out timeshares to help meet the repayments to Clydesdale and the loan could be paid off by selling their timeshares.

However, the 106 claimants say the clubs misled them over the costs of the timeshares and the contracts they entered, which also had a negative affect on their credit ratings.

Many of the claimants say they were not made aware of the fact they were entering into a credit agreement, or that there was a variable interest rate. The group of consumers also claims the clubs blamed problems selling the timeshares on factors including the global financial recession.

Claimants Sold Further Timeshare Properties at ‘Club Paradiso’

The clubs then encouraged the group to buy stakes in other timeshares, in order to recoup their initial losses. Many of the claimants then invested more money in an expensive set of timeshare resorts called Club Paradiso.

The 106 claimants are represented by Edwin Coe partner David Greene and say the group are targeting Clydesdale Financial Services under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

This act states says that creditors can be liable for the actions of suppliers. However, Clydesdale denies these claims, saying the lack of detail available is “embarrassing.”

Clydesdale’s legal responses also say that the group’s claims rest heavily on spoken deals, with no exact details being quoted.

They have also said that many timeshare claims are too old to bring forward and that the laws of the countries where the properties are based (Spain, Tenerife and Australia) not the laws of England & Wales should apply to the situation.

Clydesdale has also denied that the Consumer Credit Act now applies, as the licensing system founded by the law finished when the Office of Fair Trading handed over control of consumer credit regulation to the FCA in 2014.

The lender has also stated that the contracts the claimants’ signed fully explained the details of the deal and they do not owe any duty of care to the group.