Person agreeing to no-win no-fee timeshare service

This week, BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates examined the increasing number of fraudulent companies conning timeshare owners.

In the cutting-edge journalistic programme, in my capacity as a leading timeshare solicitor, I discussed how people who are desperate to find a way out of their long-term timeshare agreements are becoming vulnerable to scammers.

Unfortunately, for many Brits, the burden of trying to escape unwanted timeshare contracts is a stressful and costly reality. In his regular show, presenter Adrian Goldberg highlighted how, capitalising on the misery of others, timeshare scammers are “making a million from the latest timeshare fraud”.

Investigating this issue, journalist Ruth Evans revealed that 600,000 people in the UK have a timeshare – that’s nearly half of all timeshare owners in Europe. However, with a large number of these contracts sold in the 80s and 90s, many owners are no longer able to enjoy their timeshare due to issues of age, failing health and mobility.

However, when looking to free themselves from their obligations, many people discover that they are the victim of the ‘in perpetuity’ clause. Such clauses often require them to cover the costs of their timeshare for the remainder of their life. And, in some cases, this financial liability may even pass to their next of kin.

Featured on the show, retired bank manager and Athena Law client Michael Avery explained how, despite being unable to use his timeshare, he faces rising maintenance costs each year. And, with no termination or surrender clause in his timeshare contract, is unable to walk away from his investment, with his financial commitment to his timeshare set to continue even after his death.

In perpetuity clauses make timeshare contracts very difficult to break. However, Mr Avery turned to his local MP and Athena Law for help.

And there is light at the end of the tunnel, as only last year a Norwegian woman was awarded approximately €40,000 by the Spanish Supreme Court in a “ground-breaking” timeshare dispute decision. In this case, the Court ruled that an in perpetuity clause included in the woman’s contract was illegal under Spanish law. This case, while dependent on a particular set of circumstances, could have significant repercussions for timeshare operators, and has granted fresh hope for Brits seeking to exit costly timeshare agreements.

Commenting on the show, I discussed how common these in perpetuity clauses are. Having personally acted for several hundred clients over the years, the majority of cases arose due to hidden clauses that were not fully explained to people when they signed on the dotted line. I went on to highlight that the law does protect people from being misled in such a manner, and as such, timeshare companies cannot use the naivety of buyers as a defence.

The rise of timeshare scams

Promising to free timeshare owners, and stop liabilities being passed to their children, many companies are now undertaking to help people escape timeshare contracts. For an extortionate fee.

However, while appearing entirely legitimate, incredibly these companies are often run by the same people who sold the contracts in the first place!

Other scamming tactics include aggressive cold-calling, with the assurance of being able to sell timeshare properties and recover lost money. However, despite charging upfront, hefty fees – often to the tune of many thousands of pounds – no such sales ever materialise.

Unfortunately, the ability to over promise and under-deliver is all too evident when it comes timeshare companies. And, I predict that over the next five years more money will have been lost due to such scams than to the original timeshares.

What’s more, with a focus on a fast turnaround and quick fees, rather than the needs of the victim, even when entirely legitimate, a lack of legal qualifications and care can leave you open to below-par representation and out of pocket.

The truth is, with so much at stake, both financially and emotionally, if you believe you have a timeshare claim it is vital to appoint a specialist timeshare lawyer. This way, not only can you be sure that your case will be dealt with correctly, but you’ll also benefit from an in-depth understanding of the timeshare market. Ultimately, this ensures the best result for you at the best possible cost.

Having been at the forefront of timeshare dispute resolution for several years, I have helped hundreds of timeshare owners to escape from defective, unenforceable, and inherently unfair timeshare contracts.

If you are trapped into a timeshare you no longer want or can afford, I offer a free, initial consultation to go over the details of your particular circumstances and advise you on whether you have a viable claim. In addition to challenging the legality of contracts, misrepresentation and breaches, where the timeshare has been purchased with the assistance of finance, I may also be able to help you claim against your finance provider.

With a no-nonsense, jargon-free attitude, I will also discuss the range of available payment options up front, which may include no-win-no-fee, conditional fee and contingency fee agreements.

If you’d like a free, no-obligation chat to find out more about how Athena Law can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly for more information on 0161 839 8847 or at stephen.boyd@athlaw.co.uk

To listen to BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates, please click here. The discussion about timeshares starts at 41minutes.

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