Office of Fair Trading directive

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has barred certain practices favoured by the timeshare sales industry. In a directive issued in 2008 – which was adopted by the OFT’s superseding agency the Competition and Markets Authority – the Office banned misleading customers just to encourage them to purchase their product.

Unfortunately, the timeshare industry has not quite followed this guidance, still using the outlawed tactics.

One particular favourite of the timeshare sales teams is the ‘limited time only’ sales draw. Banning this practice, the directive says that falsely stating that a product will “only be available for a very limited time, or that it will only be available on particular terms for a very limited time, in order to elicit an immediate decision and deprive consumers of sufficient opportunity or time to make an informed choice” is against the guidance.

Timeshare Help has heard from many owners who were convinced by sales reps that a special deal was only available that day and that they would be stupid to pass it up. This could be considered mis-selling so if it has happened to you, get in touch with us today.

Promoting a product that can’t or won’t be sold is also against the guidelines. This is common in the timeshare world. People are shown a beautiful 5 star resort which they think they will be holidaying in every year, so they sign up. Unfortunately, when they arrive at their destination, they find it is not as promised.

Refusing to take orders for the advertised product is banned. Timeshare Help has dealt with a number of complaints from owners who have signed up on the basis of staying in a specific apartment in a specific resort but when they attempt to book it, they are not allowed to by the developer.

Passing on materially inaccurate information on the possibility of finding the product with the intention of inducing the consumer to acquire the product at conditions less favourable than normal market conditions is also prohibited.

Timeshare sales reps don’t tend to abide by this rule, though. They convince the uninformed that they cannot get a better quality holiday elsewhere so it makes sense to sign a timeshare contract. Often, holiday makers can get far better deals online. If this has been your experience, contact Timeshare Help today.

A trader falsely representing him or herself as a consumer was also in the OFT’s guidelines. However, Timeshare Help knows of numerous timeshare company sales staff pretending to be happy timeshare owners in an attempt to convince potential buyers to sign up.

Perhaps the most sinister aspect of the OFT’s guidelines which the timeshare industry seems to flout regularly is “creating the impression that the consumer cannot leave the premises until a contract is formed”.

A significant amount of people have told us that they were forced into signing a timeshare contract because there were very large and intimidating men placed in front of the doors, implying that they would not be allowed to leave.

If you were ever held in a room against your will until you signed a timeshare contract, please do get in touch with us today. We would be happy to find out whether we can get your money back and your maintenance contract cancelled.