The dangers of timeshare forumsPublished 16/03/2017
Timeshare can be a murky industry and very often things aren’t what they initially seem. And there is no better example of that than Timeshare Forums and internet sites. There are various forums out there where people can discuss their timeshare ownership along with other more general timeshare issues. Most of these forums provide various opinions and advice on how to cancel a timeshare or advice on how get out of having to pay the annual maintenance fees timeshare resorts typically charge.
There are numerous problems however associated with the nature of such advice and more broadly with the timeshare forums and websites themselves.
Who is behind the forum or website?
One of the big problems with Timeshare forums and websites offering assistance to owners is that you don’t actually know who is behind the website and what their agenda is. We are aware of some forums which are run by companies involved in the timeshare industry and who use the forums as a way of either legitimising their own business or, more commonly, to discredit their competitors.
Often you will see forums where people complain again and again about certain timeshare resorts yet others are never mentioned. This isn’t to say that that resort or company is not a scam or doesn’t have any issues, and may simply be that the people behind that forum have removed or edited any comments about the resort or company that they want to protect.
Sometimes a forum will extoll the virtues of a particular company and many people will talk about how great that company is. The question to ask yourself is – who is behind the forum and how do you know that these posts are genuine? Could those posts be fake?
Don’t forget also that forums and websites can change ownership. A website or forum that is genuine and legitimate can, through a series of events, end up in the hands of a potentially unscrupulous company who will use the historical goodwill of that website to encourage people to continue to use their services. Or particular individuals from previous websites will set up sister companies to direct potential new clients towards them.
This has regrettably happened recently with one of the most prominent of websites which previously offered totally independent, open and informed Timeshare advice.
Who is that person giving advice?
We see a lot of very poor advice given on timeshare forums. There is some good advice given but much of the advice given is by people posting under a pseudonym. So who are they and what is their background? What are their legal qualifications and how much do they know about the legalities of timeshare? If the advice turns out to be incorrect are they going to take responsibility for any damage caused as a result? Do they have an agenda or an axe to grind? Many armchair lawyers are simply passing on information that they genuinely believe is correct but is factually and legally incorrect. Of course, the more this misinformation is mentioned the more gravitas it appears to have and therefore the more people believe it.
Do they have the full facts?
Even if the forum or website is genuine and the people on the forum are also genuine there is still a real danger in taking advice at face value. By their very nature forums aren’t the place to go into huge detail about your particular circumstances or to discuss the specific documentation associated with your timeshare ownership. Therefore any advice given will only be based on what you have said on that forum rather than the full facts. Giving legal advice on the basis of partial facts is dangerous, particularly when it comes to timeshare.
It is vital that if you are going to be taking advice from a timeshare website or forum that;
- You know who is behind the forum or website. A quick Google may provide this information. Alternatively there are various websites that you can visit to find out who the registered owner is.
If it proves to be difficult to find out who is actually behind the website or forum treat it with extreme caution
- Be careful about taking advice from anonymous people on forums;
- Are they legally trained?
- Are they responsible for the legal advice that they give if it turns out to be incorrect?
- Can you contact them?
- Do they have an agenda?
- Are they real or are they operating under a fake name?
- To remove any risks or uncertainty, always look to instruct a regulated Law firm with experienced timeshare solicitors to deal with your case.
If you have a problem with timeshare in Spain or Portugal and would like to speak to a UK based solicitor who has been dealing with timeshare for over 20 years then you can contact our timeshare legal team
Disclaimer – International legal issues are a complex area of law and this information is no substitute for independent legal advice on an individual basis taking into consideration your personal circumstances and legal requirements. This information is provided to provide general information only and was correct at the time of publishing. The legal position in relation to international transactions can change frequently and this page may not have been updated following any changes in the law. You should therefore not rely on this information and should seek legal advice in relation to your personal circumstances.