The Fixer: Timeshare resale scams

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Dear Fixer,
I bought a timeshare in Spain about 15 years ago and have been paying £200 a year in annual fees every since - despite never visiting the property.

Now, I have been contacted by a Spanish company called Platinum that claims it can sell my timeshare on if I send it £950 to arrange the sale.

I am very keen to get the timeshare off my hands, as the contract seems to run forever otherwise.

But I am a bit nervous about sending a company I know little about almost £1,000 - even though the man I have been speaking to seems to know what he is talking about and says he has a buyer lined up.

So I would like your advice about whether this is a legitimate offer to sell my timeshare on to someone else.

D Wright, Cardiff

Dear Mrs Wright,

Whatever you do, do not send any money to this company. It is almost certainly lying about having found a buyer for your timeshare and breaking the law by asking you for money upfront.

There are lots of dodgy timeshare resale companies around. And as of February 2011, an EU directive bans resale companies from levying charges until an actual sale has taken place or a contract has been otherwise terminated.

What's more, the fact that it contacted you out of the blue to offer you this great opportunity is very fishy indeed.

My advice would therefore be to politely but firmly decline the company's offer and to contact your timeshare company to see if there is a way you can get out of your contract - even if that means handing ownership back to it free of charge. Good luck!

The Fixer

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