Police Investigating Possible Timeshare Scam in England
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Last week, when customers arrived at the Holiday Presentation Centre at Matford Park, Marsh Barton, Exeter, England, expecting to sit through a timeshare sales presentation, they found only the locked offices and a sign on the door, saying all presentations for the day were cancelled. The handwritten note, offering no additional explanation, left the prospective timeshare buyers – many of whom had traveled significant distances to attend the timeshare sales presentation – perplexed and grumbling.
What the consumers did not know at the time was that the Holiday Presentation Centre had been closed as part of a raid in a trading standards investigation into the selling of holiday schemes. According to a British publication, The Express and Echo, Peter Greene, the fair trading manager for the Devon County Council, said, “Devon Trading Standards officers have today (last Friday) exercised entry warrants at seven addresses in Exeter, Exmouth, and Somerset and seized an amount of material. The investigation is into alleged breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and the sale of holiday ownership schemes. Inquiries are ongoing.”
While police officers were on the scene to prevent any potential disturbance by irate consumers, they would not discuss the situation, as it involves an ongoing investigation.
Problems in the Past at this Timeshare Sales Center
Over the past few years, there have been numerous timeshare sales or vacation presentation companies in action at this location. Most research suggests that it appears to always be the same company (or individuals) operating under different names, sometimes simultaneously.
History tells us that this is a case of buyer beware. Many consumers are contacted via cold call (meaning they didn’t sign up to receive information about timeshare sales and a “free” timeshare vacation). Complaints have been filed by those who attended, that the timeshare sales presentation often changes from the 90 minutes promised to 3 or 4 hours, one must sit through in order to receive the free or discounted vacation. In a story we have all heard before, the timeshare vacation often comes with so many caveats that the average person is never able to schedule a holiday.
Anyone who feels that they may have been a victim in a misleading timeshare sales presentation (holiday scheme) at the Holiday Presentation Centre, is urged to contact Consumer Direct for advice. The telephone number is: 08454 04 05 06. Consumer Direct is the UK government-funded telephone and online service offering information on consumer issues. They are funded by the Office of Fair Trading and offered in partnership with Local Authority Trading Standards Services.