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It goes by different names – shared ownership, holiday club and other – but it doesn’t take long for people to realise that all of these are the same old wolf in new sheep’s clothing. Now, if you don’t know what timeshare is, go look it up. And bear in mind: if you don’t understand something, then don’t buy it!! So here are some pointers to buying into timeshare without getting scammed.

Monday 5 November 2012, 04:24PM

1. Actually, timeshare itself is a fine idea. It’s just the way it’s sold that can get nasty. And in Phuket abuse can range from salespeople telling porky pies about how good the product is, to sales people taking deposits on products that simply don’t exist.



2. What are the advantages of timeshare? If you are a couple with a young family, and you are extremely well organised, it can be a cheap and convenient way to organise your annual holiday. If you do not fit this category, you should seriously consider the personal benefits before signing the contract.


2. What are the disadvantages?


By signing a contract with a particular company, you will have limited freedom over where you can take your holidays. Even if there is a long list of destinations, the actual choice of accommodation in those destinations is limited.


While the accommodation price is locked and so might appear cheap on the surface, maintenance fees are variable. This means the real cost is out of your control, and can actually end up being more expensive.



3. There are legitimate timeshare businesses in Phuket who operate with some degree of transparency, but there are also some less than legitimate ones who should definitely be avoided.


The most common complaints are that timeshare salespeople use highly aggressive tactics which can make people feel intimidated or bullied into buying.


This is made worse by the fact that many timeshare salespeople are actually proud of their ability to browbeat people into buying.



4. What are the danger signs to look out for?


If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t – true, that is.


Particular warning signs are companies that do not own property, but have rented space. They’ve perhaps 10 or 20 rooms for two or three years, but they are selling holiday memberships for as long as 10 years


So look for established companies who actually own the property they are trying to lease, such as Laguna, Marriott and West Sands. As a general rule, if the timeshare company does not own its own property, alarm bells should be ringing.


5. What is the best course of action if I feel I’ve been conned?


While the contract is legally binding, if you feel misrepresents the service being offered, then under Thai law, that is grounds to break it.


If you feel that you have been conned and don’t know who to turn to, the best course of action is to contact the Phuket Tourist Police on 1155.


At the end of the day, do not act on impulse. If you are interested in timeshare, listen to the sales pitch. Take a day or two to think about it, do your research, and if you still want to go ahead, sign on the dotted line.

Check: Is there a cooling-off period in the contract? This means that there is still time, even after you have signed, to change your mind.


Have a question? Email editor@thephuketnews.com


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