The story appears on

Page A5

October 19, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Society

Watchdog in warning on timeshares

A SHANGHAI consumers' watchdog yesterday urged city residents to be cautious when signing up to buy timeshare vacations, after a dramatic increase in complaints.

Officials with the Shanghai Commission of Consumers' Rights and Interests Protection said complaints against timeshare companies have been rising as firms fail to fulfil their contractual obligations.

This year, the commission has received 25 complaints concerning timeshare companies - up 70 percent on 2008.

Customers purchasing timeshare buy a period of time each year at a resort which they can use themselves or try to exchange, often through the company, for a holiday elsewhere.

The commission gave the example of a customer surnamed Chen who bought a timeshare package valued at 30,000 yuan (US$4,514) late last year. The watchdog did not disclose where the timeshare was, nor which company owned it.

At that time, the company promised Chen that he could book exchanges on his timeshare whenever he wanted.

This year Chen planned to travel in Germany or the Maldives, but the company said they had no hotel rooms available in either country. Chen then tried to organize a vacation in Hong Kong, but the company told him that it was impossible to book him a four-star hotel as promised.

Disillusioned, Chen asked to cancel the package, but was refused.

Officials said this type of vacation first appeared in Shanghai in 2004 and has become increasingly popular. However, there is no law regulating the industry.

"Companies entice consumers by saying that if they sign up on the spot, they will get a better price," said Lu Xueqin, a commission official.

"Therefore, many consumers sign the contract without reading it carefully. This is really dangerous."

Contracts rarely include a clause detailing compensation should the company go out of business, leaving owners to shoulder the risk. "Consumers must be cautious," Lu said.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend