Thailand sees around 38 million tourists per year. Most tourists above the age of 30 are likely to have been approached by the timeshare touts that cruise the streets on mopeds, especially those who visit Patong, Koh Samui and Pattaya. For the majority of tourists, these touts are just a nuisance, and they do not realise how close they came to falling victim of the timeshare scams in Thailand.
The reports of scams are often due to verbal agreements that never materialised. This often leaves consumers to believe that there is nothing they can do about it.
Why have timeshare resorts been able to operate in this way for so long?
Timeshare scams are often reported to the wrong people. In most countries, the first thing you would do, is go to the police to report the scam. This has no effect in Thailand. Timeshare touts are often picked up on the streets and taken to the police station where they wait for the timeshare resorts lawyer to come and pay for their release. The “fees” that are paid seem to buy them out of jail, enabling them to operate again the following day.
Thailand is not like western countries and people are motivated by money. Reporting a timeshare scam to the police could see the resort having to pay a “fee”, however, it is unlikely to get your money back. This is thought to be the case for small local law firms also.
Are tourists protected against timeshare scams in Thailand?
Tourists feel that they have no, or little protection in Thailand against timeshare scams, however, Thailand do offer consumer protection rights. The Consumer Protection Act 1979 protects the “consumer” against the “businessman”. Under Article 57 of the Thai Constitution B.E. 2540, “the right of a person as a consumer shall be protected as prescribed by the laws. Using the consumer protection procedures in place is a far better alternative to juridical procedures.
What consumer protection rights are there for foreigners in Thailand?
Thailand’s consumer protection rights are:
- The right to receive correct and sufficient information and description as to the quality of goods or services.
- The right to enjoy freedom in the choice of products or services.
- The right to expect safety in the use of goods or services.
- The right to receive a fair contract.
- The right to have the injury considered and compensated under the laws on such matters or with the provision of the Consumer Protection Act.
How can the Consumer Protection Act help timeshare owners?
Scope of protection: A contract between a businessman and a consumer shall not be unreasonably disadvantageous and shall not stipulate unfair contract terms to the consumer. An advertisement may not contain a statement which is unfair to consumers or which may cause an adverse effect on the society as a whole; that is, notwithstanding such statement concerns with the origin, condition, quality or description of goods or services as well as the delivery, procurement or use of products or services.
Legislation: The Consumer Protection Act is accompanied by the Direct Sales and Direct Marketing Act, the Thai Product Liability Act, the Consumer Case Procedure Act and the Act on the Establishment of Consumer Organization Council Act. Additional consumer protection is provided by the Unfair Contract Term Act and the Trade Competition Act. Regarding land developments, a complaint with the Land Development Commission is an additional option for the investor in real estate.
Procedures: The tasks at the Office for Consumer Protection Board are normally accomplished within two months. The board is open to delay tactics by the consumer.
Thailand’s consumer protection legislation is not only applied to daily business transactions. This also includes residential constructions and condominium purchases as contract-controlled business.
Complaints from the consumer who suffer hardship or injury resulting from the acts of the businessman can be submitted to the Office of the Consumer Protection Board. This office is attached to the Office of the Prime Minister.
If you have purchased a timeshare in Thailand, and feel that you have been mis-sold, contact Legal Exits today and speak to a specialist about your circumstances. Use our timeshare relinquishment form or our timeshare compensation form and a member of our team will contact you.
A translated version of the Thailand Commercial Law – Consumer Protection Act 1979 can be found on this link Thailand Consumer Protection Act – Internation Law Office Based in Phuket (ilo-phuket.com)