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04/06/2011 - Phuket clamps down on timeshare property touts

04/06/2011 - Phuket clamps down on timeshare property touts

Officials in Phuket have unveiled a new ‘task force’ whose purpose is to investigate timeshare property companies operating on the Island.

The new multi-agency team is made up of officials from the Tourist Police, Royal Thai Police, Provincial Police, Public Prosecutors Office, Provincial Office and Patong Municipally. They will focus on busy tourist areas, such as Patong, where timeshare touts are most prolific.

“It’s a big problem. Tourists book holidays with timeshare companies, but when they arrive in Patong, the companies don’t have any hotel rooms for them to stay in. That is destroying our tourism reputation,” said Vice Governor of Phuket, Somkiet Sangkaosutthirak.

Supporting the new task force was Patong Deputy Mayor, Chairat Sukkaban, who opined that there were three different types of time share companies operating in Phuket.

“There are genuine timeshare companies that are registered and have their own offices, such as the operation run at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Mai Khao. But there are also people who rent hotels and properties for only a couple of years, but then offer client’s use of the properties over ten to thirty years. That’s cheating. Third are companies that don’t have anything at all, but they tell their clients that they have got everything for them,” said the Deputy Mayor.

“Many of these operators set up companies and sell anything they can, making anywhere from one hundred to five hundred million baht. They then close their companies and run away. Later they open a new timeshare company, because it is easy to open such companies in Thailand, and cheat people all over again. It is damaging our tourism.”

“Before issuing any work permits for such companies, the Department of Employment needs to look in detail at such operators, such as checking whether they have their own properties and offices,” he added.

But it seems the timeshare touts aren’t just targeting foreign tourists.

Already this year thirty Thai’s have filed complaints at the Damrongtham Centre in Provincial Hall in Phuket Town.

Complaints were also made against more than one hundred foreigners, allegedly selling timeshares without work permits. Photographs and details of the workers were submitted as evidence.

The new task force is expected to officially start investigations by October. Just in time for Phuket’s next high season.





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