Global ATC Holding Pte Ltd
The Consumers Association of Singapore (“CASE”) would like to advise consumers to be wary should they receive invoices from Global ATC Holding Pte Ltd (“Global ATC”) claiming to be acting for Asian Travel Club Pte Ltd (“ATC”).
From 1 November 2019 to 31 May 2020, CASE has received 69 complaints from consumers on Global ATC demanding payments for outstanding timeshare membership fees and/or maintenance fees allegedly owed to ATC. In most cases, the consumers received demand for payment despite having formally terminated their memberships. The payment amount stated on the invoices ranges from $320 to $23,800.
Additionally, some consumers complained that they had not been informed by ATC or Global ATC on how to use their timeshare agreements and/or had failed to receive any services or monies under their timeshare or time-related agreements.
Engagement with Global ATC
In response to consumer complaints, CASE had engaged Global ATC to understand their legal basis to demand payment for outstanding fees allegedly owed to ATC. Global ATC informed CASE that they had been instructed by ATC to receive the outstanding fees, but had failed to provide any supporting information or legal basis to substantiate their claims despite being asked to do so since March 2020.
CASE has informed Global ATC that it was to cease contacting consumers to demand for outstanding fees allegedly owed to ATC and make restitution to consumers who had made payments. As Global ATC has not provided any legal basis to substantiate their claims, consumers are advised to be wary of the risks involved if they were to make payments to Global ATC.
CASE will monitor this closely and will not hesitate to take the necessary action provided for under CPFTA, which includes referring the matter to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) to protect the interests of consumers.
Consumers who have received demand for payment from Global ATC despite having formally terminated their memberships with ATC may approach CASE for assistance.
Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act
Under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (“CPFTA”), it is an unfair practice for suppliers to purport to assert a right to payment for the supply of unsolicited goods or services. It is also an unfair practice for suppliers to send to a consumer an invoice or document that seeks payment for unsolicited goods or services.
2015 Company Alert on ATC
In 2015, CASE alerted consumers of representations made by various employees or agents of ATC claiming to be able to recover monies paid for previous timeshare agreements from ATC. In the same alert, CASE reported that consumers of ATC may receive telephone calls from representatives of three other timeshare companies, Icon Solutions, International Timeshare Fund Action, and Realty Access, purporting to assist consumers to recover monies previously paid to ATC.
Consumers who have purchased or who are thinking of purchasing timeshare are advised to take note of the following:
- Timeshare contracts involve a substantial amount of money. Clarify the contractual obligations (i.e. contract value, subscription fees, early termination fees and other incidentals) before committing to an agreement.
Timeshare and timeshare-related contracts signed after 15 April 2009 are subject to a five-day cooling-off period under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) (Cancellation of Contracts) Regulations. The five days excludes Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays. Consumers should receive a Consumer Information Notice and a Product Information Notice (PIN). Furthermore, timeshare companies are not allowed to collect any deposit or sign any agreement for payment during the five-day cooling-off period.
- If consumers wish to cancel the contract within the cooling-off period, they should complete the Notice of Cancellation, and send it back to the company by post, fax or in person.
- Consumers should also exercise caution when they encounter third-party companies and/or agents that purport to be authorised resellers and/or agents who can help to terminate or transfer their timeshare agreements. To date, CASE is not aware of any companies or agents that has successfully recovered monies paid for timeshare agreements. Whenever possible, consumers should verify such claims with the principal before entering into a transaction.
Consumers who receive invoices or letters of demand from Global ATC and are unsure of their options may approach CASE for assistance (hotline: 6100 0315, website: www.case.org.sg).