We live in an age of increasing globalization, which poses both benefits and challenges to the American consumer.
On the one hand, we’ve never had more choice when it comes to where and how we spend our money; we have more access to the very best that the whole world has offer than ever before in history. On the flip side of the coin, that also means that the darkest parts of the global economy also have broader reach than ever – which increases the risk of falling victim to a scam or fraud.
This is particularly true for timeshare owners, many of whom fall victim to resale or redemption scams that cross international lines each and every year. Today, though, there is a new channel available for everyday people seeking justice from consumer challenges that cross national borders: the newly updated International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) website.
Launched by the FTC in partnership with consumer protection agencies from more than 60 countries, the new ICPEN website – available here – is intended to help member states “identify and respond to consumer challenges that cross international borders,” according to a release published by the National Law Review.
In addition, the website will act as a resource, providing:
“…new tools and a secure venue for law enforcement bodies around the world to access and share intelligence and consumer data concerning fraudulent practices. It also gives information to consumers about how to shop safely online and what to do to resolve disputes with international vendors.”
If a consumer feels that they have fallen victim to international fraud, they can also use a related website, econsumer.gov, to file a complaint. Available in English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish, and Turkish, this tool allows consumer protection agencies from around the world to share data from complaints, allowing them “to track emerging scams and detect patterns of fraud” worldwide.
As the National Law Review helps make clear, this unified international front, while far from perfect, is an important step forward, one that “should prove helpful to both consumers and to businesses interested in supporting strong, basic consumer protection standards worldwide.”
Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns.