You just had a great day. You slept in, had a big breakfast, took a walk around the grounds and had a dip in the pool, maybe you even got in a round of golf. Then you realize that you must go to the resort’s ballroom for the dreaded meeting…the timeshare presentation.
They say that most timeshare buyers are first-timers, meaning they have never bought a timeshare before. These people are on a vacation “high” and have trouble thinking about the long-term effects of buying a timeshare. In addition, there is often a lengthy contract to read with perhaps unfamiliar language and oftentimes they get into a contract they later regret.
But for others, a timeshare fits with their lifestyle. I have some good friends who fall into this category, they use their time share every year and love it. However for many people the commitment outweighs the benefits of timeshare ownership. If this is the case and you are looking to sell your timeshare, be alert, because unfortunately there are many unscrupulous people waiting to take advantage of your eagerness to get out.
Here is one example of how a timeshare resale scam works:
• You own a timeshare and want to sell it.
• You receive an unsolicited call from a seemingly legitimate company offering to help you. These sophisticated scammers often pose as real estate brokers who say they are representing a buyer interested in the location, dates, and type of timeshare you have. They often use real licensed businesses and sometimes go as far as writing positive fake reviews of themselves on social media.
• But here’s the catch, they tell you that you need to pay for something upfront.
• Some recent scams regarding timeshares outside on the US involve the sellers wiring money to “pay taxes” and then “pay additional taxes” or “wire money for escrow.”
• At some point you realize that the money you thought you were receiving never arrives and you are out the money you wired.
• Sometimes an additional scam is added to the first. Once you have been scammed, a second business contacts you offering to help you get your money back. But there is always a fee and once you pay, you never hear from them and you are out that money too.
• Some savvy scammers have even gone as far as posing as a foreign government officials available to assist you after your timeshare fraud, but they always want some sort of payment.
The timeshare industry is fighting back to protect the owner. For more information, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov. If you feel you have been taken advantage of by a timeshare exit company, please contact your state Attorney General, local law enforcement or the ARDA-ROC consumer support team at 1-855-939-1515.