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Saturday, November 2, 2013

How to avoid timeshare fraud

Timeshare costs rise higher with maintenance fees
Not all timeshare dealers are authentic resellers
By Karissa Scott

Due to a strong buyer’s market, fake advertising platforms have been very effective at scamming timeshare owners who are suffering from buyer’s remorse. The scams themselves are relatively easily distinguishable from a real advertising platform, but because so many timeshare owners didn’t grow up with the internet, a huge amount of people are still fooled by them every year.

It has gotten so bad that various state governments have issued consumer alerts and warnings.

How a timeshare scam works


A timeshare scam is fairly simple. Scammers create a website that looks pretty much the same as any other timeshare advertising platform, either to impersonate an existing company or just a straight up fake company. The timeshare seller shows up, pays a fee online, and expects to be listed and marketed by the company in return. The scammers in turn make no effort to market or list the timeshare, pocket the money, and live like kings.

Since Google actually does a fairly good job of filtering out known scam websites, scammers often rely on real world advertising and spam to reach potential victims.

They set up a bank account in Mexico and ask for payment up front. Then, once the money is wired, nothing can be done except to post a warning online that most people will not bother to look for before getting burned.

Spotting a scam directly


You can spot a timeshare scam on the website directly by looking specifically for what is not there. Any legitimate platform that requires up-front payments will offer you a written money back guarantee. Any website that asks you for money without a written guarantee of either results or your money back is a scam.

A legitimate sales platform also does not reward itself for failure. So any platform that asks for monthly payments to keep your listing up is unlikely to be a good choice.

A legitimate resale platform has guarantees. Look for a written money-backguarantee that your timeshare will sell. Make sure that the contract only requires one listing fee that has built in contingencies that prevent the middle man from profiting independently of you.

If a company, salesman, or website tells you they have a buyer lined up for your timeshare before you list it, you are dealing with a scam. Selling timeshares in the current real estate climate takes effort, and companies are not putting forward marketing money for a product they don’t know they have.

Identifying a scam through research


If you are looking to sell your timeshare, go to Google and search for a highly ranked resale platform. Then Google that company or URL and see what people are saying about it. Any companies will have a few complaints leveled against them, but scammers are often very easily identifiable with even minimal research as there is usually are usually many victims who have put up warnings in various forums.

Furthermore, the Better Business Bureau keeps a record of complaints and rates businesses. Don’t use a website or a company that is not listed, or has a bad rating.


About the author: Karissa is a marketer for Bay Tree Solutions, a timeshare reselling platform. She enjoys writing, cooking, and cuddling with her cats in her free time. 

Image license: Steve F., CC BY SA-2.0 

9 comments:

  1. Time shares can become a huge financial problem for those who have bought one, and don’t know what to do with it. Should they sell it, donate it, rent it or cancel the contract? The truth is that the cancellation of the contract has always been the best and most viable solution to get out of a timeshare legally. Therefore, it is very important to know the rules of timeshare cancellation to get the process done in a secure way.

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  2. Good points Maya. It's often helpful to be well informed of contractual terms and conditions to prevent being caught in a financial bind.

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  3. The truth is that Timeshare scams are increasing, and every day more victims fell for them. Fortunately, there are many solutions to get rid of an unwanted timeshare; however, the best way to dump a timeshare is by cancelling the contract. Timeshare cancellation has many advantages, but the most important is that once the contract is properly cancelled, there are no further responsibilities attached to the resort.

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  4. Buying a timeshare under the impresion you will save money on the long run on travel expenses such as airfare or cruises equals to being a victim of timeshare fraud. Timeshares will barely provide you a small discount on accomodations and that´s it. Timeshares will not provide you, in most cases, any discounts on your vacation expenses.

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  5. Thousands of International travelers, particularly from the US and Canada, have fallen victims oftimeshare fraud while vacationing. Resort developers hire skilled salesmen to represent their timeshares as many different attractive packages, such as financial investments, deeded properties, or vacation clubs, just to increase their sales.

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  6. The timeshare industry has been into the lion’s mouth for the last couple of years, and it has generated lots of controversy and discussions in many forums and blogs on the web. However, since we’re living an economic downturn, anyone would expect that the timeshare sales collapse, but instead of that the sales seem to be increasing… but this comes with a trap: timeshare scams are increasing too. That leads us to the question: then, why keep people investing on timeshares?

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. The timeshare industry has been into the lion’s mouth for the last couple of years, and it has generated lots of controversy and discussions in many forums and blogs on the web. However, since we’re living an economic downturn, anyone would expect that the timeshare sales collapse, but instead of that the sales seem to be increasing… but this comes with a trap: timeshare scams are increasing too. That leads us to the question: then, why keep people investing on timeshares?

    ReplyDelete