Timeshare Scams: Do You Have a Bullseye on Your Back?
The perils of timeshare ownership are growing daily. It seems that just by owning a timeshare, you are a target for timeshare scam artists…the likes of which multiply exponentially with each passing day. There are several reasons for this.
Timeshare Deed Information Availability
As the owner of a deeded property, your information is publicly available for anyone who knows how and where to access it. Call directories and mailing lists are compiled of everyone who owns a timeshare for the purpose of targeting those who would like to sell or rent their timeshares. Regardless of the fact that timeshares sell for pennies on the dollar in the current resale market, these scammers will call you and promise they can sell your timeshare for thousands of dollars. Some timeshare buyer scams will even tell you they have a hungry buyer on the other line waiting for your response!
This is, of course, nothing but a ruse to get you to hand over a few hundred or a few thousand dollars in closing costs, finder’s fees or some other made-up fee that they’ll definitely need you to pay in order to get to the next step, where you’ll get lots of money for selling your timeshare. Needless to say, these scammers will disappear with your money and you’ll never hear from anyone again about it. You’ll still be stuck with your timeshare and wondering where your money (and eager buyer) went.
You’ve already proven yourself susceptible to high-ticket promises with low returns. The timeshare industry is notorious for luring people with promises of big returns or amazing savings…even offering the proverbial “free lunch.”
As a timeshare owner, you’ve shown that you’re okay with making a big expenditure without doing much research, hoping things are as they seem and that the person selling to you is a decent, honest character who will come through on his or her promises. This makes you an ideal target for timeshare scammers. They see you as an easy mark with a fat wallet. Some fraudsters will even appeal to your philanthropic side by running a donate timeshare scam, telling you that if you pay them a fee of a few thousand dollars, they will “donate” your timeshare to a charity.
The structure of the typical timeshare contract shackled you into a lifetime ownership or even perpetual contract making your children/heirs liable to pay all future timeshare fees forever. You were probably told that they could resell the timeshare or rent it out easily and MAYBE even make some money off the deal. The state of the timeshare resale market was likely misrepresented to you at the time of purchase, or perhaps was not in the shambles that it is in today when you bought it.
Because you “knowingly” agreed to this when you signed the contract, there is little to no recourse. You may say, “But I DIDN’T know!” Sadly, most people start initialing and signing the stack of timeshare contract documents without even reading them. You get caught up in the momentum, the chatter and the excitement and just trust that everything the timeshare salesperson told you is reflected on the papers you are signing.
What most people do not realize is that timeshare salesmen are experts at what they do. Before every timeshare presentation these salesmen practice the tactics that they will be using on unsuspecting consumers. A classic line that you can look out for that most salesmen use is, “This timeshare offer is only good for today” or “I’m giving you a deal”. Both of these statements are false and are used to convince you to signing up faster. Be careful as to what you believe when sitting in on a timeshare presentation.
Another cause of timeshare desperation comes from greedy corporate “policy changes” and “unavailability” problems that often makes timeshare usage difficult to impossible. Many resorts require that timeshare owners make their reservations as much as a year in advance, and peak weeks are frequently not available for owner use. You may find yourself paying hundreds or thousands of dollars per year for something that you cannot even use!
Dodge the Timeshare Scammers Darts!
While timeshare scam arrests are up overall, there is no way for the law to catch up with all of these types of criminals. New timeshare scam companies are formed all the time, and disappear just as fast.
There are many timeshare scams FBI agents are shutting down, but there are even timeshare scam companies so brazen that they pose as government entities promising timeshare scam help to recover funds for timeshare owners who have already been victimized!
So, how can you avoid becoming yet another victim of timeshare scams and schemes?
- First, DO NOT attend any seminars, webinars, group dinners, or host timeshare “consultants” in your home for any types of presentations. This is a common way that timeshare broker scams work their way into your wallets.
- DO NOT entertain cold calls promising to sell your timeshare! Stop any unsolicited calls midsentence. Anyone who is calling you without you making first contact undoubtedly got your name from a list of timeshare owners bought or compiled for the sole purpose of trying to pry more money out of your hands.
- Ignore mailers! Postcards and direct mailers are another method that timeshare resale scammers use to lure their prey (you) into their web. Tear up those postcards and put them in the garbage where they belong. They will promise you the moon, but not even deliver a pebble.
This time, vow that you will NOT make a rash decision fueled by hope. Taken the time to do the proper research and find a company that has a proven track record and long list of happy clients who swear by their services. Check their rankings on the Better Business Bureau website. There you will see if they have had complaints posted against them. If they have, it’s a good indication that something is not right.
Sure, there may be difficulties and misunderstandings here and there when doing business, but if you see that people are complaining that they paid for something they never received or got no results that they were promised, you know it is not a reputable company worthy of your trust.
If a company tells you they are going to list, sell or rent your timeshare, know right away that there is no validity to their services. They are simply grabbing low-hanging fruit…appealing to timeshare owners who are either oblivious to the fact that their timeshares are worth next to nothing or simply are unwilling to believe the cold, hard truth.
Stop Being a Target! Get Rid of Your Timeshare the RIGHT Way!
The only reasonable, reliable way to get out of a timeshare contract is through Timeshare Redemption. This is the legal transfer of a timeshare contract out of your name and into the name of a legitimate company that is willing to take over the maintenance payments for the purpose of passing them on to travel clubs who then rent the rooms out to members. You can learn more about the timeshare redemption process at http://timeshareredemption.com.