How to Avoid Timeshare Resale Scams

By , Posted on Jun 20, 2013
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The Federal Trade Commission announced this month 191 actions to stop fraudulent operations hawking timeshare property resale services and travel prizes, including three FTC cases, 83 civil actions brought by 28 states, and 25 actions brought by law enforcement agencies in 10 other countries.  More than 184 individuals face criminal prosecution by U.S. Attorneys and local law enforcement. FTC

“They persuade owners to pay fat up-front fees…”

These timeshare con artists are taking advantage of owners of timeshares that are having financial difficulties.  “They persuade owners to pay fat up-front fees by saying they have someone ready to buy the property, but that’s a lie.” Says the Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. 

This should go without saying but never pay someone for a promise.  If the timeshare sales representative says that they have a buyer ready to buy your timeshare, make sure you get a contract.  Also, you should never have to pay an up-front fee to sell your timeshare, or any real estate for that matter.  Only pay after your unit is sold.

“We will continue to pursue scam artists who attempt to essentially steal from timeshare owners,” said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. During a press conference in Miami, Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida reiterated that sentiment stating that “We cannot allow our elderly and vulnerable real property owners to continue to be the target of fraud schemes,” “For that reason, our respective offices – federal and state, criminal and civil – have joined forces to combat Florida-based fraud schemes,”  

Victimizing timeshare unit owners across the country, these scammers find their easiest prey in the elderly or in financially distressed owners. With overwhelming debt of a financial crisis, timeshare owners looked to sell their units to help make ends meet or pay other bills.  Unfortunately all that happened was that they were defrauded out of more than $14 million in total.

How do you know if the reseller you are dealing with is a scam artist?  Well, the FTC has put together a great info graphic that shows you how the timeshare selling scam works.

 

What can you do to avoid being scammed when trying to sell your timeshare?  Below are a few steps to take to avoid being scammed:

– Do not pay any money up-front or before the sale closes!

– Do not agree to anything over the phone or online.

– Do not pay any money up-front or before the sale closes!

– Ask your sales person for all information in writing.

-Be sure to check out the reseller with the Better Business Bureau or the State Attorney General.

– Do not pay any money up-front or before the sale closes!

– Ask about fees and how long it will take to close, and get it all in writing.

– Do not pay any money up-front or before the sale closes!

Did I mention “Do not pay any money up-front or before the sale closes?” 

If you don’t give them any money, you can’t be scammed, plain and simple.

If you find yourself in dire financial straits, you would be well served to contact a debt management professional before doing anything.  It is possible that they can help you restructure your debt, take control of your finances and avoid the urgency you feel to sell your timeshare.

The professionals at DebtHelper.com can explain the benefits of a debt management program and provide you with a fresh start.

One of the biggest long-term benefits of the debt management plan is the reduction in interest. Reduced interest allows you to pay off your principal balances faster while saving you possibly thousands of dollars in finance charges.

In order to determine if you are eligible for a debt management program, you can fill out an online budget application form now and then you can contact one of their Certified Personal Finance Counselors© at (800) 920-2262.

DebtHelper.com can currently accept clients from the states listed here. DebtHelper.com is licensed, insured and complies with all state licensing requirements to ensure mandated regulations are followed. They are diligently working on becoming licensed in every state and are opening new states monthly.

Please call (800) 920-2262 if you have any questions. DebtHelper.com’s consultations are free, call them any time.

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