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Timeshare Resale Scams
Timeshare Resale Scams
on April 22, 2012
If you own a timeshare, you probably want to know about the recent timeshare resale scams that have arose in the last few years, especially if you are considering selling your time share. Third parties have begun illegally utilizing the names of well-known resort real estate companies (i.e. Condo Express, Inc.) to contact timeshare owners about selling their properties, but since these third parties do not possess the requisite credentials to handle such a complex transaction, working with them often amounts to a massive headache and lost money for the timeshare owners.
There are many versions of this scam; in some cases the owners have been alerted by the third party, posing as the legit company, that their property has very little value and will only continue to depreciate or that its value has increased tremendously and it is now worth much more than they originally paid for it. They then tell the owners that they can help them sell the property and relieve them of the expenses related to its upkeep, or make a profit from their property’s higher value, but at a small fee of course. Unfortunately, once these owners paid the “company” for their assistance selling their property, the property was never sold and additionally the resort was not alerted of the owner’s decision to let go of the property. Thus, their names remained on the resort records as the owners of a property, and they continued to be charged maintenance fees for the property.
In a different variation, some timeshare owners that were attempting to sell their properties sought online assistance. They found websites that offered advertisement for their properties, for a slight fee of course, and assumed that this fee would also include assistance negotiating a sale when a potential buyer showed up. Unfortunately, such sites are extremely misleading; they are only licensed to advertise properties, so once potential buyers started to notice the property, the timeshare owners still needed to hire a professional broker to negotiate with the buyers and close the deal. Basically, these owners had been tricked into purchasing some very expensive advertising.
In one other common scam, timeshare owners received phones calls, or letters, stating that the companies had been contacted by a potential buyer for their property, but in order to close the deal they needed the owners to pay so they could conduct a title search to transfer the property to the new owner. Once the owners paid this fee, the company that contacted them closed up shop and never sold the property.
These examples point out some very important things to note if you are considering selling your timeshare. First, it is highly unlikely that the value of your timeshare will increase…ever, so if you receive messages stating that it has, you should immediately be put on guard. Secondly, you will never be required to pay anything until your deal closes, and know which fees you are truly expected to cover (the title search fee is one that the potential buyer typically pays for instance). Finally, be inquisitive and trust your instincts. Is the company offering their services for a significantly lower price than most other realtors? Does the company have a business address and other contact information? When you try to call them, do you ever interact with a live person? If something does not seem right call regulatory authorities such as the FTC and contact your resort to see what their explanation is, because taking these precautions just may save you thousands of dollars.
. TimeshareProfessionals.com, 2009. Web. 21 Apr. 2012
Warning about Timeshare Resale Scam Companies
. Condo Express, Inc. Timeshare Property Specialists,
29 Sep. 2008. Web. 21 Apr. 2012 <http://www.timesharelink.com/timeshare-scams.asp>.
Court Shuts Down Timeshare Resale Scam, Alleging Fraud
. Aol Money and
Finance, 1 Apr. 2011. Web. 21 Apr. 2012 <http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/04/01/court-shuts-down-timeshare-resale-scam-alleging-fraud/>.
Image adapted from original by Felipe Frade
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