March 22, 2012

According to the FBI the amount of timeshare scams are on the rise.  Because of the economy many people are trying to sell their ownership in a timeshare property.

The scam goes like this. Fraudsters claiming to be with a timeshare resell company will contact the owner and convince them they can make a quick sale because they have buyers waiting for a property, sometimes on the other line or in the office.

These so called company representatives promise it will take only 60-90 days to complete the sale but they need a commitment from the owner on the spot. The owners who agree to the sell have to pay an upfront fee that could be upwards of a few thousand dollars. The fees are to cover supposed closing costs or advertising expenses.

Often the owners are targeted from their own for sale ads running on websites or in industry newspapers.

If you’re trying to sell your timeshare or are contacted to sell it be cautious. Always get everything in writing first and don’t let anyone pressure you into a decision. The Federal Trade Commission has made the following suggestions on how to avoid being scammed when selling your timeshare.

Tips For Avoiding The Scam

  • Don’t agree to anything on the phone or online until you’ve had a chance to check out the reseller (contact the Better Business Bureau, your state’s attorney general’s office, and/or local consumer protection agencies where the reseller is located).
  • Ask the salesperson for all information in writing.
  • Ask if the reseller’s agents are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located (verify this with the state’s real estate commission), and get references.
  • Ask how the reseller will advertise and promote the timeshare unit. Will you get progress reports? How often?
  • Ask about fees and timing. It’s preferable to do business with a reseller that takes its fee after the timeshare is sold, but if you must pay a fee in advance, get refund policies and promises in writing.
  • If you want an idea of the current value of the timeshare, consider using a licensed timeshare appraisal service.
  • Before you sign any sort of contract, make sure you get the details of its terms and conditions. It should include the services the reseller will perform; the fees, commissions, and other costs you must pay and when you must pay them; whether you can rent or sell the timeshare on your own at the same time the reseller is trying to sell your unit; the length or term of the contract to sell your timeshare; and who is responsible for documenting and closing the sale.
Source: Federal Trade Commission