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It is difficult to know which company to trust in the timeshare industry, but there are certain red flags that can help you avoid becoming a victim of timeshare fraud. Most frequently, timeshare scams occur through unethical resale companies, but they can also be conducted by other parties. If you are wishing to advertise your timeshare for sale, be sure to choose a reputable company that provides you with realistic answers to your questions. Trust your personal judgment. And remember: if something seems too good to be true … it probably is.
Timeshare Resale Scams
When working with a timeshare resale company be aware of false promises and misleading information. Companies that promise a deadline to sell your timeshare or say that it is “hot” and will sell very quickly are likely not being honest. There is no way to determine if your timeshare will sell and how long it will take. Sometimes, they will even provide false contracts and tax forms. They may even provide “credentials” to fake title and bank companies.
Timeshare Scams – Your Buyer is (Not) Waiting
One of the most common timeshare scams involves salespeople that promise you they have a buyer waiting to purchase your timeshare; all you have to do is pay a (usually) exorbitant fee for their services. Although it is common for reputable timeshare companies to use telesales to conduct business, if a company you have never contacted approaches you to purchase your timeshare and then requests a payment from you to start the process, be very wary of timeshare fraud. Unless you are advertising your timeshare for sale, this company has no way of knowing the specifics of what you own.
How to Avoid a Timeshare Scam
Never use a form of payment that cannot be traced.
A major red flag that an organization is attempting timeshare fraud (or any type of fraud) is when they request that you make a payment through an untraceable source. What is an untraceable money transfer? Money orders, wire transfers, and money packs are all examples of payment sources that cannot be traced and might be indications of a timeshare scam. By using these forms of payment you or an attorney will have great difficulty, if it is even possible, finding out where the funds are deposited or who received the funds. These types of payments are also very difficult (or impossible) to be refunded if you decide to cancel a timeshare contract. Even if you sign a contract that states they are willing to refund a timeshare cancellation, using an untraceable payment will give no way for a timeshare attorney or court to retrieve the funds. When making a payment, we recommend that you avoid using any of these methods. Use a credit card when at all possible. This way the credit card company can trace where the money is deposited and your card agreement will provide consumer protections.
Do not make a payment without signing a contract.
If a timeshare company requests that you make a payment without reviewing and signing a contract, this may also be a sign of a timeshare scam company. It is extremely important to read any contract or terms that you are agreeing to, especially if you are submitting a payment to that company. It is always best to also have an attorney review any contract before you sign, especially when it comes to a timeshare company.
Read the fine print on “Money Back Guarantees “.
If a timeshare resale or advertising company offers a money back guarantee, be sure to learn what is required before you make a commitment. Some companies may offer a refund or partial refund for select services, but not all. There may also be a time limit on this refund period depending on the service. The details of this promised refund must also be included in the contract. Be sure to have a timeshare lawyer review this to confirm that the offer is not contradicted anywhere else in the contract and that the information includes everything that the salesperson offered you. If a timeshare resale company claims they offer a refund and then refuses or ignores your request to fulfill that offer, that is when you may want to file a complaint with your attorney general as an unfair and deceptive trade practice.
Check out our blog for more useful information regarding timeshare scams and the latest industry news.
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