Timeshare resale scams are some of the hardest things to look out for. After all, fraudulent companies will prey on your desperation. They exploit your sense of helplessness until you are willing to do anything they say.
What follows is a list of the 4 most common timeshare resale scams that fool most people. We’ll also tell you how to avoid each one.
- Imposter Companies: These companies run rampant throughout the Internet, so be warned. They carefully craft websites to look as legitimate as possible as a means of getting you through the door. Once they’ve got you speaking to a “specialist” they will pressure you into paying upfront for their services. In reality these men and women do not hold any certifications that allow them to sell timeshares.
- What You Can Do About It: Research the company before making any deals. If they’re legitimate they won’t mind you looking into their credentials. They will provide you with a number you can call when and if you decide to work with them. As an added layer of protection, do not work with any company operating under a 1-900 number. Legitimate companies use 1-800 numbers, always.
- “Take A Week” Companies: These are clever scammers indeed. They will often meet face-to-face with owners at a hotel in the area. They will put on a seemingly legitimate presentation where they promise to sell timeshares for the owners at a better price than they could normally manage on their own. They ask for a service fee from several hundred – several thousands of dollars to transfer the deed to the company. They will list the property on sites for bottom dollar, take the profit from the sale and service fee, and never actually transfer your deed. You’re left with no money and you still own the timeshare. When you try to reach the company they will have vanished.
- What You Can Do About It: Simply put, never meet with some one you haven’t researched thoroughly and contacted on your own. If an organization contacts you, even if they want to meet in person, they are most certainly out for your money/personal information.
- Cold Call Companies: These scammers will only deal over the phone, and the number they give you will never work. They create a single line of communication that only flows one way, and they will pressure you into paying them an upfront fee in order to sell to a buyer they have waiting on the other line. However, there never is any buyer. These people will take your money/personal information, promise to call you back that same day, and you’ll never hear from them again.
- What You Can Do About It: As mentioned above, if a company contacts you (especially if they pressure you to pay them on the stop) do not deal with them. If you had wanted their services, you would have researched them and called them up.
- Upfront Fees: The common link between all of these scams is that they all ask for upfront fees in exchange for their services. Any company or person who promises to help get rid of a timeshare for you at a cost to be paid before the deal is done… they won’t work for you. Even companies that legitimately list your property for an upfront fee will stop pushing to advertise your listing once they have your money.
- What You Can Do About It: Never, never pay an upfront fee to any company. Any legitimate resale company will offer free consultations at the very least, and they will always agree to getting paid upon the closing of your deal.