It’s a little harder to get duped by a timeshare scam these days, but there are still plenty of people out there who hope to make you fall for one. Our goal here is to educate you before scammers and crooks have a chance to take advantage of your desire to buy, or even sell, a timeshare. We’ve come up with a list of five essential tips on how to avoid such scams.
- Avoid buying on the spot. Any company that pressures you into buying a timeshare on the spot is likely up to no good. Companies or Resorts (such as Disney) will gladly give you a number to their sales office if they can’t get you to buy then and there, but scam companies likely won’t take no for an answer.
- Avoid 900 numbers. Legitimate businesses always operate through 1-800 numbers. If you go into your search engine of choice and type in any number starting with “1-900”, you’re guaranteed to find endless complaints of identify theft, fraud, and so forth. So even if the company you’re dealing with sounds legitimate, if they give you a 900 number to call simply stop dealing with them immediately.
- Have an attorney review the contract. If you’re going to be bothered into signing a contract, at least make sure the company allows you to have an attorney review it before you give in and sign on the dotted line. A trained eye will be able to tell in a heartbeat whether or not a deal is legitimate, so don’t leave it up to chance. If the company won’t give you a copy for your attorney to examine, odds are they are crooks.
- Research the company. With the emergence of smart phones, this step has never been easier. While listening to the presentation do yourself a favor and do an internet search on the company. Pay attention to any testimonials you come across. Odds are if this company scammed some one before, the victim will have made a public complaint online. If you’re not at the presentation, and are speaking to a sales person over the phone, just use your home computer.
- Always read the fine print. This tip even applies to legitimate companies, but it’s especially important when you suspect the deal might be a scam. There might be hidden fees or other such traps in your contract, so be diligent when reading. Don’t skip a single word, especially if it’s in smaller font.
There are vultures everywhere, and they love to prey upon the easily fooled. The key is to stay informed, and to act upon that information. Keep the above tips in mind and never get duped again.