For some time now the Better Business Bureau has been trying to warn people about the dangers that timeshare scams can present. However, timeshare scams of all types – including sales scams, resale scams, and recovery scams – have been on a steady rise and now the BBB is trying harder than ever to educated buyers and owners of the dangers this industry can hold.
Timeshare sales scams, in which fraudulent companies offer timeshares for sale, have been around for a long time. Usually, the scammer offer a property for sale but require the buyer to pay what they consider to be closing costs or taxes before any contrast have been drafted and often disappear with several thousands of dollars of the victims money. Since these scams became so well-known and timeshare buyers became more wary of these situations, the scammers had to find another way to steal money from people. They then began targeting owners who had already been scammed, often by their own company, offering to help recover money lost in the original scam (for a hefty upfront fee, of course) only to once again pocket the money.
State legislatures, most recently in Florida, have begun drafting and passing laws that help protect timeshare owners and expose scams by requiring resale companies to disclose the terms of their agreement before a contract is signed, as well as provide contact information for any buyers they claim to have lined up for a property. It is a great sign that authorities are beginning to take the threat of timeshare fraud seriously, but for thousands of unfortunate owners it is too late.
However, despite the strides local governments and agencies like the BBB are taking to inform and protect timeshare owners, the only real way to avoid timeshare resale scams is to do your research and work with reputable companies to get rid of your timeshare, and never pay upfront fees in excess of $100 no matter what the company tells you.