I have made it a point to advise all of the timeshare owners I talk with to make sure to educate themselves about all of the timeshare scams in operation today. Just by owning a timeshare, you are automatically a sitting duck to these unscrupulous criminals who see you as a meal ticket.
Why are there so many timeshare scams? Because people who buy timeshares typically will want to get out at one point or another. Most of them were sold on the idea that their timeshare is an “investment” that they can profit from in the future whenever they may need the money.
With that in mind, schemers and scammers devise plans to convince timeshare owners to part with even more of their money with the promise of making a profit at the end and get rid of their timeshare commitment.
So, what do I tell my timeshare owner friends to watch out for? These are the 7 signs they are about to be scammed.
1) You got a phone call out of the blue
If you get a phone call out of the blue from someone you’ve never heard of before, asking you if you want to sell or rent your timeshare , you are likely on some scammer’s sucker list. They may even have detailed information about your ownership, which could convince you that they are legit…don’t fall for it! There is a lot of timeshare ownership information that is easily available to the public, meaning anybody can find out where you own, what you own and even how long you’ve owned it. Don’t fall for it!
2) You got a invited to a seminar
Some timeshare scam artists go to great length to gather as many desperate timeshare owners as they can at once to make one quick, big score. They rent a room at a local hotel, send out postcards to “invite” you to a presentation (sound familiar?) to help you squeeze money out of your timeshare ownership through listing it for sale, renting it, donating it to charity, etc. These scammers already know you’re open to attending such presentations because that is likely the way you bought your timeshare in the first place. After they get your money, you’ll likely never hear from them again. They’ll disappear, change the name of their dog and pony show, and move on to the next town where they’ll clean out the pockets of another roomfull of unfortunate timeshare owners.
3) Anonymous buyer in the wings
Somebody (usually identifying themselves as some sort of real estate professional) contacts you with a hot buyer who is “very interested” in purchasing your timeshare. It’s like Pennies from Heaven! All you have to do is send the money for the “closing costs” and… you’ll never hear from anyone about it ever again.
4) They want money upfront to “list” your timeshare
For just $600, $800, $2500 or some other exorbitant amount of money, these scammers will happily “list” your timeshare for sale in a great place where virtually no one will buy it! Well, they won’t tell you that last part, but that’s the truth.
5) Online complaints
If you have the presence of mind to write down the name of the person and/or company that you’re considering to sell, donate or rent out your timeshare, take the time to pop it into a search engine…followed by the word “complaints”. You’ll likely find that if they’ve been running a scam, other victims will have posted in forums and complaint boards regarding their unfortunate experience.
6) Bad rating with BBB
Similar to #5, checking with the Better Business Bureau to find out if the company has been earning a bad reputation is one of the best ways to discover the truth. The BBB is still one of the most trusted sources of information about businesses and their reputations. It’s also one of the first places angry customers will go when they feel they’ve been duped or scammed.
7) Requires payment by money order or bank wire transfer
You don’t EVER want to deal with anyone who requires payment upfront in a form that immediately removes any chance that you could stop payment or protect yourself in the case that the promised service is not rendered. That’s a HUGE red flag that somebody is trying to separate you from your money quickly with no intention of making sure you are satisfied in the end. When you pay by credit card or personal check, you have built-in protections that can help you recoup your funds if the company doesn’t come through with what they promised, in this case timeshare cancellation, timeshare donation, or timeshare resale services. No matter what kind of pressure they put on you or how “time sensitive” the offer may be, don’t do it.
If you are desperate for a way out of your timeshare…legally, permanently and quickly…don’t waste time and money falling for every scheme and scam promising timeshare resale listings or mystery buyers waiting in the wings. Fill out the form on this page to find out if you qualify for the service that I found that cancels your timeshare contract and gets you out of timeshare obligations and maintenance fees forever.