Timeshare Resale Scams 101: A Brief History
Timeshare resale scams have appeared on the horizon for several years now and have become more than a nuisance for many consumers who end up falling victim to expensive and fraudulent timeshare resale schemes, all the while thinking that they are receiving a legitimate timeshare resale service. At The Westgate Legacy Program, we’re committed to consumer awareness and education, even if you’re not a Westgate timeshare owner, which is why we’ve outlined some of the most common timeshare resale scams and scam techniques below, so you can know what to look out for:
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Common Timeshare Resale Scams
Transfer Companies/Relief Companies: This re-invention of a relatively old timeshare exit scam technique, is a new spin on an old method where the timeshare resale scammer will send out notices to owners of timeshare trying to bait them using fear and ‘scare tactics’ in their sales and marketing concerning their timeshare. Then, after a consumer makes contact, (and for a price that ranges from $3000 - $5000) the alleged reseller will claim to be able to execute a transfer of timeshare ownership out of the unwitting consumer’s possession. What happens next will typically follow several different variations of the resale scam. Most resale companies never do transfer the timeshare ownership, leaving the consumer high and dry. The companies that do make the attempt to transfer them, typically attempt to make the transfer into a useless ‘shell company’ which serves as a third-party closing entity, which then attempts to file for bankruptcy, leading to ongoing financial and legal issues with the resort, timeshare owners, and with potential hassles for the initial consumer as well, should an investigation ensue (which is increasingly likely in today’s vigilant and litigious climate).
Urgency or Price Inflation Promises: This sounds obvious, but if any salesperson or company makes promises that sound too good to be true,… you can be sure that they are. Some salespeople will use urgency as a tactic to inflate your hopes of reselling your timeshare, while others will make it appear as if your timeshare is worth more than you paid for it initially.
They Can Sell Your Timeshare Quickly: If someone promises to resell your timeshare within a certain (and short) timeframe, chance are you’re dealing with a resale scammer. The truth is that no one can know the listing-to-closing timeline of a timeshare sale, not even the most professional sales firms with robust lead generation funnels. If anyone says they can lock in a minimum price or they say that your timeshare unit will sell ‘for sure’ within a certain timeframe, this should be an immediate warning signal to stay away.
They Claim to Have a Buyer Now: Many timeshare resale companies will claim that they already have a buyer waiting for your timeshare in their prospecting funnel. First of all, it’s critical to understand that in the real estate selling and buying process, no agent, broker, or third-party entity can even begin to sell something that is not yet for sale, as there are certain ethical (and sometimes legal) problems with this proposed scenario. So if someone claims that they’ve already contacted or received contact from a buyer who wants to purchase your timeshare or a timeshare unit in the same market as yours), be skeptical. The next step in their ‘resale scam’ will usually be to ask you for upfront selling or listing fees, and you must remain vigilant and do your homework to understand what you’re really getting out of these costs. Typically you’ll find that the alleged verbal promises they’re backing, aren’t worth the time you’ve taken to research them.
Calling From a Government Office: Newer timeshare resale scams involve mysterious companies, usually calling from blocked or ‘spoofed’ phone numbers, and posing as a contact or official from your state’s Attorney General's Office. These resale scammers tell you that they are calling on behalf of the state or consumer division dedicated to Timeshare Consumer Advocacy or they may even claim to be with a subdivision or Bureau working with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They will offer compensation for any ‘fees’ lost to other timeshare resale scam companies or perhaps claim to be able to repatriate monies that have been paid in the past to the parent timeshare or vacation ownership company that the consumer originally purchased the timeshare from. This bold (but often successful) version of the scam charges anywhere from $500 to $6000 or more for "filing fees" or “processing costs” and then, after receiving payment, the scammer company simply vanishes and is never reachable again, after conning the consumer into thinking that their compensation is “in the mail” or on the way.
Protecting Yourself From Timeshare Resale Scams
These fraudulent timeshare “resale” companies have taken advantage of thousands of consumers. Don’t let it happen to you. The Westgate Legacy Program is here to help by providing awareness, consumer education, and support to Westgate timeshare owners to help avoid the trap of timeshare resale scammers. Westgate will never affiliate with any third-party resale representatives so remember that any company claiming to work with us, is NOT telling the truth. Remember that timeshare resale companies under investigation are being pursued legally for a reason,… mainly because of the countless fraudulent fees and profits they have conned consumers out of.
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