Your BBB has recently received several inquiries from consumers in regards to phone calls claiming the company calling can help sell their timeshare. The Internet Crime Complaint Center, the Federal Trade Commission, and your BBB are cautioning individuals receiving these phone calls not to act too quickly.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center sent out this statement early this year:
“Timeshare owners across the country are being scammed out of millions of dollars by unscrupulous companies that promise to sell or rent the unsuspecting victims’ timeshares. In the typical scam, timeshare owners receive unexpected or uninvited telephone calls or e-mails from criminals posing as sales representatives for a timeshare resale company. The representative promises a quick sale, often within 60-90 days. The sales representatives often use high-pressure sales tactics to add a sense of urgency to the deal. Some victims have reported that sales representatives pressured them by claiming there was a buyer waiting in the wings, either on the other line or even present in the office.
Timeshare owners who agree to sell are told that they must pay an upfront fee to cover anything from listing and advertising fees to closing costs. Many victims have provided credit cards to pay the fees ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Once the fee is paid, timeshare owners report that the company becomes evasive – calls go unanswered, numbers are disconnected, and websites are inaccessible.”
The Federal Trade Commission recently acted against a couple in Florida who were performing exactly the type of actions IC3 warned about. You can read more about the action here: http://ftc.gov/opa/2012/04/timeshare.shtm
IC3, the FTC and your BBB have the following tips for individuals looking to sell their timeshare:
2. Ask the person calling for all information in writing. It is best to read all terms and conditions of the contract before signing or committing to anything.
3. Check on licensing. Ask the company if they are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. If they say that they are license, check with the Real Estate Commission in that area.
4. Ask about fees and timing and get refund policies and promises in writing. Your BBB advises not to pay any upfront fees, but if the company requires one, ask about their refund policy and be sure to get everything promised you in writing.
5. Avoid wire transfers of money. Wired money is non-traceable. Once you have sent the money, it is gone.
6. Remember, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.