Summer Timeshare Travel Vacation Scams

Timeshare VacationWith the summer vacation season drawing closer it is important to watch out for false advertisements so you don’t end up losing your vacation savings. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission averages 15,000 consumer complaints each year that related to timeshare or vacation rental frauds. It is important to at least know the basics regarding these unscrupulous scammer plots so you can avoid becoming a victim this summer.

The major problem lately is often related to timeshare properties. In these high pressure sales pitches you are nearly forced into purchasing a timeshare, sometimes when you don’t even want to. Those who have the income and means to technically afford a timeshare are roped in with free gifts, dinner or show accommodations and sometimes even just straight cash. They offer you these “free” gifts in return for your promise to hear them out and learn about timeshares. Often these sales professionals will even lie to you and explain that a timeshare can easily be rented out to cover the costs of ownership. This just is not true, with so many timeshares out on the market today the fact is that you can rent a timeshare out from the resorts or timeshare companies for much cheaper than it costs to own one.

Most people are just not ready to attend a timeshare presentation sales pitch and still walk away with the free gift. These timeshare salespeople are dead set on making you buy a timeshare and will simply not take no for an answer.

As if the “legitimate” timeshare sellers weren’t bad enough there are also illegal scammers who will flat out lie to get a meager upfront fee leaving you with even less money. These misleading people will advertise vacation rentals or timeshares that don’t exist or that they don’t own and charge an upfront fee for their service, once you pay this fee you never hear from them again. They will also prey on current timeshare owners who just want to get rid of their timeshare. They will promise that they have a guaranteed buyer waiting and once you pay them an upfront fee for their service they will disappear leaving you with that unwanted timeshare and being the victim of yet another scam.

Check out the Better Business Bureau report on any company that you do business with.  Also, make sure that the company has been in business for a long period of time.  Fraudulent companies cannot survive for very long.

A BBB Warning of St. Louis Timeshare Firm “Property Experts Marketing”

In the St. Louis area the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has identified another fraudulent timeshare resale and rental company. The company is claiming to be located in downtown St. Louis at a building that is vacant and padlocked. The company is Property Experts Marketing and is one among many of the scammer established companies that claim to sell or rent your vacation timeshare in return for upfront fees. Unfortunately once they receive the upfront payment, which can be up to thousands of dollars, from a timeshare owner there is no other action taken to get the timeshare sold. Often times a buyer or renter is promised to be ready and waiting but the timeshare is still never sold.

One timeshare owner has reported being scammed for $6,300. Another unfortunate victim had reported a loss of over $45,000 in fees with no sale or compensation received. The BBB can only offer limited advice to owners looking to sell a timeshare. The best thing to do is research, make sure you are dealing with a legitimate business that is not just acting as a front for illegal scams. Upfront fees WITHOUT WRITTEN GUARANTEES are the first sign of trouble, any significant fee that reaches even into the hundreds of dollars you should be very wary about. Try to contact the company you are dealing with and get any references available and contact them to make sure it is legitimate.

Out of the BBB’s investigation of this specific timeshare resale company they have not found out much. A representative of Property Experts Marketing while talking to a BBB investigator said that the company does operate at a suite on the seventh floor, when asked to meet the representative explained that he was leaving at that very moment. The company representative, John Orozco, said that his companies legal department would handle the BBB complaint filed by a Texan timeshare owner and that someone from the legal department would contact the BBB to clear up any misunderstanding, there has been no response since from Property Experts Marketing.

China Provides Warning To Residents About Buying Timeshares

Timeshare Relief China Great WallIt seems as if timeshare companies are creating a stir in China and for Chinese citizens traveling abroad throughout the world.  We found an article from the China Daily that reports about an official from the Chaoyang district administration of industry and commerce and the attempts from their office to warn residents about timeshare scams.

Quoting the article:

“As many as 260 notice boards were set up in busy shopping malls like SOHO Shangdu and The Place, as well as in local communities in Chaoyang district to echo the administration’s month-long campaign to warn consumers about timeshare scams that was launched last weekend.”

A non-profit consumer watch group has received over 200 complaints this year about timeshare contracts in China.  Most of these complaints come from the larger cities in China.  Interestingly, as reported, court cases are difficult to win against the timeshare companies because Chinese law is not well-defined for such cases.

As we all know, there are going to be good and bad within the industry.  So many timeshare contracts are set up for timeshare owners to pay on a long term contract.  It’s enough that fraudulent companies need not enter the space to create more dissension and mistrust in the industry.

Timeshare Owner Thinks She Is Swapping Timeshares, Purchases Instead

A Louisville woman, Neva Shirley, thought that she was paying to upgrade and exchange her current timeshare for a new one.  Instead, she later realized that her initial $3000+ payment was not for the swap.  It was a downpayment on her new timeshare.  According to Ms. Shirley she was never told of the sale but did wonder why there was so much paperwork for an exchange.  After discovering what had happened, she tried to cancel the sale within the alloted 10 days for recission of the contract (according to local state laws).  The sales person disallowed such a transaction.  So, eventually Ms. Shirley had to call on a local television station WATE-6 and their consumer advocate, Don Dare for help.  For the video story, click here.