Timeshare Resale Scams – T.F.T.I.

Tales from the Inside

We’ve talked about timeshares and the many reasons not to get involved with them. We’ve covered the sleazy tactics many salespeople use to reel you in during the presentation. We’ve even discussed the most common myths of the Timeshare industry. It’s no secret I am not a big fan of Timeshares or of shady salespeople. As much disdain I have for the industry, there is one industry that I believe I am even more upset by…

Timeshare resale scams.

The whole idea is a wonderful concept, and one that us much needed. With so many people regretting their timeshare purchase and wanting desperately to get rid of them, the service could really benefit a lot of people. There are many companies providing the service, and while they all offer their own individual results, the most common is the quick and easy sale of the property to another private party.

While the concept was developed with good intention, it wasn’t long until the scammers jumped on the bandwagon and saw this as a great opportunity to take money from innocent people. Not only are we talking about the typical scammers we are all used to (were you aware the warranty on your vehicle is expiring!), but seasoned timeshare reps all over saw the opportunity to make a quick buck as well. That’s right, the timeshare reps that were responsible for tricking so many of these people into ownership in the first place, was now going to represent them and help bring them justice.

I’m sure you can all see where this is going…

Fast forward a few years later, the industry may be more dangerous to consumers than the timeshare industry itself. Most people end up paying fees of several thousand dollars with the promise of results, only to be strung along and ultimately realize they are no closer to getting rid of their property than they were to begin with. I have personally heard stories of people investing over $15,000 into a timeshare resale scam.

Here are a few red flags that you should be cautious of, based on the information provided by Consumer Reports.

Resale Scam Warning Signs:

Watch out for up-front fees.
Generally, fees are paid at the conclusion of the service, or are taken out of the settlement.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Most scams will come with the guarantee of a quick sale. If you have tried to get rid of your property yourself already, you know that nobody can guarantee a quick sale.

Don’t wire money, pay in cash, or send a money order, certified bank or cashier’s check.
These methods are extremely difficult for law enforcement to track. It will basically be lost. Stick with personal checks or wireless transfers.

Do your research.
Don’t be so quick to assume that the company has a nice website and social media pages that they must be legit. Contact your State Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the reseller is located. Don’t forget to check the Better Business Bureau as well.

Check with your resort.
Check to see if your resort has any restrictions, fees or limitations that would contradict what the resale team has been telling you.

Demand everything in writing.
Every promise, request and payment proposal. Be sure to have an attorney available to review the documents as well.

While there are honest companies out there providing this service, it seems there are more scammers looking to take advantage of someone. If you do find yourself negotiating with a timeshare resale company, just be sure to watch for these warning signs and protect yourself.

– D

4 Myths of Timeshare to Know Before You Buy – T.F.T.I

Learn about the most common myths in the timeshare industry

Tales from the Inside

Timeshare organizations are still booming and total sales have increased for an eighth straight year, and the amount of unhappy consumers posting in forums has risen right along with it. If you are considering purchasing a timeshare for nearly any reason other than doing lots of research and believing it will truly compliment your vacation habits, you are making a mistake. Doing your due diligence and understanding how the program works and what people that use it are saying about it is key in the purchase process.

Below are the 4 leading myths that convince people to purchase a timeshare property. Understanding the truth behind these myths could stop you from making a decision that could haunt you the rest of your life.

Myth #1: Timeshares are a Good Investment

If you fell for this one, don’t feel too badly. Lots of people have made the same mistake. The Sales Rep is making some convincing points about reselling or renting your property… you’re imagining yourself taking some great vacations AND making some money in the long run… it sounds like an easy decision. Then the years go by and you realize the dream you were sold was more of a nightmare.

Timeshare properties shouldn’t be purchased with hopes of financial profit. You are stuck with the maintenance fees whether you use the property or not and they are hard enough to give away for free, let alone sell for a profit.

Myth #2: Timeshares are Easy to Trade

In timeshares early days, you only had the option to go to the property you purchased. How boring. Since then, companies like RCI and Interval International have partnered with resorts to allow owners to exchange their properties with one-another. Great, so you should just be able to pop in and trade for where you want to go pretty easily, right? Wrong. You have to deal with requests, trade values, fees, and still may get denied for multiple locations before you end up having to settle for something available.

Myth #3: Timeshare Owners are Top Priority

Most owners are under the impression that they are considered first priority after purchasing. They get the best rooms, the best services, and the best perks. While most owners do enjoy several perks and benefits of their ownership, they are also shuffled down the line behind potential new owners and people that haven’t stayed at the property before. These are the type of people they are looking to impress, the ones who’s money they haven’t gotten yet. Who do you think they will try to take car of more, the people who already own, or the people who are signed up for their sales presentation tomorrow morning?

I have seen this in person. Owners will be booked in mediocre units while a portion of the top shelf units are saved for those attending presentations.

Myth #4: Traveling with Timeshare is Cheaper

Timeshare is represented as a way to increase the quality and ease planning your vacations, while saving money in the long run. It sounds like as wonderful concept, but unfortunately isn’t typically the case. Some people can take advantage of deals and excess inventory to get some great deals, but most people cant wait until 30 days before their trip to start planning. The typical timeshare traveler is paying $1,000+ for the timeshare ownership, $800+ in annual maintenance fees, plus additional fees for trading and memberships within RCI and Interval.

When you add up all of the associated costs, it usually would’ve been cheaper (and easier) to just book the trip yourself.

Conclusion: Timeshare Doesn’t Work for Most People

This probably isn’t breaking news to anyone, but with so many people still making purchases based on misinformation, it’s worth pointing out. The initial and ongoing costs, limited tradability and availability, along with the significant difficulty in reselling make Timeshares a bad idea for the vast majority of people.

-D

Do you have a question you’d like me to answer? Awesome! Just leave your question in the comments and I will answer a different question at the end of every blog, or may choose to focus a whole blog on your topic!

5 Signs Your Timeshare Rep is Lying to You – TFTI

Tales from the Inside

In  my first blog, I spoke briefly about the fact that all Timeshare Reps were not bad people. I stand by that. However, I also have to acknowledge the fact that there is a large portion of representatives that are quite sleazy. The ones who will say anything to take your dollar.

These are the terrible peop… I mean Timeshare Reps we will be talking about in this blog.The following 5 tactics are red flags that you’re sitting with a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

They Tell You You are Required to Hear the Presentation

  • This one starts at the beginning. When you are checking into your property and are confronted by the concierge. Listen closely. There is no such thing as an owners update. I know. They make it seem so official and mandatory. They tell you about the potential equity you would be giving up by skipping the presentation. They tell you anything they can think of to make you stay. At the end of the day, you are doing it for the gift card. The only thing they want is to sell you anymore timeshare by any means necessary.

They Try to Scare You with Losing Equity or Benefits

  • This is kind of a continuation from the last point. There is no such thing as owner equity or signing off on benefits if you don’t purchase something on your presentation. This is the most obvious scare tactic used. I promise you, there is nothing they would sell you then that they wouldn’t sell you if you called them next month ready to buy.

You are Required to Run Your Credit on the Tour

  • This is a big one. It may be hard to believe that reps say this, or even harder to believe that people fall for this, but it absolutely happens. Running your credit means they can officially qualify you for financing and gets them one step closer to the sale. NEVER give authorization to run credit unless you are truly comfortable with considering a purchase.

The Lowest Package Can Get You to Hawaii

  • Nope. Not even a little bit. People who have owned timeshare for some time and tried to get into Hawaii understand how bold of a lie this is. While it is true that someone with a high enough level of ownership can get some prime weeks in Hawaii, that owner most likely isn’t going to be you. I would estimate that most timeshare reps inflate their packages capabilities by 4x what they will ever produce.

They Try to Convince You to Put the Purchase on an Exclusive Credit Card

  • This is another pretty unsettling tactic. Not the fact that they are asking you to finance the purchase, but the fact that they are selling you on a turd painted. While I cant be familiar with all of the credit cards offered in all of the timeshare offices all over the world, I can be confident in my belief that the terms and benefits are being lied about by untrustworthy reps. Interest rates, point plans, maintenance fee payment options…. The list goes on. While these are offered on typical cards, the ease of reaching their true benefits is greatly exaggerated and unrealistic.

There are other warning signs that can tip you off to a trickster, but those were the most common. Any of these situations should make your “spidey senses“ tingle. You can leave your presentation at any time regardless of what they say. If you really wanna tough it out for the gift they offered you, go for it. Just wait until your required time mark and firmly ask for your gift and carry on with your vacation.

-D

Do you have a question you’d like me to answer? Awesome! Just leave your question in the comments and I will answer a different question at the end of every blog, or may choose to focus a whole blog on your topic!