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How To Spot A Timeshare Scam

Ways To tell Whether or Not a Vacation is Actually a Timeshare Scam

The warm wind blows through your hair as you gently swing back and forth in a hammock gazing up at the palm trees, a level of peace has come over you as the cares from your everyday life drip off your shoulders in the warm Caribbean breeze…. And then it happens: “Hello lady, come for a free lunch and presentation, all of this could be yours with ownership”. Or some type of introduction such as this breaks you away from your vacation as you realize that you have just been invited to become a VIP owner at a Wyndham resort.

Every story is different, but the essence remains the same. Timeshare sellers will often capitalize on the emotional glee you feel during a vacation to try to rope you into buying a piece of this feeling every year. Likely, you will be invited to a presentation that offers free gifts in exchange for your attendance. 

Have you been offered a ‘free’ vacation and are unsure whether it is actually a timeshare scam? How can you tell the difference? Unfortunately, it is unlikely that you will be offered a ‘free’ vacation, and by virtue of this fact, if you have 

been offered one, most likely it is a scam. 

A timeshare sale is a much easier pitch once you are already enjoying your vacation and in that emotional mindset, so be aware of anyone who offers you a ‘free’ vacation.

So, with so many dissatisfied timeshare owners, how can you spot a scam? Clearly, most owners are not all naive, so there must be a subtle way that sellers creep into the minds of vacationers the world over.

The good news is that more people understand the tactics involved in timeshare sale scams today than ever, including legal authorities, however if you can be mindful of the seven primary tips, this may help you avoid a timeshare scam and huge financial loss. 

Top Five Red Flags To Keep In Mind To Avoid A Timeshare Vacation Scam

  • Your Signature Is Sacred:Do Not Sign Anything On The Spot
  • Seek External Legal Aid: Read The Fine Print
  • Avoid Anyone Who Is Pushy 
  • Do Not Put Any Money Down Without  Taking Time To Review The Paperwork
  • Avoid The Presentation: Do Not Accept Gifts (including a ‘free’ Vacation)

Your Signature Is Sacred: Do Not Sign Anything On The Spot

The number one guiding principle to avoid a timeshare scam is to remember that your signature is sacred. While on vacation it can be easy to get wrapped up in the glamour and idea that you too could be part owner of the fabulous resort where you are staying. 

Timeshare sales people will try to capitalize on your emotional state to try to get you to sign paperwork quickly and on the spot. Remember you are allowed to take time to read a contract, request a second pair of eyes on the document, and bring the paperwork home with you so that you can look at it within the privacy of your own space. 

Your signature is binding, but if you refuse to sign anything then you remain a free agent. Above all else do not sign anything regardless of how inconsequential it may seem. 

This includes being offered a ‘free’ vacation, remembering to step away from the situation before signing anything, and remember that rare is the day a stranger will offer a ‘free’ larger ticket gift.

Seek External Legal Aid: Read The Fine Print

Remember that all timeshare exchanges are in fact real estate transactions. Just as you would with purchasing any property you will want to be sure that you have legal assistance to go over the details. 

You are entitled to bring all contracts to your lawyer, or a secondary pair of eyes that are nonpartisan. Any timeshare salesperson who would limit you from doing so ought to be avoided. 

Have your legal team take a look at all paperwork before putting down any money or signing any documents.

 Avoid Anyone Who Is Pushy About Purchase

The sales tactics of timeshare sellers can be intense, to say the least. Any reasonable person who does not have a hidden agenda will not continue to dominate your time and continue to push for a sale. 

The moment you realize that someone is pushing too hard for you to stay and listen while they talk over you, or try to convince you to sign when your gut is telling you to wait is a major red flag.

Despite the socially awkward experience you can always put your foot down and excuse yourself from a situation. Particularly when you are on vacation, the last thing you want is to have an entire day tied up in a pushy sales pitch. So, if you are uncomfortable just walk away, even if it feels rude.

Do Not Put Any Money Down With Taking Time To Review The Paperwork

This may seem obvious, but if you are caught up in the moment during a timeshare presentation while you are on vacation, then it can be easy to forget, but please do not part with any money for timeshare until you have had time to think things over. 

Pause, and then pause again, you are entitled to get a second legal opinion, and wait before putting any money down. 

The reality is that the timeshare resale market is almost impossible and ultimately it is unlikely that you benefit at all from purchasing a timeshare, so be sure to keep your pocket book closed and do not part with any money. 

Avoid The Presentation: Do Not Accept Gifts

If possible, avoid the presentation altogether. While on a resort vacation it is fairly common to be invited to a timeshare presentation, often you will be offered free gifts such as snorkeling gear or lessons, a free meal, or even a free trip. Politely decline and do not engage. 

Once you have accepted a ‘gift’, this becomes leverage for the sales person to continue to monopolize your time and energy. If, however, no exchange of gifts takes place, it is much easier to politely excuse yourself. 

In general avoid the allure of a ‘free’ gift and opt out entirely from the presentation to avoid a timeshare scam. 

If you have been offered a ‘free’ vacation from anyone other than family members or a friend, you can be confident that it is a timeshare scam. 

Pause, Reflect, and Seek a Second Opinion To Avoid Engaging In A Timeshare Scam

It may seem basic, but to avoid being manipulated into a timeshare purchase remember to pause, take some breaths, take time away from the sales pitch. If you are still interested, have the contract read by an outside legal professional who can offer you sound and honest advice. 

Timeshare scams happen all of the time, however there are five definite red flags to avoid, and remember you are allowed to create necessary distance between yourself and the sales pitch.

Timeshares are real estate exchanges so approach it as such and take as many precautions as you would before purchasing any other type of property.

If you have been offered a free vacation to an exotic resort destination, there is a very high chance this is a timeshare scam, and you should not accept the offer.

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