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

Is Now a Good Time to Buy Timeshare?

If you are considering buying a timeshare, you might be wondering if now is a good time to do so. There are several factors to take into account when making this decision. The timeshare development industry has been growing steadily since the 2008 recession, according to annual studies conducted by the American Resort Development Association, with larger, healthier companies consolidating and expanding their inventories. This modest growth trend is likely to continue in 2017, unless an unexpected economic crisis or political event changes things. Rapid growth of the market, however, is hindered by factors such as low resale value, stringent government regulations, and uncertainty of the future.

buy timeshareAccording to Timesharing Today, there are several transitions in progress that will affect current and prospective timeshare owners. Maintenance fees, for example, are expected to increase between 2-5% on average this year as HOA boards attempt to offset increasing delinquencies with the need to renovate older units and onsite amenities at legacy resorts. The secondary market will likely continue to struggle as many original timeshare owners begin to age out of their timeshare travel and resale inventory outnumbers demand. While timeshares were a popular vacation option for baby boomers and the generation before them, it seems as though millennials are not as enthralled with the idea. Younger generations are tending to prefer short, spontaneous vacations as opposed to week-long stays at one resort, and are especially cautious of lifelong purchase contracts. It remains unclear how the millennial generation will react to and impact the timeshare industry as they age.

Another wild card factor for the future of the timeshare industry is the trajectory of President Trump’s time in office. During his campaign, the Republican Party adopted a platform that included a promise to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which investigates complaints about financial credit and loan programs that may defraud consumers. It is currently investigating numerous industries and at least one timeshare company, Westgate Resorts, for their practice of financing owners’ timeshare purchases. Again, Trump’s regulatory reform policies remain unclear.

So, while there are some uncertainties that lie ahead regarding the industry as a whole, it still may be a good time to purchase. You can be confident that at this moment in time, the timeshare industry is growing steadily and relatively healthy. Be sure, however, to ask yourself these questions and do your research before moving forward. Make sure you are ready for the large time and financial commitment that comes with timeshare ownership. And also be aware that once you own a timeshare, it can be very difficult to get rid of, as the struggling resale market suggests.

Vida Vacations Timeshare Experience

We received the following submission from one of our users about their experience purchasing a timeshare with Vida Vacations in Mexico:

timeshare experience“We went to a timeshare presentation at the Riviera Maya in Nov. 2015. It was the worst thing we could of done. Sadly we were scammed. In the sales presentation we asked many questions, and some questions various times. Every question or doubt we had regarding the contract was put to ease by the 2 sales persons who dealt with us. We have tried contacting them at many different numbers and sent them letters. We have been promised that our calls will be returned but they are not. They will not cancel the purchase or contract and they will not even bother to speak to us and find a resolution.

We found 170 complaints on one website against this merchant and their timeshare sales such as the one we bought. I also found dozens of complaints at other complaints boards, at the better business bureau and dozens of other sites online. If you search online Vida Vacations or Vacation Privileges or Mayan resorts you will see endless lists of customers who like us were lied to and scammed.

DO NOT VISIT THIS RESORT OR GO TO THEIR TIMESHARE PRESENTATION NO MATTER WHAT IS OFFERED TO YOU. DO NOT BUY FROM THESE THIEVES.”

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