The consumer Advocacy group the Better Business Bureau has issued a warning over the actions of a timeshare exit company.
An elderly couple from the U.S. had enjoyed their vacation timeshare in New Jersey for 14 years. But when the annual maintenance fees more than doubled to over $1,500 a year, they found themselves out of pocket and struggling to keep up with the payments.
They received a targeted flyer in the post to timeshare owners explaining how, if they attended a short presentation for a free lunch, they would be able to successfully get out of their timeshare and mounting maintenance fees.
They were offered a one time payment of $18,ooo to terminate the contract and desperate to end their timeshare obligations agreed to sign up there and then. But after six months of payments the company simply disappeared with the money and stopped returning their calls.
Michelle Corey of the Better Business Bureau said since 2016, timeshare owners in 46 states filed more than 700 complaints reporting millions of dollars in losses. “Timeshares were booming back in the 1970’s and 80’s and now these people are on fixed incomes and can’t afford them”.
When fraudsters target timeshare owners they usually claim to be a legal professional or a representative of a government agency (normally within the country where the original timeshare property was based) in order to appear legitimate.
How to spot a timeshare scam:
A cold-call informing you they have a buyer ready to purchase your timeshare, they may even offer you more than you paid for it. The chances of someone offering to buy your timeshare for more than you paid for it, is extremely unlikely.
They may claim the Mexican government is offering to reimburse victims of timeshare fraud, 100% untrue. They will ask you to transfer a few thousand to pay a tax to allow them to open a Mexican account in your name.
They will request funds to be transferred in ways that are difficult to trace, such as cashiers cheques and money orders.
The scammer will ask you to transfer funds into an Escrow account, this will be for transfer of deeds fee, none of the services they promise will occur and you will never see this money again.
People who enter into timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract.
There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.
It is also important to remember that purchasing a timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.
The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry. These type of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.
If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or simply want to end your agreement, get in touch with us today to see how we can help with a possible timeshare termination.