Timeshare scams are still in the news. They include involvement in both high-pressure timeshare sales presentations, and "assisting" owners in selling their timeshares. On June 3, 2010, Pennsylvania's Attorney General's office announced a settlement reached with a Florida-based timeshare company. This time it's Blue Green Corporation, which had complaints against it regarding the company’s alleged use of deceptive “contests,” misleading sales presentations, and improper contracts in the marketing and sale of timeshare vacation packages in Pennsylvania.
In May, 2010, Vermont's Attorney General's office litigated a case against a Nevada-based timeshare company, Apex Professionals, Inc., whose victims complained of exorbitant up-front fees for selling their timeshares. The timeshares were never sold, and the company allegedly absconded with the money.
The state with the highest number of consumer complaints and victims of timeshare scams is Florida. The Attorney General's office in this state continues to prosecute numerous timeshare companies that have attempted to operate illegally. In Orlando, Attorney Susan Budowski, a Child Advocate for Abused and Neglected Children, recently added Timeshare Advocacy to her law practice, after “…listening to the heartbreak and sadness of couples and individuals who agreed to a “sales presentation” and ended up timeshare owners, although they had no intention, plans and or even the financial-where-with-all to complete the transaction."
A stronger regulatory environment is being evaluated for the $77 billion timeshare industry in the Bahamas. David Gilbert, executive VP of leading timeshare company Interval International, explains, "We'd like to see laws in place that protect consumers… its very good for Caribbean countries to implement constructive legislation that is structured so that it protects the consumer.” Gilbert cited Jamaica as an example of a Caribbean country already implementing new timeshare laws.
Vermont's Attorney General Tom Corbett has these suggestions to help prevent consumers from becoming victims of a scam when looking at purchasing a timeshare: take your time; do your research; know the cancellation period; recognize that timeshares are not a real estate investment; consider the extra costs such as maintenance fees and taxes; beware of obvious scams - for example, if you are offered a prize as an incentive to attend a timeshare presentation, ask for details and watch out for hidden conditions and fine print; and finally, read - and understand - everything before you sign.
If you are thinking of selling your timeshare, the best advice is to go through a reputable company and pay no upfront fees. RedWeek.com has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, a comprehensive timeshare resource section to answer many of your questions, and easy video instructions on how to sell your timeshare.