We hear more and more about unscrupulous businesses who prey on timeshare owners desperate to sell their timeshare. A sympathetic person calls and says they can take care of all of your worries today – they just happen to have someone who is ready to buy your timeshare. Isn’t that great news? And all you have to do is send the money to cover the closing costs, and you are out from under your timeshare albatross.
You gratefully fork over the several thousand dollars the business requests – and you never hear from them again. And you join the thousands of other timeshare resale scam victims across the country.
Enter the new scam. Now you are called by another sympathetic person who says they know just how you feel having been duped and losing thousands of dollars. No worries, says your caller, we can recover that money. Just send us a retainer fee, and we’ll get your money back for you. You gratefully fork over the required amount – and you never hear from them again. And you’ve been scammed twice.
The Florida Attorney General’s office has recently released a statement reporting that it has already received over 600 complaints from people who have been contacted by telemarketers who say they can recover money lost in bad timeshare resale deals in exchange for an up front fee but then abscond with the money. This new scam is now being investigated by regulators in several states.
If you are trying to sell your timeshare, how do you know if you’re talking to a scammer? It’s easy.
- Did the business call you? If yes, Hang Up.
- Are they asking for an up-front fee? If yes, Hang Up.
If you are convinced that the reason the caller gives for the necessity of an up-front fee is legitimate and you want to work with the company, do further research before paying the fee. The Better Business Bureau offers these suggestions:
- Contact the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org), state Attorney General's office, and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the company is located to find out if complaints have been lodged against the company.
- Ask the person to send you written materials.
- Ask for references, including address and phone number and contact them.
- Ask where the company is located and in what states it does business.
- Ask if the company's salespeople are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. If so, verify this with the state licensing board.
(Photo credit BBB.org)