From RedWeek’s February Newsletter - February's "Ask The Timeshare Crusader" question comes from Odin:
I recently received a letter from the president of RCI warning me against attending an "RCI Update" meeting in my area. Apparently these meetings are not sanctioned by RCI, but are a scam. Have you heard about this?
Lisa Ann Schreier's Answer:
This issue was brought to my attention last week by the Florida Timeshare Owners Group, and is quite scary in my opinion.
For those of you who have not heard of this most recent scam, a third-party company contacted RCI members in Bradenton, Florida, inviting them to area to an 'RCI update' meeting at a local Perkins restaurant. Of course, the company is NOT RCI and the "update" is a sales pitch. A similar scam in 2009 netted a similar company more than a million, and none of that benefitted a single timeshare owner.
So what's a timeshare owner to do?
Don't take phone, e-mail, or postcard solicitations at face value. Research, research, research. We are in the Information Age, people! There is a plethora of information out there, and it only takes a few keystrokes to find it. If you're not computer savvy, pick up the phone. In this case, I would have called RCI directly and asked if there is an update meeting scheduled for my area.
Get mad and go viral! If you are contacted by one of these companies, let other timeshare owners know through the various timeshare forums pages, blog sites, and timeshare-related Facebook and Twitter pages. Then, go a step further and let your home resort, your primary exchange company, and American Resort Development Association Resort Owners' Coalition know about it.
In closing, I ask that you use common sense. Don't be a victim of timeshare fraud. Be smart and be alert.
Read more advice and tips about timeshares by The Timeshare Crusader here.