Timeshare Resale Scams
Dear Consumer Ed:
I own a timeshare in Mexico. A company in Georgia said they could help me sell it for a fee. I’m a little leery about this. How do I know it’s not a scam?
Consumer Ed says:
Use extreme caution when confronted with offers such as these. Some time share “resellers” are actually scammers who accept large payments from time share owners, but never actually sell the time share, file the deed or pay any maintenance fees. What’s more, if the owner agrees to the upfront fee, scammers will sometimes try to take further advantage of their victims by calling back repeatedly to ask for additional fees, taxes, etc. Victims may not discover they have been scammed until they are sued by the time share association for past due maintenance fees – fees which they had assumed the reseller or alleged new owner was now paying.
If you want to sell your time share, you should consider the following alternatives:
- Ask the resort’s developer, resort manager or owner’s association if they have a newsletter, website or bulletin board where owners can advertise their timeshare for resale.
- Avoid paying money to a reseller upfront. If possible, find a reseller that takes its fee after the timeshare is sold. If you must pay a fee in advance, ask about refunds. Get refund policies and promises in writing.
- Ask if the reseller’s agents are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. If so, verify it with the Real Estate Commission. Deal only with licensed real estate brokers and agents, and ask for references from satisfied clients.
- Read the contract thoroughly and make sure you understand everything before you sign.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau to check the company’s reputation. Ask if any complaints are on file.
- If you sell your deed, let the resort know who now owns your timeshare and who to bill for the maintenance fees and taxes.
- Check public records to verify that the deed has been filed in the new owner’s name.
Submit your own question to Consumer Ed. Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.