Timeshare Resale Guarantees
The timeshare industry, while offering vacationers the allure of a home away from home, is unfortunately riddled with deceptive practices. Among these, timeshare resale guarantees stand out as a particularly treacherous terrain for the unwary consumer.
When one decides to invest in a timeshare, the financial commitment is not just limited to the initial down payment. There’s a recurring financial obligation in the form of monthly payments and annual maintenance fees, which can be substantial. For many timeshare owners, the financial landscape can change over the years.
While initially they might have been comfortable with both the mortgage and the annual dues, changing personal or economic circumstances can make these payments burdensome. This can lead to a desire to offload the timeshare, hoping to alleviate the ongoing financial responsibilities. However, the journey to sell a timeshare is not always straightforward. The resale market is complex, and many owners find themselves navigating a maze of offers, many of which are too good to be true.
Dangers Of Timeshare Resale Promises
Oftentimes, when contemplating how to sell their timeshare, owners fall victim to quick schemes by resale companies or so-called agents. These entities bait potential customers with offers of help to unload their property rapidly and for a large return. Scammers also use various tools of inducement, including urgency with a resale guarantee that they can sell a timeshare within a certain time frame, usually within six months to a year, and for a specific amount of money.
Empty promises from timeshare resale scammers hold no weight, but the pressure to sign a contract immediately is very real. Victims spend anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars for online advertising and rarely see little if any interest in their timeshare from prospective buyers. Many timeshare resale guarantees are unsubstantiated and fail to deliver, as the great majority of timeshares never sell on the resale market. Unfortunately, they have become quite common, and they often target timeshare owners who are already struggling to keep up with life’s other expenses. Some resale companies claim to be licensed, bonded, and insured in order to gain the confidence of timeshare owners. They don’t disclose that they aren’t qualified to sell timeshares. The license they possess is merely a telemarketing authorization.
Timeshare Resale Telemarketing Regulation and Oversight
The state of Florida has proactively instituted measures to shield timeshare owners from the fraudulent tactics commonly associated with timeshare resale scams. Taking the helm in this initiative is the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, specifically its Division of Consumer Services (FDACS). FDACS oversees various facets of timeshare resale, spanning from compliance monitoring to complaint resolution and enforcement actions.
Furthermore, FDACS is responsible for the regulation of telemarketing activities within the timeshare industry. To this end, they grant licenses to both companies and individual sales representatives involved in telemarketing. An essential condition for obtaining a timeshare telemarketing license is the need for companies to possess a surety bond. This bond functions as a form of financial security, ensuring that in the unfortunate event a customer falls victim to scam practices, they have the means to lodge a claim and potentially retrieve compensation. Moreover, this framework enables the state to prosecute and penalize resale firms that indulge in misleading or deceitful business conduct.
For more details on Florida’s efforts against timeshare scams and the role of FDACS, you can visit FDACS’s official website.
Spotlight on Consumer Resale Dilemmas
A timeshare resale company located in Central Florida came under scrutiny when WESH 2, based in Orlando, initiated an investigation. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has indicated that this company has operated under multiple aliases over time. Currently, it seems they have ceased operations, with many of their previous clients left in the lurch, still owning timeshares they were assured would be sold. To make matters worse, these owners have lost money which they had invested in advertising and promotional efforts. The recent news findings revealed that the company’s premises have been deserted for an extended period.
In a public notification by the BBB:
Integrity Marketing Solutions, LLC / Timeshare Answers appears to be in a state of disarray. They are no longer addressing phone inquiries from their clientele, and their voicemail system is consistently full. Many distressed consumers have made futile attempts to communicate with the company through calls and emails, seeking resolutions. A significant number of these individuals have raised complaints concerning the company’s failure to fulfill their promises regarding timeshare cancellations and the assurance of monetary refunds. Alarmingly, the business has displayed apathy by not responding to these grievances as conveyed by the BBB.
In light of these events and following their assessment, the BBB has accorded the company an “F” rating. Additionally, they have identified and linked it to several other firms and concurrently issued a consumer alert, cautioning potential customers about their dealings.
Timeshare Advocates Weigh In On Marketplace
“The timeshare resale marketplace is like one big game of Whack a Mole for regulators.” said, Lisa Ann Schreier, The Timeshare Crusader. “One company gets shut down and another one pops up and takes its place. They just change the names of the companies.” continued Schreier.
WESH TV’s Greg Fox also reported that the FDACS mediation and enforcement team is in the process of helping those timeshare resale customers get some or all of their money back.
What You Can Do To Protect Yourself
Timeshare owners who are contacted by resale companies should perform their own research before entering into a listing agreement with an unknown business. Check to see if the company is licensed and whether it has a current surety bond. In addition, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints filed against the company.
You deserve to know whether the company you’re thinking of doing business with is ethical and operates legally. If you have any doubts, it is probably best to look elsewhere to sell your timeshare. If you have already paid a timeshare resale company and they have not delivered on their guaranteed promise to sell your timeshare, you may be able to file a claim against their surety bond.
There are also other alternatives. Some developers have programs that will allow you to cancel your timeshare. Before making any decisions on your timeshare, it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney.
This article is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice.
The Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm that specializes in timeshare-related matters. Led by attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer, who have over 75 years of experience combined. If you feel you need an attorney, please reach out to us for a free consultation. We help timeshare owners who have been misled or cheated by companies throughout the United States. Follow us on Twitter.