The timeshare industry is fraught with scams, and timeshare resale guarantees are just one of the many ways that consumers can get ripped off.
When you purchase a timeshare, you are typically required to make a down payment as well as ongoing monthly payments and maintenance fees. Although timeshare owners usually have to pay both a mortgage and annual dues, some find that they can’t keep up with regular payments over time. As a result, these owners may wish to explore selling their timeshare to eliminate the carry cost and financial stress of ownership.
The timeshare resale market is notoriously challenging. Furthermore, many timeshare resellers are simply unlicensed tele-sales agents who use high-pressure tactics to get owners to sign up for a resale listing agreement.
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 Enforcement
The state of Florida has taken steps to protect timeshare owners from timeshare resale scams. The Department of Agriculture, Division of Consumer Services (FDACS) handles timeshare resale compliance, complaints, and enforcement. The division issues and controls telemarketing licensing for both businesses and salespeople. A timeshare telemarketing license requires companies to have a surety bond. The bond acts as a security deposit to ensure that if customers are scammed, they can file a claim and may receive compensation. The state can also go after resale companies for unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Highlighting Consumer Resale Problems
In Orlando, WESH 2 investigated a timeshare resale company based in Central Florida. That group has gone by many different names according to the BBB. They now appear to have closed shop, leaving its former clients still holding onto timeshares that they were promised would be sold. Owners are currently out monies paid for advertising and marketing and according to the investigative news report, the business office has been empty for months.
An alert has been posted by the Bureau:
Integrity Marketing Solutions, LLC / Timeshare Answers is no longer taking phone calls from clients and their voicemail is full. Consumers have tried to reach out to them via phone and email to no avail. Numerous consumers have filed complaints regarding unfulfilled promises for timeshare cancelation and guarantees of refunds. This business is not responding to complaints forwarded by BBB.
The BBB has issued an “F” rating for the company and linked it to other companies along with the consumer warning.
“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.