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How to avoid timeshare resale scams

Posted at 6:03 PM, Sep 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-10 19:03:08-04

Selling a timeshare is not always easy, and a lot of people get desperate when they are trying to get rid of one.

Scammers know this and will often feed off this desperation to take advantage of people.

Here are some of the tactics that might be used: An unscrupulous representative might entice you by stating that your particular property is in a popular area with lots of people ready to buy. They say they can sell it quickly if you pay them a few thousand dollars upfront. They might even promise you a money-back guarantee.

Or, they may tell you they have other ways to get you out of the contract. But, this could spell legal and financial trouble later, especially if you stop paying fees.

A couple of red flags that might tip you off to a scam is the representative seems to push you to pay a large upfront fee, they are reluctant to provide things in writing or provide complete and thorough answers to your questions, and want a payment to be made via a wire transfer, debit from your bank account or via pre-paid debit cards.

Before you hire one of these firms or pay fees, find out if your resort or association can assist you in selling your timeshare and/or canceling your agreement. If you are considering using the services of a reseller, check out the firm’s reputation and strategy, and search for complaints with consumer sources including the Better Business Bureau or trade associations such as the American Resort Development Association.

Do not pay any fees upfront. Before signing a contract or agreeing to do business, get all terms in conditions in writing and ask questions about fees, types of services that will be provided and the length of the contract. And, do not trust “money-back guarantees." If the company goes out of business, you will likely not get your money back.

The American Resort Development Association can be a great resource for obtaining information about buying and selling a timeshare. The Federal Trade Commission and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection also provides information about how to stay safe when buying or selling a timeshare, and can provide help if you believe that you have been scammed.