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A Guide on Timeshare Scams

There are two types of scams to watch out for in the timeshare industry. The first is sometimes timeshares themselves. While not always the case, many timeshare owners claim to be misled into their initial purchase and future upgrades. When that happens, the chances of a second scam increase. Regretful buyers look to get rid of their purchase risk facing timeshare resale scams.

Often it seems like everywhere a timeshare owner turns, there’s a threat of a scam. To learn more about these timeshare scams and how you can avoid them, continue reading this guide.

What Makes a Timeshare a Scam?

Timeshare properties can be legitimate options within the vacation and travel markets. However, stories from past owners say otherwise. What makes a timeshare seem like a scam? It often depends on how they're marketed and sold. Some timeshare resorts go to extreme lengths to convince innocent tourists to sign away their financial future. Below are a few examples of why many consider timeshares to be ripoffs:

Regular Use of Deceptive Sales Tactics

It all begins with the timeshare sales presentation. You may have received phone calls before offering you a free vacation for attending one. That's the first tactic used to pressure you into purchasing. After that, the timeshare vendors may have several other tricks up their sleeves.

For instance, the sales staff may tell you that their "once-in-a-lifetime" offer is available at that moment to rush you into buying. Or, they may keep you detained for hours until you'll agree to anything for a chance to leave. When dishonesty is this rampant within the sales process, it looks like a sham.

Maintenance Fees Mean Your Timeshare Is Never Paid Off

Resorts often market timeshares as a low-cost solution to vacation. But considering the annual maintenance fees, timeshares are a poor investment. It goes back to the timeshare salespeople. Sometimes they don't tell you everything about these maintenance fees. So here’s what you need to know.

Maintenance fees are mandatory for most timeshare owners. Not only that, but the price for them rises nearly every year. If that's not bad enough, they never end. Even after paying off the timeshare mortgage, you're still on the hook for maintenance fees. As long as you remain an owner, you can't escape the potential increasing debt these fees can cause. 

Timeshare Agreements Are Difficult to Sidestep

One aspect about timeshares causing buyers to feel swindled is how challenging it is to back out of the agreements amicably. The best chance to get out of a timeshare purchase is during the rescission period. However, timeshare companies are notorious for giving little time to rescind the purchase. After that window of opportunity closes, canceling a timeshare can become troubling.  

Why are timeshare agreements designed this way? The short answer: the resort developers gain more profits. Maintenance fees are a huge source of income for timeshare companies, and by entrapping clients in deals, they continue to collect the fees indefinitely. If this were made more evident to buyers, timeshare sales would likely plummet.

How to Get Through a Timeshare Sales Presentation

When most people attend a timeshare presentation, they have no idea what to expect. That is why potential scams are more possible in the first place. To better prepare for such an encounter, below are a few suggestions  to avoid making a regrettable decision:

  • Do Plenty of Research Beforehand: Look up the timeshare company online to find out their reputation with the public. See what past clients have to say about their experience there. Do not attend a presentation if you don’t feel comfortable.
  • Prepare for a High-Pressure Situation: Even if it's not mentioned, be ready for an intense sales pitch. It's just what timeshare sellers are known for. Regardless, do not act on impulse and make a decision under pressure. 
  • Ask About the Rescission Period: Resorts often omit important information about the cooling-off period, the time in which you can cancel a purchase. How much time you get varies from state to state, so ask what the laws are for your situation. 
  • Take Time to Read the Paperwork: Get everything in writing. Do not agree to a timeshare purchase until you examine the agreement paperwork. Review the documents yourself or with a trusted financial advisor.
  • Don't Make a Decision Today: While salespeople may say today is the only day you can get their special deal, it's not. They’re rushing you into a decision. Take as much time as necessary to think it through. 

Timeshare Resale Scams

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What’s worse than getting scammed is when it happens a second time! Especially if the second time is the result of you fixing the first scam. Alas, that is common in the timeshare market.

Timeshare resale scams are rampant. These companies claim to sell your timeshare but do little in achieving that. You might have seen their ads but more times than not, they exaggerate their claims or even outright lie. Then they will take your money and disappear without a trace. 

Due to the high number of owners looking to get rid of timeshares, more of these scams transpire. To get rid of your timeshare and future obligations for it, it’s best to avoid such scams.

How Timeshare Owners can Prevent Resale Scams

You've lost enough money from the timeshare alone. There's no reason to get ripped off again. Yet, timeshare resale scams are challenging to point out. Here are three tips to help you avoid timeshare scams:

Ignore Unsolicited Calls

An unsolicited call from timeshare resellers is the first warning sign of a scam. Timeshare resale scammers often use similar tactics to those of timeshare vendors. They may offer incentives and make guarantees that they can’t keep. Don't fall for it. Reputable timeshare exit companies do not cold-call; they let you reach out first.

Don't Pay Upfront Fees

Timeshare scam artists will push you to act fast to complete a resale. In doing so, they might ask that you pay an upfront fee to cover the closing costs. Never agree to pay upfront fees! If this is the first time you are speaking with them, and they have already asked for money, it's obvious they are in it for the money. Building trust before signing a check is essential.

Never Give In to High-Pressure Situations

Last, don't let the pressure get to you. Timeshare resale scams claim they have a buyer for your timeshare. They don’t. They’re pressuring you into paying an upfront fee. If reselling sounds too good to be true, then just like the timeshare, it probably is. Timeshare resale scams can be relentless, but you can hang up the receiver! 

Report Timeshare Scams

When you encounter timeshare resale scams, be sure to report them to the proper authorities. Following are a few suggestions:

  • Report to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov
  • Report to your state attorney general (State of the timeshare's location)
  • Report to your real estate agent
  • Report to the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Hire a Timeshare Cancellation Company Instead

Why risk another scam? These legitimate companies are home to experts on vacation ownership termination help. The timeshare industry is full of deceptions. Cancellation companies are a solution. They help misrepresented owners who feel scammed by timeshares and prevent future resale fraud.

The Wesley Difference

Wesley Financial Group, LLC (WFG)* is a prominent timeshare cancellation company. Founded by timeshare exit pioneer Chuck McDowell, WFG has been assisting victimized timeshare owners for more than a decade. Since 2011, WFG has helped over 16,000 people escape over $300,000,000 in timeshare debt. Below are a few select reviews, from the 2,000+ we have received, which share a timeshare scam experience:

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If you or anyone you know has endured a bad timeshare experience, reach out to WFG! By qualifying for their termination services, you could be timeshare-free again. It’s encouraging to see redeeming figures like WFG in an industry bedridden with fraudulent activity.

*Wesley Financial Group, LLC, and its affiliates, successors, or assigns are not lawyers or a law firm and do not engage in the practice of law or provide legal advice or legal representation. All information, software, services, and comments provided on this site are for informational and self-help purposes only and not intended to substitute for professional advice, legal or otherwise.

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