The typical timeshare scam begins when a timeshare is purchased. Often times at restaurants you may see a jar where you can deposit your business card in hopes to win a free lunch or a cruise. A week later you are contacted by someone to inform you that you won the free lunch or cruise, if you stay to listen to a vacation ownership seminar.
These timeshare seminar pools in dozens, if not hundreds of people to find the sucker or suckers who are brain-washed into believing that owning a timeshare can be a good investment that appreciates over time. Out of those hundred, a few will buy a timeshare. After the payment and information is collected, that information is entered into a database sold to many off-shoot companies. This is where the timeshare scam begins. This the owner’s contact information will be sold, re-sold, traded, and stolen by telemarketers over and over again in the ever-evolving timeshare scam industry. The most gullible the vacation property owner, the more they will be targeted.
After using a timeshare once or twice and then attempting to use their week the third time, these new owners are bombarded by maintenance fees that are far more than expected. These fees change timeshare owners database over time, and if their timeshare resort happened to have been hit by natural disasters, other problems, or unnecessary upgrades or remodels are made, guess who pays for the repairs? The timeshare owner.
The fees add up. The weeks are being unused. Soon enough the timeshare owner is sick of their vacation property and is ready to move on. But wait. Their timeshare is worth less than they paid for it. Most timeshare sales are priced to include all sorts of fees that inflate the total purchase price. Leaving the owner with an incredible loss.
After a few years, timeshare owner information has been sold inside the industry to telemarketers who feed off these desperate and vulnerable vacation properties and their owners. The typical call happens like this: “This is Fake Name, from Timeshare Scam Company. I have a buyer interested in your property.”
It is simple and to the point. These two sentences are another blow below the belt for timeshare owners. For those owners who fall for this timeshare advertising or timeshare resale scam, they will lose between $1000 to $5000. These representatives, telemarketers, scam artists will use fast, sweet talk to provoke vacation property owners into using their services. They are bounced around from “department” to “department” thinking that they have spoken to their legal and financial advisers to further suck these timeshare owners in. In fact, these departments are typically sitting in cubicles and carrels merely within inches of each other. An FCC over-the-phone verification and a certified check later their money has vanished from their account. A promise to hear from a buyer soon fades.
Weeks go by, if not months. The owners has heard nothing. Calls made to the company are either not returned or are bounced from representative to representative, that’s if the phone is answered at all. E-mails are never returned, letters of the physical address are never opened. The timeshare owner has been a victim of timeshare scam.
Timeshare scams are an evolving criminal practice that, believe it or not, is not as harshly criminal as you think. Most state agricultural agencies only require a bond, licensed telemarketers and an approved script to keep their scam practice going. Complaints to local, state, and Federal agencies rarely end up in action taking. Only when large lists of timeshare scam complaints are collected do these authorities visit the suspected scam company. These scams are so well organized, that even lawyers are rarely able to recover the amounts lost in these scams.