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Chapter 3: Timeshare Resale Scams

Timeshare Resale Scams

Many timeshare frauds are resale scams. Con artists target owners who are desperate to get rid of their timeshares. Owners turn to these fraudulent “companies” for help only to find out later they’ve fallen victim to another scam.

It can be easy to miss the red flags when you’re trying to sell your timeshare and excited never to pay maintenance fees again. Scammers know owners can’t wait to unload their burden, and this is why they’ve been so successful with phony resale schemes. In this chapter, we’ll explore timeshare resale scams and signs to look out for. If this sounds like something you’ve experienced, and if you’d like help from people who genuinely care, reach out to us at EZ Exit Now.

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Sell Timeshare Scams

It’s no secret — timeshares are difficult to sell. This has created an entire industry of scammers promising to sell your timeshare for a large fee.

Con artists know that owners are determined and desperate to get rid of their timeshares, and can easily take advantage of their need to sell.

If you own a timeshare and want a way out, beware of imposters and know the warning signs. Also, know there are legitimate ways to free yourself of your timeshare, and there’s no need to make a rushed decision without researching and understanding your options first. A timeshare resale scheme usually takes place in the following ways:

  • A scammer will call you and claim they work in real estate and have buyers who want your property.
  • They will request a fee upfront, paid through wire transfer or credit card, and call it a transaction fee or tax.
  • After you pay the hefty “fees” or “taxes,” the person disappears, and you’re left with an unsold timeshare and lost money.

Sometimes these con artists will try to double-scam you and claim they will help you recover the “lost” fees for another fee. Some resale crooks will deceive the same owners, again and again, each time promising to help them. They may even use the identity of actual real estate brokers. This enables them to trick just about anyone.

Avoid Getting Scammed  

Consider Darren Kittleson’s story, as reported by Azcentral. Mr. Kittleson, a seasoned real estate agent, was cheated out of more than $24,000 when scammers offered to buy his timeshare at a resort in Mexico. How did an experienced real estate agent fall victim to such a scam? They did everything possible to cover the fact that they were imposters, from sending realistic bank statements to providing the name and address of an actual real estate brokerage. They offered to pay up to 70% more than what Kittleson paid for his timeshare and eventually told him he needed to buy a tax identification number in Mexico to complete the sale. After researching the situation online, Kittleson decided it still seemed legitimate, so he wired money to Mexico. Then he was told he needed to pay taxes. So he wired more money. They continued to scam him until he realized he’d been tricked — thousands of dollars later.

Scammers will also often pose as ARDA representatives. Here are just a few fraud examples provided by ARDA:

  • In 2019, timeshare owners were invited to dinner to discuss timeshare exit options by a group that lied about being affiliated with ARDA, named Square One Group.
  • In July 2018, two individuals contacted timeshare owners claiming to have interested buyers and requesting owners to wire money into an account they called a “luxury tax.”
  • In March 2018, ARDA warned consumers of a fraudulent group named “Resort Consulting Advocates,” who claimed to have interested buyers in exchange for an upfront fee.
  • In 2016, ARDA advised consumers to look out for “Anthony Parker,” who falsely claimed to represent The Timeshare Association for Timeshare Owners and Committees (TATOC).

How do you know if you’ve been contacted by a scammer?

Here are some red flags to look out for:

  • They ask for a fee upfront: False resellers will charge thousands of dollars in upfront fees to sell or rent out your timeshare. A legitimate resale company will ask for fees after the sale is made or deduct them from the sale price.
  • They call you even though you never advertised your timeshare: Any time someone calls you to buy something you did not advertise, hang up the phone. It’s easy to feel excited at the thought of having a buyer, but if a stranger calls you out of the blue, you know it’s a scam.
  • They claim they are affiliated with ARDA: ARDA and ARDA-ROC do not provide resale services, and they would never directly contact consumers regarding resale.
  • It sounds too good to be true: If a company promises to sell your timeshare for a high price, or says they can sell it quickly, they are likely lying. For example, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), fake resale company representatives may promise to sell a timeshare in as little as 60 to 90 days. Timeshares rarely sell fast or for more than what you paid.
  • They make excuses: Any “broker” who is unwilling to meet you in person is not someone you want to trust.
  • They pressure you: A valid business will not pressure you to sign anything or make a big decision without thinking things through first. On the contrary, a phony business’s representative may lie and say an anxious buyer is waiting on the other line or in their “office.” They’ll urge you to make a decision fast.

It’s most important to remember that resale scammers can steal the names of real businesses and even create professional-looking websites. You’ll always want to check a company’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau and do your research before handing over any money or personal information.

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How Do I Sell My Timeshare Myself?

Before you decide to sell your timeshare yourself, know that it’s risky, and not the recommended path to take.

Keep in mind that when you advertise your timeshare, you may be inviting scammers to contact you. Also, know you will not get what you paid for your timeshare.

If you decide to try to sell your timeshare despite the risks, you’ll first want to determine the value of your timeshare. You have a few options to sell your timeshare, which include:

  • Run an ad in the area of the timeshare.
  • List the timeshare for sale on a website like Craigslist.
  • Advertise in the newspaper or travel website, but be prepared to pay advertising fees.
  • Work with a licensed real estate company to help you advertise and transfer the property, and know that they usually charge commissions up to 30%.

It’s recommended that you reach out to a reputable timeshare exit company instead of trying to sell the timeshare yourself. A trustworthy timeshare exit company will work to find ways to cancel your timeshare, so you don’t have to worry about scammers or stress out about details.

Can You Sell Your Timeshare Back to the Resort?

You may be able to exit your timeshare obligation through the resort, depending on if they are willing to work with you or not. Contact the resort and find out your options, and if you can sell it back to them. If you take this route, be aware that the resort may try to sell you an “upgrade” or complicate the selling process. Also, if the resort takes back the timeshare, they may require that you continue to pay fees while they search for another buyer.

Best Ways to Sell a Timeshare Property

The best way to sell a timeshare is to avoid the timeshare resale market altogether and protect yourself from scammers. Your next best option is to turn to an experienced timeshare exit company to discuss canceling your timeshare. Contact us to learn how we may be able to help you get out of your timeshare.

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