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Timeshare Fraud: Be on the Lookout

Timeshare fraud: Be on the lookout

August 15, 2018 – by Primo Management Group

Timeshare fraud: Be on the lookout

The timeshare industry continues to grow, and so does timeshare fraud. Arm yourself with the tools to avoid it!

With the timeshare industry growing rapidly, it pays to educate yourself on timeshare fraud. Consumers like you need to be aware of what timeshare fraud looks like, how you can avoid it, and what to do if you fall for it.

Sales Presentation Fraud

Timeshare sales reps are well-known for their high-pressure coercive tactics. However, laws do exist to help protect consumers. When reps make false claims or violate the law, their sales tactics turn into timeshare fraud. Laws governing timeshare sales vary from state to state, but we’ll cover some common tactics to watch out for.

Sometimes reps fail to disclose that your “free” gift requires you to listen to a timeshare pitch. Many states including Hawaii require reps to tell you that the incentive has strings attached. But they may also fail to award the incentive even after you listen to their pitch. Sales pitches that last longer than the designated time frame are more often the norm than the exception. Most reps do disclose that you’ll be listening to a pitch, usually for 90 minutes. You should know, they are not allowed to keep you beyond that timeframe, although this rule is often broken.

Reps often make false or misleading statements about the property itself. This type of fraud can be difficult to combat because many timeshare contracts also include a clause saying the buyer did not depend on any verbal statements when deciding to buy. This means that reps can essentially get off the hook, even if they do violate statutes. Protect yourself by getting everything in writing before you sign.

Many consumers are unaware that timeshare contracts come with a cooling off period called a rescission period. And many states require disclosure of the rescission period in the contracts. However, contracts are long and dense so this disclosure is easy to miss, even in the 18-point bold font required by Missouri.

Points Fraud

Many resorts are expanding their points programs. The timeshare points model is different from a fixed week or deeded model where you own the rights to a specific property for a specific week each year. Instead, ownership gives you a set number of points each year. You can then use these points in various ways at various locations and times. Many people find it challenging to truly use these points. In most cases, it depends on availability. You often must book months in advance—typically at least 13 hours in advance. Timeshare points can be difficult to manage.

Some resorts allow you to switch from a fixed week to a points-based timeshare. However, some resorts will also pressure you to switch. This might not be a good choice and in any case, you don’t have to switch. According to Timeshare Users Group: “[N]o matter what you are told, you do not have to convert . . . to points under any circumstances. While there may or may not be benefits of doing so, falling prey to hard sales tactics and high-pressure pitches trying to convince you to convert for a hefty fee is never a good idea!”

Resale Fraud

Timeshare resale fraud is perhaps the most widespread and notorious type of timeshare fraud. Resellers contact current timeshare owners and claim to have a buyer or renter for their timeshare property in exchange for a fee. When the timeshare owner pays the fee, the buyer and the deal disappears then the owner loses their money but they’re still stuck with their timeshare.

Because so many people are desperate to get out of their timeshares, they are easy targets. Scammers love to prey on vulnerable people and perpetrators of timeshare fraud are no exception. The elderly are at great risk of being duped in this type of scam. Many seek to exit their timeshare because their lifestyle no longer accommodates it. Plus, they typically have more savings than others, and that makes them ideal targets.

If you do run into this type of fraud, be very cautious. Watch out for companies who contact you, anyone asking you to pay an upfront fee via wire transfer, money order or pre-paid bank card, and any deals that seem too good to be true. Protect yourself by being skeptical. Check out any company using some of these timeshare resources to help you decide if a company is legit.

If you’ve already been the victim of timeshare fraud, you do have options. Primo works with timeshare owners to help them exit contracts. We’ll be happy to meet with you for a free consultation. Contact us today to get started.

(Image Source: Pixabay)

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Frequently Asked Questions ?

How does PMG get me out of my timeshare contract?

PMG is not a resale, transfer, or donation company. We are consumer advocates—we help to negotiate the release of your timeshare contract obligation. We do not buy, sell, or rent your timeshare. Simply put, we help you to get out of your timeshare contract forever.

How long does the process usually take?

Usually less than 12 months, but it all depends on your situation. If your timeshare is free and clear with no mortgage, then the process may only take 3-9 months.

Speak to your advisor about the time, and what delays the resorts have put into place to prevent timeshare owners from departing their ownership. If you have a mortgage or past due maintenance fee, the process takes more time.

How much is my timeshare worth?

This is probably going to hurt, but whether you paid $5,000 or $50,000 for your timeshare, the IRS values all timeshares as worthless investments. In addition, that timeshare would have negative value due to the annual maintenance fee bill which compounds year after year. That is until PMG helps you cancel your timeshare.

Can I use your service if I still have a balance owed on my mortgage?

Yes. Whether you bought your timeshare 20 days ago or 20 years ago, PMG has a solution for you and is here to help.

Will my name be off the timeshare?

Yes! Permanently! GUARANTEED!

In addition to getting me out of my timeshare, can you recover the money I’ve already spent on mortgage payments and maintenance fees?

While we are able to recover money in rare cases, beware of any timeshare cancellation company that entices you with the promise of fund recovery. The truth is, timeshares are loath to give back the money they’ve already taken.

Are your consumer advocates really “consumer advocates”, or is that just a fancy word for salesperson?

Because most of our clients have had their trust betrayed by timeshare salespeople, we understand how some consumers can become a bit jaded. When you call us for a consultation, that’s exactly what you get, a consultation. At PMG, our job is not to sell you; our job is to help you get out of your timeshare. Which is why we have numerous 5-star reviews and an “A” (excellent) rating from the BCA.

Why should I choose PMG to get me out of my timeshare?

We pride ourselves on providing our customers with the best customer service in the industry. When you contact our company, you speak to a live person, not an automated system or voicemail. We go above and beyond for our customers by helping you to protect your credit and even repair your credit if needed. We offer a 100% money back guarantee, and we can provide documented proof of our success in helping customers just like you.

What happens after I sign up with you? Will I be apprised of your progress?

At PMG, we pride ourselves on our hands-on, boutique-style customer service, so every new client is assigned a case manager whose job is to keep you in the loop throughout the entire cancellation process. Your case manager is always just a phone call away.

How much is your fee?

Not all timeshare experiences are created equal. Some are more complicated than others, and every situation is different. That’s why our trained timeshare elimination consultants will ask you a series of questions designed to determine exactly what needs to be done to terminate your timeshare, how long it will take, and how they can best advocate for you. We will always seek the most cost-effective route for you.

What if I still have more questions?

Canceling a timeshare contract is not a cookie cutter process. With each situation being unique, once you complete the form below an experienced consumer advocate will call you today to discuss your options.