Timeshare scams are an extensive challenge within the timeshare industry and can make it difficult for buyers and existing owners to differentiate between what is legitimate and what is not.
Here we go through some of the most common timeshare scams as well as the signs, red flags and warnings to look out for that will help you recognise those with bad intentions before you fall victim to their scam.
- Unsolicited Contact
It is not unusual for timeshare owners’ personal details to be sold on to fraudsters who use this information to make contact. The way they reach out can vary and it might be that they cold-call, email, send letters or flyers through the post or make multiple attempts at more than one of these.
They may use different tactics but will likely claim to want to buy your timeshare, have a buyer lined up or even be able to get you out of your timeshare. No matter how convincing they may seem, do not fall for it. There will come the time that they will then require personal information or payment to proceed, claiming it’s for transaction costs, solicitor fees, taxes etc. If you make this payment, then they will disappear with your money, and you will never hear from them again.
The truth is that no legitimate timeshare resale company, agent or lawyer will ever reach out by cold calling you, it’s as simple as that. This huge red flag is a warning to hang up, block their number, delete their emails and refuse to engage with them at all in any way.
- Timeshare Resale Agents
This is what is sometimes referred to as a ‘double dip’ scam that targets timeshare owners who have often been tricked into an unfair and often unethical contract and are therefore unhappy and desperate to sell.
The fraudsters will approach, claiming that they are ‘timeshare resale agents’ or something similar and they may use different tactics such as;
- Offer to sell your home and list it on their website, in a brochure or similar. They may have impressive claims of resale success percentages, a real website, social media pages etc and everything may look very professional. However, the fact is that they will take your ‘listing fees’ and your property will never sell.
- The second and most commonly used is saying that they have a buyer ready and waiting to purchase your timeshare! They can be very convincing here with a full story and details about the ‘buyer’. They will at some stage require you to pay a ‘fee’ under the guise of it being for the lawyers, closing costs etc and that is where they take your money.
- There have been numerous cases of fraudsters using legitimate company names and creating email addresses close to the real thing to trick timeshare owners into believing they are from a reliable and trustworthy organisation. Always do your due diligence and be sure to phone and check to see if the person really does work where they say.
- Timeshare Exit or Contract Cancellation
These scam artists claim to be from a timeshare exit company and make huge statements such as a 100% guarantee of success or your money back and so on to get desperate owners to part with their hard-earned money. They will use numerous tactics to convince you that they will help and that it is something they do all the time, leaving you feeling like this is your best option.
Just remember that a real timeshare solicitor will never, ever cold call you or make contact without you reaching out to them first. If you believe you could have a case for exiting your timeshare and would like to pursue this route then look for a trusted, reputable solicitor who is SRA regulated.