Recently we have been receiving a great deal of complaints from consumers who have indicated they are being contacted by timeshare resellers who are employing high pressure sales tactics in an attempt to get consumers, typically the elderly, to sell their timeshares.
Potential customers are asked to sign a contract and to wire money to an account in Mexico before the sale of their property can be completed. Once the money is wired, the prospective sellers are no longer able to reach the company and they are not able to recover their money, which is typically in thousands of dollars.
The BBB has recently uncovered one such possible scam with a company purporting to be based in Detroit, called Net Management Group - see full press release here: http://bit.ly/BBBtimeshare.
Not all timeshare companies are deceitful however, but it is important to check out a company prior to signing the dotted line. The BBB offers the following advice to owners looking for help in selling their timeshare:
- Use a Business You can Trust – Make sure the timeshare reseller you use is a BBB Accredited Business or has a good rating with BBB. You can check out a business’s BBB Business Review at www.easternmichiganbbb.org.
- Confirm Licensing Requirements – Some timeshare resellers will use fake addresses or PO boxes in order to mislead timeshare owners. Confirm where the company is located and in what states it does business. Ask if the company’s salespeople are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. If so, verify this with the state licensing board.
- Get the Facts on the Figures – Find out if the business charges a commission. Do they handle the entire closing and provide escrow services? Do they charge an up-front listing or advertising fee? What does it cover and is it refundable?
- Be Wary of Upfront Fees – Many complainants to the BBB were burned by companies charging an advance “appraisal” fee for services or were told that they just had to pay closing costs and the timeshare would be taken off their hands. Consider opting for a company that offers to sell for a fee only after the timeshare is sold.
- Don’t Fall for the Hard Sell or an Offer that Sounds Too Good to Be True – Don’t agree to anything over the phone but instead ask the salesperson to send you written materials; take the time to think it over and don’t be pressured. Unscrupulous timeshare resellers may claim that your property is in demand and they can sell it immediately; unfortunately, these promises are often empty.
- Know Your State’s Laws – In some states “timesharing” developments must be registered with the Attorney General’s office before the sale or offer to sell. And some states require that all material facts are presented to buyers prior to the sale. In addition, some states require that all buyers’ deposits must be held in escrow until the closing and buyers usually have five days after signing the purchase contract or five days after receiving the public offering statement (whichever is later) to cancel their purchase.