Timeshare Resale Scams Give Legitimate Companies Bad Name

Even with recent crackdowns by the FTC and law enforcement agencies, and information campaigns from various entities like ARDA and The National Timeshare Owners Association, timeshare resale scams continue. Scammers repeatedly find different approaches to work their scams on unsuspecting and/or unprepared owners.

Scammers Target Timeshare Exchange and Rental Companies 

It's not just the sellers that are targets, but apparently exchange and rental sites can be targeted too. RedWeek recently uncovered a scam resale company that stole most of its site's website design.  The company even had a photo on their site of their so-called sales team that turned out to be stolen and photo-shopped. RedWeek has even heard of scammers who claim to be RedWeek when calling timeshare owners, and refer the owners to the RedWeek site for verification.  RedWeek does not solicit over the phone and urges owners who experience this, to actually call the company independently to verify.

Florida TV Station Uncovers $38,000 Resale Scam

A recent resale scam in Orlando, Florida, uncovered by WFTV's action news team, led to a company with worldwide in its name also. Worldwide Resort Exchange may be involved in one of the biggest timeshare resale scam the news group has ever discovered. A Colorado man, Tom Flynn says he and his daughter lost $38,000 to four central Florida companies that claimed they could sell his timeshare. Says Flynn, "They promise you anything. They had done their homework." Flynn and his daughter ended up paying the companies fees ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 because they were convinced that their timeshare was sold after being given the buyers names. Before they realized they had been scammed, they were out $38,000.
The Flynns told WFTV that they believed that one of the companies involved in the scam was Worldwide Resort Exchange in Lake Mary, Florida. When a reporter confronted the manager of the company about the Flynn's claims, the manager claimed he was a victim too, and that scammers were using the company name to rip off consumers. According to Lake Mary police, Worldwide Resort Exchange has filed several complaints saying someone used its name to cheat customers. Police are investigating those complaints. WFTV tracked down other companies the Flynn's had mentioned and found fake addresses for them, and one company that had closed.

What's a Reseller to Do?

The FTC in conjunction with partners from federal, state and international law enforcement, has made timeshare resale scams a multinational effort. They currently are involved with 191 actions against companies scamming timeshare property owners and travel prizes. For those trying to avoid resale scams here are the FTC's 5 tips:

  1. Check out the company before you agree to pay them any money.
  2. Deal only with licensed real estate brokers and agents.
  3. Get all terms in writing before you agree to anything.
  4. Consider doing business only with a company that gets paid after the timeshare is sold.
  5. Be alert to a repeat scam.

ARDA and ARDA-ROC Advocates for Timeshare Owners

ARDA has joined forces with the FTC to educate consumers about scams in the secondary market. Says president and CEO of ARDA, Howard Nusbaum, "We have advocated for owners in 14 states this year, all the way from Arkansas to West Virginia, with the thrust of our efforts focused on providing specific guidelines related to resale and transfer company legislation."

Owners can check out those guidelines and educate themselves about the various scams and ways to avoid them, by going to the ARDA-ROC website and clicking on Timeshare Resale Resource Center. The site has resale legislative and regulatory activity information to help owners avoid misleading resale and marketing companies. The site also addresses owner concerns and provides information and guidance on all aspects of the resale process from buying to selling.

1 Response
  1. Ann Moore Says:

    There was a time when timeshares became popular because they offered the opportunity to have ensured vacations each year for the rest of your life. Nowadays, timeshares have a terrible reputation and every day there are more timeshare properties that go back on the market.

Post a Comment