Today the FTC and federal, state, and international law enforcement partners announced 191 recent actions against companies scamming travelers and timeshare property owners. Many of the cases — including the FTC’s — involved timeshare resale scams.
How the Timeshare Resale Scams Worked
In each case, after an owner of a timeshare paid a reseller who promised to have interested buyers for the timeshare property, the owner found out there was no buyer — and couldn’t get a refund, either.
5 Tips to Avoid a Timeshare Resale Scam
Before you sign someone up to sell your timeshare:
- Check out the company before you agree to pay them any money. See if the Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the company’s home state have complaints, then search online by entering the company name and the word “complaints” or “scam.”
- Deal only with licensed real estate brokers or agents. Check with the Real Estate Commission in the state where your timeshare is located to make sure the company has a current license.
- Get all terms in writing before you agree to anything. That includes services the company will perform; timing of the sale; fees and commissions; and cancellation and refund policies. If a company says you have to act now or you might miss out on a buyer, it’s not a company you want to do business with.
- Consider doing business only with a company that gets paid after the timeshare is sold. Don’t wire money or pay in cash.
- Be alert to a repeat scam. If you were scammed once by a timeshare reseller, another scammer might offer to help get your money back — for a fee. Legitimate companies don’t ask you to pay before you’ve gotten your money back.