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Be on the lookout for timeshare resale phonies

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The FTC and state consumer protection agencies have shut down dishonest timeshare resellers for bilking timeshare owners out of millions of dollars. If you’re selling a timeshare, listen carefully for the promise of lots of money quickly and a request for an upfront fee. Those are two key signs of timeshare resale scam — and someone you don’t want to do business with.     

In one recent case, Vacation Property Services claimed to represent big-name companies eager to buy timeshares for business travel and events. The company guaranteed timeshare owners hefty returns if they moved quickly on the offer. But first, the company said the owner had to pay from $500 to $2,000, via credit card, in “registration” and other fees to seal the deal.

Timeshare Resale Scams Infographic

Timeshare Resale Scams
Infographic

The company’s promises of ready buyers, fast sales, big profits and money-back guarantees turned out to be lies. What’s more, the timeshare owners were stuck with debt on their credit cards from paying the “fee” after the company told them that the sale would be complete — and that they’d have their money — by the time the credit card bill came.

If you own a timeshare, question any offers to help you resell it. Be skeptical of companies that:

  • claim the market in your area is “hot” and that they’re “overwhelmed” with buyer requests
  • say they have buyers ready to purchase your timeshare — or promise to sell your timeshare within a specific time
  • guarantee you’ll get big returns on your resale
  • require you to pay fees upfront — even if there’s the promise of a “money-back guarantee”
  • don’t provide a contract — or provide a contract that doesn’t accurately reflect conversations you had   

Read about buying and selling a timeshare, or check out our infographic to see how timeshare resale scams typically work.

Tagged with: scam, travel
Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Comments

HI there, was the little company called " Emerald title and Escrow llc" by chance?

What do you know about Emeraldtittleandescrowllc ? I am currently in a contract with them and have paid up front ,they promise to repay . Address is Montgomery AL and Clara Fergusen is the escrow officer.

Did anyone reply to you yet? They called me today and are made an offer of $41k....sounds way to good to be true!

I got a call from the same group, Royal Travel Group. I tried to get information on them using the Atlanta Better Business Bureau. I can't find any information. I am not going to do business with them .

Thank you so very much. Saved me from a potential disaster.

I have had the exact same M O from Genesis Investment Properties Inc. and Sigma. They want a REFUNDABLE SRE permit fee of >$5000.00 sent through Sigma (David Silve) to BANAMEX bank in Mexico. Thank you Michael for the fraudulent
"Heads up". Another-if it sounds to good, it isn't!!

I am dealing with them too, but when it came to the fees up front for Gov't, etc. I said my lawyer would be looking after that. They said no problem & rewrote the contract. So no money up front. How else can they get you?

i am unclear...did you pay the transfer fees mentioned in the 1st paragraph? did you finally receive your net proceeds? all in one lump sum or over time? any further issues?

Genesis and Sigma are definitely a scam. I went all the way to the point where they asked me to wire transfer money to an individual in Mexico. They have VERY official looking documents and even sent me a (very poorly done) Mexican credential for the "attorney" who needed the wire. The agent from Genesis stole the identity of a reputable real estate agent in California. You should always be wary of ANY up-front requests for money. I talked to someone at the FTC and they said that any offer for a profitable sale on a timeshare should always be a red flag.

I was contacted by phone on interest in selling "points" in Fiesta Americana Vacation Club, and they GENESIS INVESTMENT PROPERTIES INC.,confirmed to me my points.correctly. I agreed to email me a quote. This was promptly sent and offer was 3-4X what I paid. Next enters SIGMA INC. the ESCROW COMPANY David Silva was the contact. Then comes the "deal breaker", wanting me to wire over $5000.00 to BANAMEX in Mexico City. for the SRE, making it legal for a non Mexican to sell property in Mexico. I told them no way was I wiring money, that would have been reimbursed at closing, without proof. They then said the money from the buyer was in escrow already and no changes could be made. This went round and round, talking with probably 10 different people and all but one seemed very professional.
They are a SCAM - DO NOT WIRE ANY MONEY. GENESIS INVESTMENT PROPERTIES I NC. and SIGMA (Escrow Services) just use reputable companies web sites with a slight name difference. And now, reading of these other scams, it is clear how they get more money from you once you start - buy more fees. My bank looked at the wiring instructions and said IT SMELLS OF A SCAM! As did everyone else I asked. I, by this write up, will contact the FTC to try to put a stop on these fake companies. Hopefully this information will save another person from loosing any money, and thank the others that saved me from any loses. These scammers have no passion for anyone, and are good at what they do. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. BEWARE!

Thanks to all who posted about Genesis and Sigma - I was very close to paying $4000 for whatever the the SRe is to sell my property in Mexico - but my timeshare goes by points and I don't own any property to sell - which was weird. Then they said I could go to the Mexican consulate or use my own laywer but if I went through Sigma then they would reimburse me the full $4000. I was hesitant and suspicious since the first call but that's when I put on the brakes.

Be careful out there - there are some awful people that prey off of good honest people.

i got a call from Premium Internation Vacations, inc out of Texas - wanted to give me a lot of money for my timeshare - all i had to do was send $4000 to Mexico via wire - obviously a SCAM

I have a guy from Premium International Vactions By the name of Michael Owens giving me an offer of 37,891.00 USD. No money upfront has been discussed yet, But I will post more as time goes on...I signed the GUARANTEED RESALE OFFER so let's see exactly what this scam is if any.

I was contacted by a different company but same type of situation. They sent me a contract but I have been checking various websites regarding validity. Contact me and let me know what transpired from your ordeal. Thank you.

I curious to know what happened. Did they follow through? Was it a scam?

Hello, How was it? Cuold you share me your experience? because I have now the same offer. Thaks

I would really like to know if you find out anything about this co. I am trying to find out if anyone know's anything about Resort Marketing Solutions out of Mexico. I have a time share that I got SCAMMED INTO in 2012 and I am trying to find someone that is honest to help me get rid of it.

Did this turn out to be a scam

We received something similar, can you tell me please what happened at the end?? We signed a contract with them

I received an offer to sell my timeshare. It is called "Resale Letter of Intent", giving me an offer of $39,000 for the timeshare. There is no money upfront. The only money to be paid is a 6%commission to be subtracted from the proceeds. No other fees or anything. Looked them up and there is nothing derogatory on their website. BBB had no complaints against them. What should I think about this?

Received same type of offer from AMG Inc for our Gand Bahia resorts timeshare so I am wondering how you made out with this? Did you sell and who was it that contacted you?

This sounds identical to what I have received. What was the result in your case. Company in mine is ADS Realty LLC with and escrow co. Contract Escrow LLC.

I just got off the phone with Mike Owens from Premium International Vacations, And as suspected they wanted 10% up front. I said to talk to someone there about getting any monies up front this way the Attorney General And Federal Trade Commission will not have to get involved, He said he would talk to me later...But insisted that this is the way it is done....Really Is that what everyone here thinks?

I just got a call from Michael Owens offerring $174,000 for my Nuevo Vallarta property timeshare, but no upfront fee. I would need to pay the timeshare developer/resort owner a transfer fee of 5 times my annual maintenance fee when it closes and a 7% commission when it closes.

I just received a resale contract from American Travel Plaza. I need to pay 8% commission when it closes. Is this a scam?

I got one too from this group. It prompted me to google the company and was led to this Blog.

received a call from Financial Intelligence group same deal 8% commission for visitors /investors in Mexico for a huge expansion project, they are in California Does anyone have answers>

Financial Intelligence Group for me too. Wanted to buy my membership for large expansion project. I haven't found anything expect this. Is this real?

Anyone find out anything more about the Financial Intelligence Group? My friend has been promised almost $30,000 but they asked for one fee after another and now it's almost $14,000 in fees!! I'm very suspicious!

I also received a contract and it is signed by Mark E. Newman

FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE AND BLUE RIVER ARE SCAMMERS! Don't fall for this! It cost us $12K and we are working our bank to try to recoup the wire transfers! BIG SCAM! Also, for those who are scammed contact the FBI and your local ATTORNEY GENERAL both in your own state and Financial Intelligence is located! Let's catch these crooks taking advantage of hard working people!

I have been working with Property Management and Investment Group, Inc (PMIG) with similar offer: contract to be signed for over 200K put in escrow for Nueva Vallarta. have to pay 10 times maintenance fee or 17K out of pocket. This is the only up front but seems to good to be true. any others out there dealing with PMIG or the escrow company Stewartstitle

Read the article about timeshares and vacation plans for  information about selling a timeshare through a reseller.

To start, don’t agree to anything by phone or online until you check out the reseller. Contact the state Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the reseller is located. Ask if there are complaints are on file. You also can search online for complaints.

Also, ask if the reseller’s agents are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. Then verify that with the state Real Estate Commission. Deal only with licensed real estate brokers and agents. Get references from satisfied clients.

Thanks Bridget for this information. I called the Corporation Section at the TX Secretary of State office to see if this company, S&M Investment Inc is registered. The company has been registered since 2007 and The Consumer Protection Office had no complaints about the company. I still am a little leary as it sounds too good to go to be true. They called stating they don't require any upfront money but prior to closing they will need $1,980.00 to do the owner verification and ensure there's no lien against the property. The money is supposed to be refunded at closing. This just seems kind of odd especially since it has to be wired. I am going to ask if the money can be sent certified with a cashiers check. They aren't listed on the BBB and I can't find anything on the web about dealings with the company. They do have a generic website. I will still pry around because I am not comfortable. One good thing is that I have friends in the area where the company is supposed to be located so I can have them do the transactions for me in person. Any suggestions at this point from anyone?

Find a local Escrow company that you can walk into their offices. Then insist that they use your escrow company to do the transaction. Watch how fast they disappear when you do this. Or how many excuses they have to use their "escrow" company. You are dealing with scammers. Walk away! FAST~

This company has been pursuing me with a deal where they will wire $36,900 +$4690 to my bank account, or send certified cheque, but it's looking like they want me to pay the $4690 up front first for arrears in maintenance fees. A person from Stewarts Titles in Guadalajara contacted me with a website etc. I haven't gone forward on this.

I am in same situation with PMIG. Did your resale go through successfully; i.e., did you get the funds you expected to receive?

we are also in a dealing with PMIG Inc. offered an over inflated price 3x the amount we paid. Now they want us to deal with Stewart Title. Can anyone weigh in on these two companies?

Do not know of these companies.
But would like to know of a company in California called Resort Transfer and Title Exchange.

I got very similar offer. Sounds like a scam. They changed title companies since the first contact.

Andrew17, what happened with this "no fee upfront" offer? My parents have been offered a higher price for their Nuevo Vallarta property too with same no free up front.
Thanks!

Hi! I just recived a call from Premium International Vacations asking me for the sale of my timeshare.
What happen with you and your timeshare, they really bought it?

Has anyone heard of Vacation Marketing, Inc or the "escro and title company" Closing Escro, LLC? They contacted me wanting to buy my weeks with Bahia Principe resorts and have a contract that looks legit (even had a lawyer look at it and he said it did) but there is no way this can be legit. They want me to pay a 10% transfer fee to that they say is required to come from my bank and it is to be wired to Mexico. Anyway, I had signed a contract before I realized the transfer fee was to be wired to mexico so I am not going through with it. It said in the contract I had to pay them 6% commission if I backed out but since this seems to be a scam I am assuming I can get out of this...any advice on the situation?

Did you get any where regarding Vacation Marketing, Inc. and Closing Escrow, LLC? We are in the middle of the situation and sadly I believe we have been taken for several $K. 354

The time-share reseller, "Premium Marketing International", based in Orlando, FL, claims they should be able to sell my time-share within 90 days. I cannot find any complaints about them..are there any??

This FTC article about timeshares and vacation plans has information about timeshare exchanges and resale. To see what other people say about the company, type the company name and the word 'complaints' into the search bar on your computer. Contact your state and local consumer protection agencies to ask about the company.

Oldman75, what happened with Premium Marketing International? They just contacted us with the same story and want 845$ up front. Which we haven't given them. Told us they were BBB approved. I went to their site, their links do not work. I went to the BBB link on their site and it was the "online BBB", which I'm now going to Google.

It's important to check out a reseller, especially if you think it has given you mis-information about being approved.

This FTC article about timeshares and vacation property has tips. For example, don’t agree to anything on the phone or online until you check the reseller with your state Attorney General, your local consumer protection agency, and the consumer protection agency in the state where the reseller is located. Ask if the agencies have complaints are on file. You also can search for complaints online by typing the company name and the word "complaints" or "reviews" into the search bar on your computer.

This co is a scam....over 50 complaints documented! Want 4000 up front...promised but no results.. Read all the cases! Beware¡!!!!!

Please be aware that this company does NOT exist at all!! They stole my company's address of 12003 S. Pulaski Rd. Alsip,, IL 60803. How did I get so lucky to have Vacation Resort Experts scam others using my address? Not too lucky as I have had to deal with countless people coming into my store and writing asking about this company. I have warned as many people as I can that Vacation Resort Experts is a fake/scam company set out to steal your money!! Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT send them any money as you will lose your money. You should not have to pay to sell your time share ... that is your first clue that they are scammers. You would not get a phone call to sell your time share ... that is your second clue. We took our time and found out that Vacation Resort Experts is a scam coming out of Mexico. Other than that, we do not know who they are. Their website has been pulled down now, but the pictures, names and addresses on there were ALL FAKE!! Be aware and do not fall prey to their scam. They have now changed their name to Vacation Reservation Experts, but they are still using my store's address to run their scams!! Beware! They have a new website, too by the name Vacation Reservation Experts, but they are running the same scam -- to defraud people out of their money.

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