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

Thank you people,
I was contacted by R-5 to sell tine share, but it looks deal is not going to go ahead because of all your inputs

Does anyone have info on Regal Marketing, OK. Sounds like the same "scam" referred to by others/

Yep, was contacted also by "Regal Marketing", offering to rent a few weeks from us at Vidanta (Grand Luxxe). They too asked for maintenance fee for the weeks (which our 'hotel' was supposed to receive), and once we put that into escrow (both companies have nice looking websites, and no complaints turned up on BBB about them), they asked for 25% tax for mexican gov't. They provide all sorts of official -looking paperwork. But the person they said I could contact at Vidanta that they were working with was not employed there. I won't give them any more $$!

Did anyone got a call from www. trip-mx. com with a offer to buy their membership? I am a member of UVC and got an offer to buy out my membership for a lot of money. They had all of my info, which I am concern with. Someone in my club must have sold it to them.

Yes, was recently contacted also. I suspect they have a list of many members. They contacted my cell phone number, asked for my email address to send a proposal to buy out our membership. I suspect it’s a scam because the proposal has our membership type and name, with a deal quoted too good to be true. They want us to return the copy signed along with our contract page. They have called back twice to see if we’re interested. It’s definitely an outfit run out of Mexico.

Has anyone ever heard of or dealt with DeRemate?

Has anyone heard of Sugar Creek Property Investments and St Johns Escrow?? Seems too good to be true as they have offered a substantial amount for our Mexican timeshare. Nothing has been signed & no money sent, just want to know if anyone has had any dealings with these companies.

Did you check the companies with any government agencies? If a company calls you and offers to sell your timeshare, read the FTC tips about selling a timeshare. Here's the first tip:

In the middle of a deal with both of them. Do not sign anything. I wish I knew then what I know now. I am almost positive I will be loosing over 10,000. I took a chance because it was a local realtor. Be prepare for surprise after surprise with a penalty if you don't keep sending just a little more that will be refundable at closing which never comes because they need to pay one more tax. When you can't come up with more then you have violated the contract and owe the realtor a fee.

So far St Johns has come back 7 times with surprise additional amounts due after promising we were ready to close. If I back out I loose all tax and fees already wired to Mexico plus you will be billed by realtor and seller for backing out of contract.

Could you please provide your contact info? I have also been defrauded by both Sugar Creek and St. John’s Escrow and would like to compare notes.

Just talked to the actual broker who's name and license number are being used by Sugar Creek. They have been impersonating him. St Johns website is closed....Scam
I have recordings of all calls if anyone wants to go after Sugar Creek. I will be logging complaints starting asap.

You can help law enforcement by reporting this to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don’t go into the law enforcement database.

I was first contacted with an offer from Rock River Partners firm (scam) and most recently contacted by the Golden Asia Realty. I can't find much on them but I'm guessing this is yet another scam. They just sent me a welcome letter that they are presenting all my info at their sales meeting, ironically later today and, if accepted, they'll provide a Buyer's Purchase offer. Has anyone been contacted by them?

I have been contacted be Golden Asia Realty for a Grand Luxx timeshare. Financial transactions (transfer fee to Mexico)are thru an escrow company (Nations Capital, Inc.). All was going well until yesterday when a "red flag" appeared. They said Mexico wanted more tax money when earlier I was told nothing up front except transfer fee. Receipt from Mexico was received. All telephone numbers on web site appear legit. If it is a scam, it is quite elaborate. I'm still trying to find independent verification as to the legitimacy of Golden Asia Realty. Suggestions??

I was contacted by Golden Asia Realty multiple times, when I asked them to send me the company and the agent license numbers, they said yes and I haven't heard back from them since!
They were contacting me once a week initially when I showed interest.

Golden Asia realty is still trying to get money from me. It went from Mexican federal tax to city tax to transcribing fees and now customs has Confiscated all fees that were in escrow. And customs says they want some money. No way to verify the Mexican contacts. all done through Citibank in Mexico.

I take it that you have a unit at the Grand Luxx at the Grand Mayani in Mexico. Someone contacted me 3 months ago also. Did they make you sign a Purchase Offer which showed the buyer’s Offer? After signing, did it get followed with a contract from the escrow company Nations Capital Title, Inc stating they they will be holding the funds for you? After signing both documents, did you also get a Bank Statement from the Cross Border (CB) dept. of Citibanamex, located in Mexico City? Did you try to, at least, Google the websites of Golden Asia Realty (GAR), Nations Capital Title (NCTI), Inc & Citibanamex (CitiM)? Did you try to call the phone # NCTI provided should you have any questions about the CB acct at CitiM? I asked all these questions because I did all of them and then some more. I have been scammed 3 times for more than $7,000.00 in the past 15 years when I was trying to sell my Florida Timeshare. I promised myself that I will NEVER put myself again in that vulnerable situation making me a good target of scammers. Actually, I have been contacting Vidanta on how I could legitimately sell my property which I am in dyer need so I could pay my medical expenses and accumulated debts. That’s why, when someone from GAR contacted me last January 2018, I have been diligently checking, verifying & confirming all their information and I have been reviewing every step with skepticism & vigilance. All that said, my agent, Mr. MS, from GAR had sent me the Sales Agreement detailing the terms & conditions of this transaction with a summarizing the all the datas about my timeshare & the buyer’s offer including, the current Appraised Value of my property, my agent’s 9% commission (or Transfer Fee) and amount of the permit fee I will need to pay the Mexican government’s Dept. Of Economy. I spent a lot of time questiong the reason why I had to pay this permit fee & how. I was told that I could go to the Mexican Consulate or Embassy to pay such permit. However, that is not a good option for me because I am permanently disabled, hence my inability to take advantage of my timeshare. The other option is to fly to Mexico myseld to pay the permit to them directly. The other option (the most feasible but most questionable, as well) is to sign a LIMITED Power of Attorney (LPA) assigning my rep from NCTI to pay the permit on my behalf. I confirmed from her that paying by Credit Card is definitely NOT AN OPTION. She adviced me that sending it to her via WIRE TRANFER will be most efficient & fastest way to do it. At this point, I have yet to sign the Sales Agreement from (GAR). Once they have received it, NCTI will be sending me their Contract of Insurability, meaning, should anything goes bad, NCTI is responsible for the efficacy of my contract with GAR and my rights is insured for $20,000.00 which should cover the 9% commission of my GAR agent and the Mexican permit fee that I will pay via wire transfer prior to FUNDING the sale. I forgot to mention that I spoke directly to the Cross Border bank manager of CitiM in Mexico City, Mr. AG. I explained to him that I received a stmt of acct from NCTI on behalf of Citibanamex that I wanted to verify it’s legitimacy. He asked for my identity, the CB number on the stmt, and my cross border ID #. After locating my account, he confirmed to me the exact amount he saw on their network/system of how much GAR’s BUYER deposited as payment for my property, to the penny. Again, I didn’t give him the amount. He verified the amount in their system that’s deposited under my name. I also failed to mention that GAR’s research dept. was the one who verified that I am the bonafied and legitimate true owner of the specified unit as described on the Sales Agreement. It also stated that should the transaction not push through like if the buyer drop the purchase, that I am guaranteed to receive 50% of the full sales offer.

All that said, did you go through ALL of these steps? With your comments, it was not clear to me if you have actually released any funds? And if you did, did you you do it yourself by going to the embassy yourself or did you also sign an LPA to an agent of NCTI?

I actually sent your blogs to my agent at GAR to intimidate him with the hope that if he is truly a scammer, that he will disappear for fear of being reported. This way, he will know how serious I am to find out if they are scamming me. He told me that in the 12 years that he had been the company (GAR has been in business since 1993 and NCTI for 25 years), he’s not heard of any colleague who got involved in such transaction especially that your comment was posted Feb. 18 & March 16 of 2018. That’s three days ago. Don’t get me wrong... my skepticism is still on VERY HIGH ALERT. Every communication and transactions so far had been through email and via telephone. Hence, after almost 3 months, I still have yet to sign the Sales Agreement. I am very gun shy putting my signature on that binding contact which I read line by line. What caught my eye most in your contract was the part where you mentioned that you were asked to pay the Mexican fedral tax, then the city tax then transcribing fees. And now, the Mexican customs CONFISCATED all the FEES (?) that were in escrow? WHOA! If it is what I understood happened, I don’t want to be in the same predicament either. May I ask... what are the fees in escrow that the Customs of Mexico confiscated? Because from what I saw in the Bank Stmt the NCTI sent to me, the only amount they are holding on my behalf is the full amount of the Purchase Offer of my property at Vidanta.

You mentioned in the beginning that you owned a property in the Grand Luxx. That definitely is one of the most expensive and exclusive properties of Vidanta. My GAR agent commented that what could be happening that the Mexican government know that the value of your property is extremely high (100% more expensive than mine) which could insinuate your social status??? Could it be possible that they are just out to get you and “milk” as much as they could from you??? Just a thought. Good Luck to the both us.

Thank so much for sharing your blogs. It took me a while to find one that is most similar to what I am going through. All I found are those from hamair and Sami. You will both do me a GREAT FAVOR if you could please answer all my questions. I understand that there are a number of them. I will forever appreciate your feedbacks. Thank you and take care.

It's important to get information from independant sources and not rely only on information from the reseller. You can contact your state Attorney General and ask if they have information about the company. You could search online for the company name and the word "review" or "scam." You could look for information about the government, real estate or banking system of Mexico. Read this FTC article about Timeshares and Vacation plans for more information.

When you send money by wire transfer, it's like sending cash. Once the money is gone, you can't reverse the transaction.

same situation for me, but a different company that goes by the name of Network Brokerage corporation, we were contacted by them Last November, the offer looks too good to be true... shelled out money for the "taxes" and customs clearance fees. The money was in Escrow by a company called CCW holdings based in NY city. Now everything is in probate court in Mexico City, all of my funds have been frozen. Looks like CTIBANAMEX is involved in this scam... Still looking for legal recourse to recover our money...

Lots of calls from NY Silver City Properties. Been through two different agents. Wanting to buy my timeshare in Cabo for big bucks. Gotta be a scam. Nobody is going to pay that much for a timeshare.

Today I received an acceptance letter from R-5 Anthony J. Sena.. When he called I started asking questions about their license. They quoted me a full week studio amount which is not the timeshare I own. He had to contact his people to see if the price would be the same. I told him I need a license number and proof of business numbers so I would know it is not a scam. Well as one can guess, I have not heard back from him. Be smart do not give out any information. Crooks are ready and waiting for more people to prey upon. Don't bother contacting me- if and when I want to sell I will call a licensed real estate broker. Also, on the topic of timeshares be careful they are hard to get rid of if you no longer want them.

I was just contacted by the same person, to good to be true!! Looks official but hasn’t given me any licensing information, Anthony Sena, double check people.

Has anyone dealt with Sugar Creek Property Investments and St Johns Escrow service?? Why would a real estate company use an out of state escrow service?

I too have been offered a sale thro these companies. Seem too good to be true They want $3350.00 transfer fees up front? I am skepical.

Was approached by Bluelight Realty Management Group LLC-333 Hudson St. New York, NY 10013 to buy our travel club membership for unbelievable amount. Buyer to pay escrow fee for escrow account, buyer to pay federal tax in mexico, American Finance-New York in charge of escrow account with Citibanamex in Mexico City. New ammendment for us to send payment $4,298 US for RFC # Mexican Federal ID#,?? Yes, did this, got copy for our RFC approved with copy of supposed buyer paid Mexican federal tax. Now new request is that we have to sent $8,298 US to Mexico for the 15% Quintana Roo state tax, which is to be reimbursed from buyer to escrow account but want more money upfront from us??? What to do?? Anyone have more information on Bluelight whether scam or real? Really not feeling the love so if anyone can provide information or who to contact? Thanks

Did you check the companies with any government agencies? If a company calls you and offers to sell your timeshare, read the FTC tips about selling a timeshare. Here's the first tip:

Yep. Identical to my story with Silver City. Not paying more.

It seems they all do the same. The company name may change but everything else is the same. If you pay the 15% tax then the next fee they want to charge is a new legislation for registering timeshares. It doesn't stop. All to be paid by buyer. I have been dealing with Silvercity properties as well as American finance. Don Campbell from Silvercity and Benjamin Carmon at American finance. Now that I have read more and more about this, I feel like an idiot for paying them. I have refused any more and told them to take it out of the escrow account. Waiting for there reply. Should be interesting to hear what they say.

I called the security office (518-462-5626) of the building address of 80 State Street, Albany, NY, where American Finance states is their location. The officer said that agency is not located in that building, then she immediately asked if I’m trying to “serve papers.” Guess I’m not the first person to ask.

I’m unable to confirm that the Rochester address for Silver City Properties is legitimate. According to New York realty license website that agency is officially located in New York City at Beekman Apartments. The agent listed on the license, A.G. Silver, apparently moved out in 2016 according to public records.

Further checking indicates the address Silver City Properties uses, 347 E Main St, Rochester, is not currently active. The entire building is now occupied by the NY State Dept of Health, and the street number for the entire building is now 335. Perhaps in the past a door at the corner of the building carried the number 347, but now that’s an entrance to an HIV clinic. No realty offices are in the building according to the Dept of Health.

Checking public records shows that adding “c/o Corporation Services” below American Finance will give the complete address on 80 State Street. It’s an agency on the 10th floor that handles corporate mail and other business services.

I am also contacted by Peter Lane from SilverCity Properties asking to send $2436.00 to get the TAX ID of Mexico, which raises red flag to me, they said the total amount will be refunadable but why can't they pay upfront or withdrw it from Escrow after the transaction.

I too have been dealing with Silver City and American Finance - same story about taxes, fees, etc. Where are you now in the process? Did they get back to you on your last request?

I notices they are not at the Albany address for American Finance and that the Citibanamex attorneys are not listed in a listing of attornies in Mexico.

I was contacted by the same company. Did you hear anything about them? Seems fishy.

Regarding the 15% State sales tax in Quintana Roo that the seller must pay? My sales agent at the timeshare I own in Cancun says that’s not true and just part of the scam. I’ve searched all over the internet and can’t find such a tax exists either.

After being contacted by a purported “government agent for SAT in Mexico (who never E-mailed me his credentials like he said he would),” explaining the dire consequences of not paying the 15% Quintana Roo sales taxes, I contacted an English speaking lawyer in Mexico who stated he gets about 10 clients per week regarding this. He stated it’s all totally a fraud, and I should report all this info to PROFECO, the consumer protection agency in Mexico. That agency is easily found on google.

We have exactly the same situation, same property and people/company involved.

R5 Realty has done the same to me. We own El Cid points sand the offer was too goo do be true. I checked with New Mexico and finally found a doc. at the Secretary of State that this biz was defunct.

Can I ask where you found the document? R5 gave me a call yesterday and today they've emailed me an offer letter. Like you said it's too good to be true...and I've been reading all sorts of things online which has convinced me it's a scam...but I was just curious what this document looks like. I'd appreciate it of you can point me in the right direction!

Has anyone dealt with Sugar Creek Property Investments and St Johns Escrow service?? Why would a real estate company use an out of state escrow service?

I did check with the state, the agent is active but the company is not registered with the NC real estate commission. Still curious why they would use an out of state escrow service.

Another scam business--Nationwide Settlement Solutions 420 S. Enterprise, Missouri phone no. 417-812-6593..Will not remove from calling list or mailing; very abusive....

Has anyone been scammed by Royal Star Properties out of Portland Oregon? They have contacted me hoping to buy weeks at Mayan Palace Riviera Maya, 15 weeks for $42,000. Sounds too good to be true.

I was contacted by a broker named Peter J Lang (1-866-380-6297 Ext.691) from Silver City Properties. He said he had a buyer who was willing to pay me $109,00.00 for my timeshare at the GRAND Mayan in Nuevo Vallarta. He claimed my timeshare was appraised at $109,000, over three times the amount I paid for. He stated that there were no fees upfront and that the buyer would be paying for the title transfer and the escrow fees. All I would have to pay is 6% brokerage fee. I was then contacted by Benjamin Carmona who claimed he worked for American Finance SLP, LLC, a title/escrow company. He sent me a Citibanamex form to fill out. I did some research and discovered that Silver City Properties' listed address on their website (347 E. Main St. Suite 301, Rochester NY 14604) does not exist. If you Google the address, go to street view it shows a building with a door. However, if you check the BB they are not rated and mail was returned. The building Google street view is showing is an apartment complex. The escrow company states address of 8o State Street however a call to property management reported no such tenant in the building. Escrow application is in Spanish was a red flag. I am pretty sure this is a scam this is a scam.

Just contacted the Properties office for Monroe County, NYS, and they have confirmed that no business by the name of Silver City Properties is registered in the county, and that there is no 347 E. Main St; as mentioned above, the building shown by Google Maps is actually addressed on East Ave. I'm currently contacting the State AG's office to see about filing a complaint; anyone who has actually seen damages due to this company should contact them as well.

If this is in fact a scam, then they will know what to do next.

I was also contacted by the same people, and after reading all these incidents reported I am very sure this a scam, thanks for sharing your experience.

I just confirmed with New Mexico Real Estate Commission (505) 222-9820 (ask for lead investigator Lin Carter or his assistant Jill) that this is a scam. Its a variation of the Nigerian Prince scam.
They offered to buy my time share for more than it was purchased for. They then set up what looks like a legitimate escrow. At the end, before they close, they tell you to send them money for taxes or commission. Bye Bye money.
Remember, if it's too good to be true... IT IS A SCAM!

Had many conversations with Ryan Manley of Golden Asia Realty, offered me $130,000 for a timeshare that we paid $41,000 for. After further discussion, Ryan said they would need to reappraise, and then offered $233,000; when asked why anyone would want to spend that much money when they could just buy it for $41,000, Ryan said 'for tax purposes.' I asked many times if there would be any upfront money, and he kept telling me no. Even though we knew he must be full of...crap, we kept talking to him. He sent a lot of official looking paperwork, we were contacted by Nations Capital Inc., a title insurance company. The girl there told me all I had to do was send $5,200 for the RFC number (in order to pay the Mexico taxes), then the closing could be set. I called Ryan back and told him we would NOT be sending them any money, and he said it was necessary for the number. I reminded him that he said we would not need to send any money. He said that we could go to Mexico ourselves and get the number; I told him that would not be happening either. He said that I'd either have to get the number myself or send them the money for it. I again told him that I would not be doing either of those things, he asked why I wouldn't want $233,000. I said that if he could figure out how to get the number with no money from us, then go for it. I haven't heard from him since. (I was also told by our timeshare that there is no tax due in Mexico.) I still have all the paperwork they sent. I'm thankful that we had we are slightly suspicious by nature and sent them no money.

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