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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.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages
Scam Tags:  Rental & Housing Scams

Comments

I have been contacted by R-5 in the last couple of weeks and been talking to an Andrew Perris. I am getting the same information about a buyer trying to gain controlling interest. I told them to send me an offer and it came back more than I paid. I did not sign the letter of intent or send any documents. I did give them my contract number since he told me they could look up my membership annual points, what I have banked and my maintenance fee cost to give me a better offer. No request for money has been made and he told me the buyer will pay the closing cost and also the transfer fee required by the contract. I have not heard back yet from Mr. Perris. I am curious what resort in Cancun that those being approached by R-5 Realty own. I own at Villa del Palmer. I did check out their website but not much information.

Since my last post I have since been called by R-5 Realty again but this time by a Ralph Pena. I didn't inform him that I had previously been contacted my Andrew Perris. I told him to go ahead and send me an offer and to my surprise it was $45,000 above the one I got the first time for the same property. On a follow up call I asked if he knew of Andrew Perris since they supposedly work in the same office. And of course he didn't. I also asked how the process works and if any money is required up front and he told me no that an escrow would be set up that the sale money would be deposited into then in 15 days I would have to pay them a 6% sales commission. This definitely smells like a scam. Thanks everyone for your post on R-5 realty.

R-5 REALTY IS A SCAM!! We talked to someone in the New Mexico Atty General's office in Albuquerque. He was so awesome, that he offered to take a walk downtown to the address listed for R-5: 600 Central Ave, SW. Here is his reply: "There is no office at that address; there is no license listed for them at the Board of Realtors or at the Real Estate Commission; they are not registered with the Secretary of State".
Well, that ends that for us. It was a great offer for our timeshare, which WAS too good to be true. We would have loved to sell it at that price because we know resales generally sell at waaay below value.
But here's another thing: We were dealing with Theresa Arias at R-5 and since I asked for her Realtor License number, which she agreed to send me a few days ago, I have not heard from her.
A man from same company has been talking to my husband and sent us another letter of acceptance - why doesn't the left hand know what the right hand is doing? How can 2 people from the same office be representing the same timeshare?
What I don't like is the fact that they can get our timeshare info from public records. How many other calls are we going to get?
Be careful, people. Do your due diligence and investigate anyone offering to buy at high prices, or anyone at all, and tell your timeshare friends about this terrific blog. I have never before read any blogs or been apart of one, but I am so grateful. Thank you, everyone, for all your posts. It helped alert us to all this fraud going on.

R-5 a Mr Perris contacted me and offer to buy my time share, needless to say I got taken for over six thousand dollars. Now they want over thirteen thousand plus their commission. I ask for their Lic No, and references to no avail. How ever they are thretting me with my signed aggreement. Not anwsering their calls. ANDREW A PERRIS, MIGUEL RIVERA, ZHOU CHEN, AND DAVE FROM ESCROW MANAGEMENT INC AND R-5 ARE ALL INVOLVE. Contacting FBI (202)324-3000. IF ANYBODY GETS A CALL FROM THIS INHUMAN BEINGS CALL THE FBI SOONEST.

Advanced Merchant Services, LLC at 113 Elm St in Cincinnati, Ohio contacted us about 2 weeks ago regarding out UVC membership...I smelled the BS after the second email when the sender didn't match the signer on the email. Al Baker sent the email, but the correspondence was signed Stanley Watkins...IDIOTS. I also googled the address which is a multi-unit building but Advanced Merchant Services cheap looking and very vague website does not list a suite and if you google the address they don't come up though other businesses do. We didn't get as far as having them request money at which time it would have been a definite NO...but I did send an email to them letting them know that we would be in the area on Monday and stopping in to speak with either Al or Stanley as I am sure they understand that we prefer to see and sign paperwork in person as opposed to over the internet. I am awaiting a response. A few others things that stood out to me: No registration with the BBB, No mention of clients on their website, and their main business does not relate to their "current project" which involves buying time shares for a major company who will be having functions/gatherings/trainings in Mexico and are obtaining the timeshares for housing those attending. RED FLAG...most trainings, functions, events I have attended (which is a lot) do not "include" accomodations/hotel arrangements...those are separate, so why would they be buying timeshares for such?

Looking at all the posts re R-5. Flyboy, I also own at Villa del Palmar. I would like to hear from the bloggers of R-5 where their ownership properties are. I just can't stand that 'they' - (R-5 Realty) have my contact info.

To PalmarSkeptic! We have recently been contacted by R-5 Realty also. The offer was "too good to be true", so we did our research and with the help of our sons, found these blogs which were extremely helpful. I can't wait for "Michael J. Buck, Agent" at R-5 Realty to call me back so I can start asking him questions about his company, his realty license, etc, etc, etc.! I'm so anxious to call his bluff!

Anyway,to those being contacted - the R-5 REalty website is beautiful and well organized, but it really gives no detailed information, how long they've been in business, nothing about their staff, sales agents, management or owners. The documents sent to us also appeared to be very professionally done. They know what they're doing! I also searched the BBB in which they were not registered and contacted the Secretary of State of New Mexico had no record of the business which was a red flag. Also when talking with "Michael" he explained the purchase would happen once he knew the funds to buy our share were being held in an "escrow" account from the buyer, they would be transferred to us (probably would have asked for our bank acct. info), then we would have to send them payment of 6% commission of the total sale which was another red flag in sending them their payment.

For your info, the email with the "Acceptance Letter" attached came from "Gary J. Benson,Jr, Office Coordinator". Their phone # is 505-303-0379, 600 Central Ave. SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102; email of info @r-5realty. com. I've emailed them responding to their email but no response as of this morning. So, hopefully this will help someone else not become a victim in the resale scams.

I have been contacted by First Brokers Inc in Birmingham,Alabana to sell my Mayan Palace Timeshare.I don't know if they are legit.Phone number is 1-205-786-8545.Can you help me.

I received a call from R5 Realty like the above bloggers showcasing interest in my timeshare with the Villa Group in Cancun. They also sent me an acceptance letter etc. all sounded too good to be true. Just talk to the Chamber of Commerce in the greater Albuquerque New Mexico area. They told me to reach out to the see Association of Realtors in Albuquerque where I found out that they are not members. The association suggested that I reach out to the NM real-estate commission (505-222-9820) . I talked to one of their lead investigators and he said that R5 Realty is an absolute SCAM! He informed me that there’s no legitimate brokers licensed under the name R5 Realty. In fact, they are taking names of other Realtors past/present & using them as a form of identity theft. Please report the scam to the phone number that I attached. As we all know “if it’s too good to be true” then it’s probably not true. Hope this helped sj

Please help law enforcement by reporting this at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you report there will go into a secure database that law enforcement nationwide uses for investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

Bridget is there a way we can get information out of that database? Like, are these companies legit or not?

Only law enforcement agencies and personnel who are members of the Consumer Sentinel Network are permitted access to the database. Sentinel members include federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

You've got ways to check out an offer. Call your state Attorney General's office, call local consumer protection offices; type in the name of the company and the word "review" or "scam" and see what comes up online. 

Read the FTC article with tips about selling through a reseller: Timeshares and Vacation Plans.

Read some of the comments here and see if you get ideas from other people's experiences. And if anyone asks you to wire money -  that's a red flag. If you send money by wire transfer, it's like sending cash.

I got scammed by a firm named Rock Rivers Firm. As everyone else mentioned in this site. They promise to sell my timeshare and I sent them a significant amount to pay for "transfer fees". Never materialized. Hope there is a way to put these criminals in jail forever

I got duped too. I reported to FTC, local police department, State of NY Attorney General and the BBB. Not one of the agencies were able to help me get my money back. Now I am filing a loss with the IRS for my 2017 taxes to recover some of my $11K.

What Company? Need to know more on IRS.

I reported to many of those as well. No help either. Did not know I can file a loss with the IRS. Have to check on that

Hi folks, well we signed the R5 realty offer letter and emailed it back, the price is correct as to the present value of the contract. We got no response so yesterday I emailed them and today I got a call with lots of information.... I too called the Albuquerque Chamber and they did not have the phone number for R5 as a good number.....I am checking into a Title Company or a realtor that can give advice,,, not sure how this feels, no one has talked about any fees yet, am speaking to Kevin Daniels.

I very recently have been contacted by a Christopher Mays of R-5 Realty regarding the purchase of my Mexico timeshare. I received the offer letter this week and have several questions to be discussed with Mr. Mays. I've tried to find some info on this business to see if it legit. I did just determine that according to the BBB, they have no file on them because they've only been in business 6 months. After reading your comments I'm inclined to think this is a scam. The offer was very generous - perhaps too good to be true.

I just called the real Christopher Mays, RE agent in NM. He has no knowledge of the deal. It's a total scam folks. I also looked into the email meta data. The emails are sent from a server in MEXICO.

- Fake Agent
- No licensed brokerage
- Too good to be true offer
- Emails from Mexico

Was contacted by R5 said the escrow company was in Colorado another email from a company out of CO contacted me with letterhead similar to R5 with a watermark and similar wording. I researched the R5 realty web site and the Colorado company. The address maps to an apartment not a business. Web site map doesn't work citimexi whatever name on the form I'm not going to give them my personal details and submit a form to open up an escrow account when I've not signed a contract with a legitimate company. It sure does smell like scam I've not returned any of the calls I've received.

Hello Carolina, can you share with me what happened with this? We are in the same boat, signed an agreement and became skeptical when asked to wire money to escrow management company so that they would obtain the RFC number for the sale. Requested licenses and they are still being persistent. We know at this point it is a scam and are not quite sure what next steps should be.

Does anyone have an opinion about working with a bank, a realtor in my hometown or an attorney? this question is re a K5 Realty and a time share in Puerto Morelos Mexico.

Has anyone had any success in getting rid of a timeshare? Everything I've read is terrible,how in the hell is this type of business even legal, I have already paid my timeshare mortgage and just want to be done with it. Anyone know a reliable proven legal consultant in Nevada?

Samani: We were given a name and phone# in Mass. They were a younger couple and supposedly had a place in Cancun sell. We still don't know if it was a setup or what. Let us know if you contact some happy sellers!!

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.

tried that approach. The Attorney General Oklahoma was given detailed in formation regarding title two investments and the 72,000 we lost to them and to the new tennessee as part of their 3.5 million dollar scam for timeshare resale. they did nothing to shut them down!

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.

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