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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

I received a call from a Mr. James Mason (foreign accent) representing a company called e.timesharepro services claiming to have a buyer for my timeshare. He needed me to wire $1,000 to some account in god knows where. He had all of my information from previous conversations with another bogus company as well as the names of the people I had spoken with. His phone is 702-421-4775. I looked up the number and it was out of Las Vegas which he admitted. Funny part is each company has asked for different dollar amounts ranging from $800 to $1,200. He sent me a contract with the account number and name I need to wire the money to. This has been going on since Feb. 2013 (no money from me). I looked up the location the last time and they wanted me to wire the funds to some location in the Caribbean. Think I will forward to state attorney general office for the heck of it.

My husband and I just wired money and is waiting we been dealing with a company. But we do reach him every time we call and when we called they said problem with wire transfer we will receive money back which we did. Then we had to resend. I am a little concerned seeing all these comments though

what is the name of the company you are dealing with?

I had the same experience with Property Connect and Transfer Group from Chicago. It began in July 2014 with the same story: did I want to sell my membership in Unlimited Vacation Club. I wanted to get out of my membership and I was sucked in badly. Tim Clarke was one of the names; also James Ross, Steve Griffin, Brandon Rogers and others. Then in January a Paul Wilson phoned from New York and said There was fraud in Property Connect and I should deal with him to settle the amount owing to me in the supposed sale. I am out several thousand dollars. This week I received and email from Vacation Resort Experts saying a development company wanted to purchase my interest in Dreams Los Cabos. I am in financial trouble.

Got a call from Preston Ford from Liberty Financial stating he had great news....they have matched us with a buyer. Great, but we aren't selling. I've been dealing with these scams for 10 years and almost became a victim when we were first contacted years ago. No matter how sweet the deal may seem....ITS A SCAM people, period. I must admit, I like messing with them when they call. I let them get all excited and run through their pitch. When they get to the money part and say something like for $1995 down they can start the process. I respond with, man for only 20 bucks, let's do it! Then they say no,no one thousand nine hundred and ninety five. And I say I know, I've been playing the whole time to keep you away from some sucker that would fall for this crap. Then I hang up.

Did anyone get a call from ALLIANCE REALTY NETWORK INC??? Please let me know.

I got a call from Alliance Realty Network. They didn't ask for money yet but I suspect that it's a scam just like the rest. Anyone have more information on them?

We have recently been contacted by two of these groups. One is Pentagon Management Property out of Chicago. The other is International Brokerage Group, LLC out of New York. Each offered us 4x and 5x what we paid for our timeshare membership. Basically the same Scam that most everyone has mentioned. I knew it sounded a little too good to be true, so we've been doing our research. Glad to have found these posts, so my suspicions have been confirmed. I sent them both an email and told them not interested.

Do not deal with Vacation Resort Experts - Angel "Andrew" Santos 708 231 4199. The only thing they are expert about is scamming people. They contacted me about buying my timeshare at UVC, talked to their so called lawyer Orlando Ramirez with AVG Associates. I was asked to pay all kinds of Mexican fees, taxes. After I paid fees, Andrew Santos won't even return my phone calls or answer my email. I sent letter to their President using address in their website to complain but came back to me, address unknown. Address in their website in Alsip, IL does not exist. I reported them them to BBB, even BBB cannot contact them. I also reported them to Consumer Complaint Agency and Office of Atty General State of Illinois.

What's the update of getting your money back. I've sent @6k and now they want me to pay $1900.00 for closing cost. Please reply back and interested in how to get my money back or stop them for scamming.

You can file a complaint online with the FTC and provide all the information you would like to report, including websites you believe are promoting fraudulent practices. You can also contact the state Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the company is located.

Hello scammed: I have been dealing with an Alex Garcia at VRE and nothing after I had wired them some fees. First wire was for "closing costs, taxes and now registering the unit" Did you get your money back?

I, too, was scammed by "Alex Garcia" and Orlando Ramirez at AVG. They took me for over $6,000. If the FTC isn't going to investigate this, there has to be a way to hold UVC accountable for giving out the personal information of its members. God only knows what other information these scammers have about the UVC members. Perhaps if enough of us complained to UVC, they would be willing investigate, and perhaps, compensate members for their losses. Anyone else have any thoughts?

If you haven't already, please file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Blog comments don't go into the database law enforcement uses for investigations.

You can also file a complaint with your State Attorney General's Office and the Attorney General in the state where the business is based.

This FTC article has tips on how to handle a call from a company offering to resell your timeshare.

Has anybody heard of Driftwood-Inc out of Detroit, Michigan. They have a web site that looks very good but new. They have offered to buy my UVC membership. Their offer has gone from $52,000 to $93000. This sounds like a new location for existing an scam company.

I received something like that today. Guy called me and I thought it was actually associated with UVC and then I get the email telling me I could sell my membership for ~3X more than what I paid for it. Maybe it's why UVC keeps on sending out emails telling it's members not to give out any information about the membership to unknown parties....

Received a phone call yesterday with such a poor connection I could not make out much. Thought I heard something about "your UVC membership." Other than me saying I could not understand the person I said nothing else. Now today I received an email from David Miller from Driftwood Inc. out of Detroit, MI. offering $29950 for my membership. Like others, glad I read this blog. I will be reporting this company/person.

Do not deal with Vacation Resort Experts - Angel "Andrew" Santos 708 231 4199. The only thing they are expert about is scamming people. They contacted me about buying my timeshare at UVC, talked to their so called lawyer Orlando Ramirez with AVG Associates. I was asked to pay all kinds of Mexican fees, taxes. After I paid fees, Andrew Santos won't even return my phone calls or answer my email. I sent letter to their President using address in their website to complain but came back to me, address unknown. Address in their website in Alsip, IL does not exist. I reported them them to BBB, even BBB cannot contact them. I also reported them to Consumer Complaint Agency and Office of Atty General State of Illinois.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. These are useful details for a complaint. Please report your experience at ftc.gov/complaint. Unfortunately, we can't address complaints if they are submitted through the blog comments.

I've received several calls from 2 different companies with the exact same approach. They indicated that their buyer was Grupo Modelo S.A. de C.V. out of Mexico. Corporate Event Planning out of Chicago and Prestige Property Group out of Las Angeles. I let them send me their proposals and when you lay them side by side, several of the pages are identical in their format, content and border. What's the chances that 2 different companies from different sides of the country would be using the exact same document format and approach? Corporate Event Planning in Chicago has been mentioned in this blog but I did not see anything mentioned about Prestige Property Group. I'd stay away from both these companies.

I have been dealing with the same people from Prestige Propery Group from Los Angeles. I contacted the legal department at Grupo Modelo. They said that it is a scam and that they are not involved in buying anything from this group. I also checked with the bank that they supposedly have the escrow account with....they gave me references too. I talked with one lady...who had to call me back, and she said that it all went smoothly. She sounded fake. These people are scammers. Don't give them money. They will keep pushing you and they sound so confident that you want to believe them. It is all a lie. If you want to discuss this on the phone I will be happy to chat with you...are you dealing with Michael Langford?

I am dealing with the exact same group and did my research. They are scammers....run away from them!

I recieved a call today from "liberty Financial, LLC" 520 Broadway St Santa Monica, CA. Had a buyer that was willing to pay $25,000 for my week/points in Orlando. I did give them my email to send me their contract just out of curiosity. Company is not a licensed real estate co. Like everyone else they needed $2100 from me wired to their bank for processing fees.. Said they could close with this buyer in 90 days. Said I would recover the $2100 at closing or if the deal falls through and that I would also recieve the 5% down that the buyer was supposedly wiring to their account within the next hour or 2. Said the buyer was really wanting to close by next week. Said he usually sold 2 million dollar houses on the beach but that his clients were in the market for a time share. LOL! The man was very nice, sounded very legitimate, even told me to have a blessed day. Haha. Although Ii did not send any money nor sign their bogus contract, I really did feel that maybe it was legitimate at first. I told him at one point that I really felt he was going to take my money and disappear. For a few seconds I could almost hear crickets chirping and then he laughed and said "oh no. We aren't going anywhere." I asked him how he got my contact information and he said through public records in FL where I bought the timeshare. But he had my new husbands phone number who was never a part of the original purchase & my current phone number which I did not have when I first bought my timeshare. I would really like to know how they get our information. I will be filing complaints with FTC and Attorney generals office in CA but I am sure many more people will be scammed or at least waste their time like myself even talking to these scammers.

Hummmmm... Here's an example of a letter of intent. Thanks for this string. I think I just saved my self a lot of grief by reading up on this subject. Names changed to keep me out of trouble.

GENTAGON NANAGEMENT DROPERTY

RESALE LETTER OF INTENT

The purpose of this letter of intent is to outline certain terms and conditions of a purchase offer of the Vacation Property named below, by a qualified Buyer that has signed an agreement with Gentagon Nanagement Droperty.

It is anticipated that the offer to purchase the Vacation Property will be consummated upon acceptance of this letter of intent, as agreed by the involved parties.

Redacted
Terms of Purchase Offer
Purchase of Vacation Property: On the Closing Date, the buyer will purchase from the Owner certain assets identified in the “Guaranteed Resale Agreement”, which is forthcoming.

Purchase Price: Buyer will assume the assumed liabilities and pay to Seller a purchase price equal to the sum of $37,589.00 USD The purchase monies will be paid through an Escrow Agent chosen by the Buyer and delivered to the Seller on the Closing Date.

Commission: Gentagon Nanagement Droperty will charge 8% commission to the Owner at the time of closing.Subject to a formal contract, the Buyer is prepared to offer $37,589.00 USD for the Vacation Property and is prepared to deposit the full amount into a secured escrow account, subject to confirmation of the below listed description:

Resort Name: Belas Ballarta
Location: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Weeks Owned: 1
Unit Type: 2 BDRM (inaccurate)
Maintenance Fee: $100.00 (inaccurate)
Use: Annual
Additional Benefits: RED Season
Purchase Offer: $37,589.00 USD

If you find this offer appealing and decide to sell/rent your Vacation Property for the authorized offered amount, please sign this
letter and return it to us via fax or email along with your coversheet contract of your Vacation Property, and we will submit a formal contract purchase/rental agreement. This authorized offer is contingent upon the Owner providing proof of ownership.

Keep in mind by signing this document, you are not committing nor obligated to anything you are expressing your desire to sell/rent.

______________________________________________ _____________________

Owner (s) Name (s) and Signature (s) Date
Gentagon Nanagement Droperty
Address redacted
Toll Free Redacted
Fax Number Redacted
www. redacted

This is exactly what I received. Salesman was Michael Milano. I went one more step after this doc and they send you a semi-contract asking you to pay $3125 up front. Red Flag. I've passed on his offer.

Just got call similar to those already mentioned saying there was a buyer interested in our Grand Mayan timeshare. What was interesting was that he asked where this particular one was located and did not know what type of unit we had. If he had a buyer, wouldn't he already have that info? Gave his name as Albert Salazar from Vacation Properties and Consulting--713-597-6220 x3623. He will be emailing all details--ha,ha.

Hello :A simple word of caution : never send money up-front to so-called 'time share re-sellers" Any money you send will be un-retrievable. This is especially important if you are asked/instructed to do a bank-to-bank international wire transfer.

The dollar amount involved will exceed $5000 and you will not be able to get your monies back, even if you contact your local police or state's attorney. Time share re-sale is always a scam. Think of it this way - if you don't want your timeshare...who does? answer: nobody

The thieves are sophisticated and learned everything they need to know to scam you by going to the local recorder of deeds office and researching everything about the unit that you own; the date sold, the amount paid...everything is public record and can be researched for free.So don't be fooled by the thief knowing "all about the unit and the resort" -

Also, the thieves search google earth to pick a building in a US city to pretend that they are a real company in the US. They also use caller ID spoofing technology to make it appear that they are calling from a locale in the US.

Think: there is never a time in a real estate transaction where the SELLER (meaning you) has to pay taxes, or fees, or down payments or any of the other BS these thieves tell to get you to go to your bank and wire monies to a place where you will never be able to retrieve your money from.

Do not fall for the fake timeshare resale scam.

I wish I would have seen this before I tried to sell. Sadly, I really like my timeshare and the resort. I use it every year and just wanted to move on if I could.

Has anyone heard of a company called Stone Oak Resorts. They say they have a buyer for my timeshare in Orlando. They don't want a lot up front but want it to go through Western Union. I think it is a scam.

Just got a new "scam" caller on "selling" my timeshare... SS Advisers..215 550 5330 Pennsylvania number. Guy was a bonehead.. told him i would be happy to put them in touch with my attorney and title agent to process the sale.. tons of dead air after that... then he said he would call me back later

Just got a call now from this exact number - laughable. They are going to email me the letter. Can't wait for their call back to use the lawyer line. Messing with these guys is so much fun!!!

I received a similar call from K.C. Realty in Matteson, Il. Has anyone ever heard of them?

Have you found out any more information regarding KC Realty?

Haa anyone ever heard of First Choice Brokers or National Federal Financials?

Hahaha I received the same letter from Michael Milona and his co worker Emma Morreti. I have engaged with them up to today when they asked me for a 10% binder fee to be reimbursed to me in my final payout. Ridiculous....tomorrow I I'll contact the federal authorities in Illinios. I hope these guys are shut down soon.

Check this out. We got a call from windy city property management. Wanted to buy our timeshare or rent the weeks. Sounded too good to be true. They sent a contract and everything. Then they were like you need to pay the 4k for maintenance fees and wire the money down to mexico. LOL. So we have not sent them money and have signed a bogus contract. We also called our timeshare and they said to watch out for these people and DO NOT give them any money. Thanks. Hope this helps you.

Has anyone heard of Owners Finanial Firm? I got a call from JB Davis 5404336486 claiming to be a disgruntled owner of the same timeshare we own at. He said he had spoken with Ethan Stanton from Owners Financial Firm who supposedly works for an asset management firm who had negotiated his contract in half and guaranteed him no more maintenance fees for a fee of no more than $800. The same night at 8:30 p.m., behold this Ethan Stanton calls to essentially tell me what timeshares I owned, weeks, payoff of my contract, etc. he told me he could cut my payoff in half and I would have no more maintenance fees. Sounds wonderful! Wanted to email me forms, I told him to mail to me instead so I could have my attorney research. Sounded too good to be true PLUS who calls ME instead of me calling them PLUS who calls potential clients at 8:30 at night??? I googled the company, nothing found, googled his name, nothing, googled phone number 6782837869 and it was a cell. Definitely sounds like a scam. Anyone else talk to him?

This FTC article has information about buying and selling a timeshare.

Unlimited Vacation Club: do not try to sell your UVC membership through Title Authority Inc (escrow), Investment Group Inc (broker) located in Chicago. It is a scam. They will present you with a regular contract, you will need to pre-pay for assignment fee, Mexican taxes, large account banking fee and closing costs. You will not get actual closing even though you get it in the contract. Do not wire any pre-payments to a Mexican bank third party (they will tell you the bank is there because the timeshare is there). When the time comes for you to get your closing date/ funds you will not hear from them any more. They use the company that has a good name but is no longer in business (but still active)- thus you will not find anything suspicious on Illinois Attorney General against them or Better Business Bureau. Clean website and all.... DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THEM if you want fulfillment of the contract. You will not be able to get your money back from the bank either. Beware.

These are useful details for a complaint. Please go to ftc.gov/complaint and report what happened. You can also report this to your State Attorney General's Office and the Attorney General in the state where the scam is based.

!!!!!!!!!! These people got me! I sent $13,000 total, what do I do?!!!!!!

If you have given your bank account or credit card account number to an untrusted source, contact your bank or credit card company and ask what to do to stop any more withdrawals or charges.

This FTC article has tips on how to handle calls from a company offering to resell your timeshare. You can file complaints with your state Attorney General’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Does anyone know of a legitimate company to contact to try to resell a timeshare? Has anyone had a good experience?

If you're thinking of selling a timeshare, take a look at this FTC article for tips on how to handle a call from a company that offers to resell your timeshare.

Don’t agree to anything on the phone or online until you check out a reseller. Contact the state Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the reseller is located. Ask if there are complaints on file. You also can search online for complaints; enter the company name and the word "complaints" into your search engine and see what comes up.

Beware people have stolen my companies identity, Investment Properties, LLC. They have a hispanic accent, and have set up a website using my company name and address. They claim to be in the timeshare business, and are scamming people with this fraudulent activity. Investment Properties LLC has absolutely NOTHING to do with time shares, and I DO NOT have ANY employees. Please do not fall victim to these con artist.

Thank you for sharing this information. Please file a complaint about this misuse of your company name with the Federal Trade Commission, your state Attorney General’s office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Just got a call from Richard Rios and his buddy Jeff Morgan. They say they are from Wilson County Abstract Co Inc. in Topeka Kansas. I throughly checked this company out and it's Bogus. My story is similar to all of yours. Appears to be very ligit but be aware, it is not.

Wow, are so many scams out there! I wonder if there is a truly legit resale company. I was contacted by Third Coast Group out of Texas a few weeks ago, promising no upfront fees and has a buyer willing to pay us !8,000+ for our Westin Time Share. They tell us it's a big Mexican company Goupo Bimbo that is looking to buy 5 timeshares for write off and incentives for their employees. Feeling a bit suspicious, but if no money out of pocket, what can it hurt to check it out right? So we accepted offer to move forward to closing, they promised a quick closing. They sent us a form from SAT, the Mexican IRS. They tell us that the money is sitting in an account, but in order to release money that we have to pay 16% tax which comes out to $3000+ and they the company will refund us when we close. Now I'm really starting to get suspicious. They give me everything in writing and guarantee that we will get our money back. But don't know if that means anything if this company is not legit. Anyone delt with them before? They say if we don't feel comfortable, then we can sell it locally in the states but value is only 3-4 thousand. sigh.......

If you're thinking of selling a timeshare, take a look at this FTC article for tips on how to handle a call from a company that offers to resell your timeshare. Be skeptical of a company that wants you to pay fees before you get your money.

Don’t agree to anything on the phone or online until you check out a reseller. Contact the state Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the reseller is located. Ask if there are complaints on file. You also can search online for complaints; enter the company name and the word "complaints" into your search engine and see what comes up.

Wendy, How did end? We are dealing with them and I am in the process of canceling the sale because after the first SAT, comes another and another and it is endless. They sent me now the cancelation letter but asking for more money as a cancelation fee. I'm not suspicious now, I am sure I was catch in a scam.

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