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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 have been contacted by a company called Instant Traveling Expert Advice inc offering to buy my time share at El Cid in Mexico. Anyone heard of these people? They have a Denver , co. address and phone. Sounds to good to be true!!!!!No Better Business Bureau record.

Same here. What did you find out?

Scam scam scam: Investment Group Inc 1585 Ellinwood Ave. Ste. 210, Chicago Il, 60016 Phone:(312)940-6833 Fax: (312)276-8890 Email:

To get this information added to the database that law enforcement uses, file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

Has anyone heard of Windy City Property Management out of Chicago Ill? They a downtown address and phone number. So far they haven't ask for fees and are offering just below the price I paid for my timeshare in Mexico. No BBB record!

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

Hi, My clients have received a call from Windy City Property Management telling them they have a buyer for their time share in Mexico and the money already. The supposed broker Camilo Sosa sent them a 1 ½ page contract in Spanish (without his licence number of the broker nor the company). Long story short, they are now asking them to deposit $13,000 to a bank in Mexico BANAMEX for the transfer fee and they are telling them that they will reimburse the money once they deposit that amount. The broker have them sign a contract that if they cancel the transaction they will be charge $2,000 plus legal fees. They said in the contract that they are not affiliated with no ther company nor organization, and then they told my clients that Windy City Property management have a closing company handling the escrow and title. I search the company for their brokers license and found noting. Be careful!!!

Yes I'm from Canada and got taking for 11000.00 U.S. For my timeshare in puerto Vallarta. Windy City property management are scammers . RCMP are looking into now593

in process of trying to be scammed by :Rose City Resale Group /Portland Ore- Mark Alvarez(sales agent)- Susan Culver(president)- address for company is office building that knows nothing about them

Watch out for Westwood Benson at 233 Wacker WDr. Willis Tower, 22nd floor in Chicago. The address does not match the business. John Miller is the contact person. He is a scammer. They are using the title company that is US Federal Holdings That is at the Bank of America Plaza Suite 101 San Antonio Texas. The Bank of America Plaza says that no one of the name of that title company rents space here. Not only that but when I called John Miller (with a severe Mexican accent) they had talked about me. Evidently they were nervous because I called to ask for their attorneys name.

Thanks for your info. I am dealing with these same people. Will call the state attorney generals of both states and report these bastards.

I received a call from the same company last night. After seeing the info on here I made a call the the Willis Tower superintendent and asked him if there was a company in there building by that name. His answer was no.

This company has also contacted me, seems very sketchy. Everything you've said is EXACTLY what has happened. They said the buyer stayed at my property and loved it, but the sales people there were rude so he wanted to buy it from this Westwood Benson Broker instead. Plus, they are offering me twice what the going rate is.

Thank you for doing the research to see if they are really located at within Willis Tower. We were receiving calls from "Frank White" from 708-231-4335. When I asked to speak to the attorney/counsel for his brokerage firm he was thrown back. He tried providing me a number for the building manager and I informed him we already checked and his company is not located within Willis tower. He then provided me the name "John Fitzgerald" 866-979-0130, and he wanted to get off the phone fast. I advised that I will be filing report with State Attorney General.

Here's a new one to add to the list: Property Pro Realty, LLC., out of Columbus Ohio. Dimitries wants to buy our timeshare in Cabo, MX. He sends proposal--which surprisingly specifically states they "do not charge any upfront fees." However, things weren't adding up. The quote was 3-4 times what we purchased it for. 2 days later he called again, spoke w/my wife who provided additional contradicting info about unit size and availability, and we get another quote for over twice the original quote! Signature is IDENTICAL between the two letters. I check out the website and initially it looks legit. However, reading through it reveals poor grammar and punctuation plus the photos of the staff all appear to be taken from shutterstock! I check to see if the LLC was ever registered in Ohio and find it was, but only in December 2014. So when Dimitires called again today, I asked how long he's worked for Property Pro. He said since 2013. I said, "That's strange since the company was only registered 6 months ago." After trying to say he's at a different office, he hangs up. Finally, I called the agent who's name is listed on the registration document. He's a real person, works at a bank and tells me he's aware that someone was using the LLC he created and he had reported it to the state consumer protection office. I just submitted all these details to the FTC but wanted to share the news on another time-share scam artist.

AM resorts UVC; scammed by this name out of Biringham , AL James J. Bell Account Manager
Title Realty Company Direct Line: (205)641-7114 (Majic Jack number) Fax: 1(205)392-2958

You can report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint and to your state Attorney General’s office.

Have had John Miller from Westwood Benson Brokers in Chicago contact me as the Branch Manager with a Proposal for the sale of my timeshare for triple what I paid for it several years ago. Sounds good, no money to pay up front until when?? Using a person by the name of Simon Silvestri as accountant in US Federal Holdings again located at the Bank of America Plaza in San Antonio. Spoke to Silvestri who came across as surprised when I advised him that i checked with the Plaza management who advised that no company by that name rents space there.

Received an email from a "Susan Wasak" offering to buy my timeshare. After several emails back and forth she offered a price which I believe to be more than the value. She asked for my name and wife's name, address and phone number etc. All I have for her is a phone number. I plan to research that as well as her name. She said she is hearing impaired. (Maybe to discourage a phone call) My next email her will be to ask her for more detailed information about her and her alleged agent. I don't [plan on giving her any further info on me. She claims that American Title Co. will handle the escrow. Anyone have one like this yet?

Read this article about buying and selling a timeshare, and view our infographic to see how timeshare resale scams typically work.

The article lists agencies you can consult to check out a company.

Has anyone heard of DCM resort properties or of Youngstown Ohio? They have contacted me in reference to selling my Bahia Principe time share,they have offered more than what I paid and say there are no upfront fees they also said instead of putting it in a non interest bearing account I could get a cashier check, cash it and then pay their 7 percent commission..

Read this article about buying and selling a timeshare, and look at the related infographic to see how timeshare resale scams typically work.

If someone you don't know wants you to cash a check and send them money, it could be a scam.  Under federal law, banks generally must make funds available to you within a certain time. But just because funds are available doesn’t mean the check you deposited is good. It can take weeks to discover that a check is a forgery. Until the bank confirms that the funds from the check are deposited into your account, you're responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check. If you withdraw money before the bank confirms the funds, you have to repay the bank if the check turns out to be fake.

Read this article for more about Fake Checks Scam.

Just received a similar call from DCM Resort Properties followed-up by a Purchase Offer for my Bahia Principe Privilege Club Membership; the Offer indicates that their 7% commission is paid out from the sales proceeds at Closing of the transaction.Anyone had any successful dealings with this company?

Hi, There are two posts about DCM but no specific feedback. Did either of you pursue the option with DCM? I am interested in your experience. Thank you.

Yes don't speak with them anymore this is a scam they will want you to send $$ to a Mexican bank for transfer fees and Mexican Admin fee. Stay far away

Thank you for this warning because DCM contacted me today and sent me an email. It is too good to be true.

Does anybody knows galaxyvacationsinc.net? From houston, I think is also a scam. Some comments.

I have experienced some of the samethings on the sale of my timeshare in Mexico. Has anyone heard of or been contacted by Nicholas Marino of Lake City Private Equity Group in Chicago, IL or the Escrow Agent Aaron Newman of Lafayette Escrow Services in Detroit, Mich?

We have been contacted by Aaron Newman of Lafayette Title and Gerry Garcia of Lake City Equity. They said that they were representing a company that wanted to buy out our timeshare along with others to get control of the timeshare property. They promised no money out of our pockets and then at the last few days before the closing said that the Mexican SAT (IRS equivalent in Mexico) was needing the taxes to be paid on this unit before they would release it to have free title. Now they are asking for thousands of dollars, which is 18% of the selling price to be paid to the Mexican SAT government. We researched it online and found enough people that said that this was a scam. OUR ADVICE is to let NO, ABSOLUTELY NO money come out of your pocket. They even sent us a form saying that there is money in escrow from the buyer.

About Third Coast Group. Don't send any money to them. I called today Texas Real State Commission and they are NOT licensed to operate as seller or buyer of timeshare. By the way, if you are trying to sell your timeshare and receive calls from any company, don't waste your time looking for their name through the internet, call the real state commission from the state they are calling and they will tell you if it is a legitimate company or not. Good luck

has anyone been approached from affinity travel saying they have a buyer for your timeshare. I think it's a scam.

Has anyone heard of Timeshare Exit Team? I heard them on the radio. They don't sell timeshares, but claim to legally break the timeshare contract for a fee. They seem to have good reviews online...I just want to get out of my timeshare!

Anyone had Billy or William Jason of Denver Realty Services call about a plan to Lease 10 years of the end of your Time Share contract ? He claims you don't give up title and you will be paid the full ten years Lease payment after escrow is cleared. They use Int'l Title Services, also in Denver to do the "escrow'

Has anyone had any dealing with ICM resale vacations LLC. Just started getting calls from them.

If they are willing to put down the 10% that UVC requires to do the sale, but they are an scam.

Have another name to add to the ever-growing list: Property Management Plus, Inc. Out of California. Bill Walter kindly offered to pay us $20k more than we paid for our points!

1-866-978-7973 is the number used. Beware!!!

You can report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments aren't entered in the law enforcement database.

I got a call from them also. Their email correspondence lists their street address as 11601 Wilshire, Suite 500 in Los Angeles. But that address is occupied by another company, Blacksands Pacific. I called Blacksands Pacific, and the receptionist verified that they were the sole occupants of Suite 500, and that she had never heard of Property Management Plus, Inc. The contact's name at "Property Management Plus, Inc." was Dave Murphy.

Question for no way Jose: did Bill Walter have a fairly deep voice? My contact, Dave Murphy, had a deep telephone voice. I wonder if it's the same guy using two (or more) different names?

Wondering if anyone has heard from International Consolidators out of Oklahoma City. They have a web page, but I don't know how to find out when it was put up or how long they have it for.

??? Resort Property Mgt. based in Atlanta, Georgia ??? are they a reputable company

Their address is 1 Glenlake Parkway Ste. 700 Atlanta, GA 30328 and I found out by googling the address that many companies use that address. I called the management for that building Ste 700 and found companies use it as a "virtual" office. Resort Property Management does come there to pick up their mail every day. They said Resort Property management does pay Ste 700 for their services and had been doing it for as long as the manager of ste 700 had been working there (over 2 years) but were reticent to give any kind of recommendation - which is, in itself, rather negative.

Has anyone been contacted by B&M Realty Investment to sell your timeshare? We were contacted by them with promises of a no upfront money sale. We received an Exclusive Sales Contract naming Omega Bay Del Pacifico S.A. de C.V an authorized law firm to hold the money. Before even agreeing or signing the Sales contract we received an email from Omega Bay. The email contained four attachments... SAT tax info, Beneficiary payout info, Financial Statement and Santander Funds disbursement. We have been called by Omega Bay from a Mexican number and through discussion have been asked to wire or show up in person and pay 25% of the sale price to an SAT bank. Once this "tax" is paid we would be able to sell our Unlimited Vacation Club package??? Has anyone else been contacted by Tony Kim of B&M Realty Investment and then from Carlos Sanchez of Omega del Pacifico???

If you’re thinking of selling a timeshare, question the resellers — real estate brokers and agents who specialize in reselling timeshares.

You say the company first promised a 'no upfront money' sale, but now wants you to pay 25% of the sale price upfront to a non-US bank.

You can check for complaints about the resort developer and management company with your state Attorney General.

The American Resort Development Association (arda.org) has information for consumers, including a resale checklist.

Thanks for the information Bridget.

Yes I was contacted by both Anthony Kim of B&M Realty Investment and Carlos Sanchez from Omega. It seemed legit at first because they knew about my membership. Anthony Kim made me an offer which I negotiated and they increased the purchase price. Carlos then contacted me to discuss the legal paperwork at which point he discussed the transfer fee of 10% and Omega legal fees if $935. Carlos then told me I need to pay these fees upfrontt. He sent wire transfer instructions which looked bogus to me. I decided to look on Mexico's Better Business Bureau but didn't find the firm or Carlos Sanchez. Looking deeper at the website for Omega,, you can tell it's a scam. The website is in English but when you look up the specialists, the company has a CEI, Account Manager...weird set up for a law firm. Then I noticed the biographies for the CEO etc is in Latin (according to google translate) and the English words in between the Latin don't make sense. I told Anthony Kim, they should deduct the fees and send me the balance to which he said they can't do because Mexico doesn't do Escrow accounts. I told him that there is no guarantee that I will get the money after I send their fees ($2,400) and I will get a Lawyer from the U.S to secure my interest. Needless to say he hasn't responded. B&M Realty's website is a scam too, they have the same personnel structure and why is it you can't get any staff or receptionists, you always have to leave a message. The address also seems to be a Burger joint. Don't send these scammers any money!!! Searching the company, it says it was opened in 2006 and has 2 employees...another RED FLAG!!!!
Don't fall for their scam.

Yes, I agree, they are running a scam. All have hispanic accents. I was contacted by email by Jonathan Castillo salesman and Steve Anderson,president of B & M Realty Investment with an offer for my timeshare at Marina Fiesta in Cabo for about twice what i paid for it. The greed set in, they took me for 10k. The fee set up was exactly what you described. I wrote 4 wires for 25% mexican tax, attorney fee, registration penaly, customs penalty. The attorney at Omega that I delt with was Jose Gutierrez. Works in the same office as Carlos Sanchez in Mexico. Can't believe i fell for this.

Wow, wish that I would have saw this before. Been working with All American Real Estate, LlLC Chris McClain and American International Investments Group Nina Law with the escrow account and now believe that I am being scammed. Have sent them four wires and still no money for timeshare. Tired calling number tonight and it wont go through which tells me for sure a scam. Will be reporting them.

Yep. A scam. I have been getting phone calls from a guy who says his name is Michael Goodman but he definitely has heavy Spanish accent. They provide business info but that looks sceptical too. How do I report these bozos??

You can report scams to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

You can also report to your state Attorney General’s office.

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