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

check out sell my timeshare. They want big bucks upfront and says they have a lot of buyers. Thanks.

I received a letter prepared by Driftwood Inc out of Detroit, MI, announcing their intention to purchase vacation memberships at UVC. A scam, I'm sure.

I received the same thing this week. I'm also sure it's a scam, but I think UVC is selling lists. They knew a LOT about me and my contract. They knew how much I paid, owed, membership level, email address, mailing address, and obviously phone number. I looked through my paperwork and i didn't sign anything to share my information.

Received calls from driftwood in out of Detroit. Had two different offers for my UVC membership. Too pressured so I got cold feet! Glad I did after read all of these posts! Thank you.

I wish I had used Google. Driftwood got me for a substantial amount of money. Phone numbers still active but no phone calls answered or messages returned. Ouch! Do not make the same mistake. This was an elaborate Scam with a guy in detroit acting as the agent, another guy in Alabama acting as the titlecompany and another accomplice in Mexico receiving wire transfers. The had active business websites and everything.

Just curious...what did you do to research licenses and contracts of the persons that approached you?

VACATION RESORT EXPERTS IS A SCAM. STAY AWAY FROM THEM AND DO NOT SEND THEM ANY MONEY AS THEY ARE A SCAM COMPANY SET UP TO STEAL YOUR MONEY. THEY ARE CONS WITH A CAPITAL "C". AND THEY ARE USING MY STORE'S ADDRESS OF 12003 S. PULASKI RD. TO RUN THEIR SCAMS. WE ARE NOT AFFILIATED IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM WITH THESE SCAMMERS. STAY AWAY FROM VACATION RESORT EXPERTS, THEY ARE RUNNING THEIR BUSINESS FROM MEXICO AND THEY ARE A COMPLETE AND TOTAL SCAM.

It looks like Vacation Resorts Experts wwebsite is officially closed down. Sometimes the good guys win. Yipee!

I just received a call where they would take care of my timeshare. I would owe $3,000 difference. The website I was given today was vacation idiom. Gives very little detail! Thanks for the heads-up!

CHICAGO MARKETING ASSOCIATES AND GOLDEN TEMPLE FINANCIAL. NEITHER OF THEIR FICTITIOUS COMPANIES ARE LISTED WITH DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTES NEITHER ARE EITHER LICENSED TO SELL REALESTATE. I AM A REAL ESTATE BROKER AND MY HUSBAND IS AN ATTORNEY. TJE CONTRACTS SEEM REAL AMD THEY KNOW HOW TO SOUND LIKE THEY KNOWS HOW TO PROCESS A FILE. DAMN THEY ARE GOOD. THEY ALMOST GOT OUR CLIENT. THEY SENT CONTRACTS THAT LOWER LEGIT THE WHOLE BIT. THERE WERE A FEW FLAGS ON THE FIELD. ONE IS THEY REQUIRED WHAT SEEMED TO BE A 10% FEE CLAIMING THEY WERE MAINTENANCE FEES.

HI HOW ARE U??? MY NAME IS ANDRES I WAS READING YOU POST AND I NOTICED YOU MENTIONED CHICAGO MARKETING ASSCOCIATES. 1 MONTH AGO I WAS CALLED BY ONE OF THEIR "EMPLOYEES" TELLING ME THAT THEY GOT AN OFFER FROM A PERSON FROM THE U.S TRYING TO BUY MY MEMBERSHIP IN PUERTO VALLARTA.

THEY TOLD ME TO TRANSFER $4000 INTO A MEXICAN ACCOUNT AND I DID THAT, THEY SEND ME A CONTRACT AND I SIGNED IT, NOW THEY ARE CLAMING 30% OF THE TOTAL TRANSFER OR THEY ARE GOING TO SUE ME. MY QUESTION IS. ITS TRUE THIS COMPANY IS PHONIE OR FAKE?? THEY KEEP CALLING ME . CAN U HELP ME WITH THIS?? THANKS FOR ALL YOU HELP REGARDS

Don’t agree to anything on the phone or online until you check on the reseller.

Contact the state Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the reseller is located. Ask if there are complaints on file. You also can search online for complaints about the company.

If you have a written contract, read it and see what it says about paying the company. You could ask a lawyer or real estate professional to help you understand the contract.

Sorry to here this. We were contacted by first brokers inc claiming they had buyer for our PV timeshare in Mexico for 29k. They work with title company called global federal trust all a scam. they work together took us for 13,329. Hace reported them. Other yo better business bureau and state attorney general office in Missouri and in Alabama. Hope they catch the scum. I think they are all in Mexico. Close the. Orders. Vite tfump.

Were you able to recover your funds? Who did you contact to report them?

You must have spoken to the same people I did. These guys called me at my office to let me know. They had a buyer (who they keep anonymous) for my timeshare in Puerto Vallarta. They knew the property and everything. Anyway they sent me a contract. No upfront money, yet. Once I signed the contract and sent it on to them, I received an email from the so called Title Company saying they needed $3,986.00 to be wired for the Mexican Transfer Fee. I did that. After contacting my local police and filing a report with them. The next call comes a day later saying they need $8,000.for the 19% IVA tax. Oh by the way we have good news! You will be getting you $4,000. back, they sent the wire this morning. I'm thinking OK, this is good.! Well no money showed up. Them I receive a call from the "Title Company" saying we will not be able to return your 4,000 until we receive your $8,000. and that they have sent me a revisesd accounting and wiring instructions. Needless to say I am not sending $8,000. To add to my loss. The company I was taken by called themselves Worldwide Property Solutions, Inc. & the Title Company goes by Premier Financial Services LLC
Good luck and tell your friends .

A fake website uses Genesis Investment Properties Inc. and it's address to cheat people money.  Since Genesis has no bad record, you can't find anything wrong about this company.  Also the company has no website which makes it a good choice for the cons to turn it into a scam company.  The phone number and email address at the webpage are not Genesis'. The scam company"s webpage:  genesisipi. com

i have been approched by this company to purchase my propertty in Mexico for 112,000. They just sent me a sales agreement which i will not sign because they want a transfer fee sent before they continue the process

i am in the process selling a time share in cancun with GENESIS who has another company SIGMA PARTNERS INC are in charge of the escrow funds and send me the wire transfers first one,RFC TAX$3500 nextNONE FAMILY TRANSFER TAX $2950 NEXT customs clearance number $6230 and the latest LEGAL AND RECORDING $5976 all these amouts are in USD each time a transfer took place i got a official Mexican receipt with government stamp all the wire transfers went to a Mexican name and bank. so it all looked legal.

the CEO of genesis is ROBERT THOMAS the head escrow officer is CHRISTOPHER DONALD LOMBARDI 15515 san fernando mission blvd,mission hills CA 91345.genesis also promised me i would be reimbursed for all the amounts upon closing that i have mentioned in this statement.the last payment i refused to pay as they were putting on the pressure to pay with in 24hours.how does a person get that money back? also i must have dealt with at least 10 different associates they made it seem professional i hope this helps anyone else goin thru this.dec 9 2016.

If you have contact information for the person you sent the money to you can contact him and ask for a refund, or contact local law enforcement. You may want to report him to the wire transfer company you used. You can also report the person and company to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint, and to your state Attorney General’s office.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did this turn out to be a scam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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