The great news is that if you are reading this from your monthly Garza Blanca Residence Club newsletter, you are already a vacation club member. The not so great news is that the amount of reported cases of scammers targeting vacation club owners has increased.
We want you to get the most out of your membership, and in addition to providing you and your family with amazing vacation experiences, we want to help you stay protected from potential scams.
Garza Blanca Residence Club is a member of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and its sales practices conform to the local and federal government regulations in Mexico, so you can feel safe. However, there are some fraudsters out there who will try and trick you and we want you to be informed so that you can avoid any potential scams.
Below is a list of the most common scams we are seeing:
Rental Agency Scams
As a vacation club member, you may not always have the opportunity to travel and it can be tempting to rent out your timeshare to not lose out, but take note that some scammers will set themselves up as rental agency agents and charge an upfront fee. If you do decide to rent your timeshare, make sure you do your research and go with a well-known agency. The best way to avoid a potential scam is to choose an agency that charges a commission rather than upfront fees.
Resale scams take place when fraudsters cold call or send an email saying that they have an interested buyer who will give you a large sum of money for your timeshare. Sounds great, doesn’t it? The red flag in this situation is when they refuse to disclose the details until you pay a finder’s fee. After you pay the finder’s fee, miraculously, the interested buyer disappears. If you are looking to sell and want to avoid this scam, make sure you go through an agent that takes a commission rather than upfront fees.
Cancellation scams are arguably the most dangerous of the scams on this list; they involve a scammer pretending to a be a lawyer. They will claim that they can legally cancel your timeshare contract without consequence for you. This is simply not true. If you are outside of the cooling off period, you cannot simply cancel your membership, and if you are still within the cooling off period then you do not need their help. Do not let these fraudsters put you in the undesirable position of defaulting on your payments.
Final word of advice
Thoroughly research any company before paying any upfront fees for rental services or resale assistance. Most commonly, companies asking for upfront fees are scams. If in doubt, call Members Services: 1-877-722-4592
What you can do if you find yourself involved in a scam
If you feel that you have been involved in a scam, please report it! First, you should report your experience to the members services area of the Garza Blanca team, and then make subsequent complaints to the Federal Trade Commission’s business fraud division by calling 1-877-382-4357 as well as your state attorney general’s office. The details for your state attorney can be found online. Finally, report all fraudsters to ARDA by following this link: http://www.arda.org/advisories.
Make sure you keep any and all communications you receive as these may be required at a later date!