If you already own a timeshare, or you are thinking of buying a timeshare in the near future we would urge you to be careful; in recent months reported cases of fraudsters targeting reputable companies have risen. The increase is most accounted for by scammers who are targeting new buyers and vacation club owners looking to make money from their memberships (though there are some exceptions).
We put together a checklist of information you need to know about the most common scams we are seeing.
Rental Agency Scams
If you wish to earn an income from renting your timeshare then please be aware that there are scammers out there who will seek to take advantage of this. Some scammers will set themselves up as rental agency agents and charge an upfront fee to manage potential renters. If you want to avoid being scammed we recommend that you go with a well-known agency or choose an agency that charges commission rather than upfront fees.
Resale scams take place when fraudsters identify membership owners who are either looking to profit from their memberships or who are looking to be rid of them. They will cold call or reach out in written form to inform you that they have a buyer (or two) who will pay large sums of money for your timeshare but refuse to disclose the details until you pay a finder’s fee. Of course, the details are never forthcoming. If you want to avoid these scams simply sell directly yourself or sell through an agent that takes 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.
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. Keep any and all communications you receive as these may be required at a later date!