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Recognizing and Avoiding Timeshare Scams

Ownertrades.com itself offers no broker services, but we are an Affiliate Member of the the Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers Association (LTRBA) , an advocate for timeshare consumer protection. LTRBA offers key tips and sound advice for anyone buying or selling a timeshare in the resale market, and the brokers advertising on the right and left sides of this page are LTRBA members.

The following material will assist you in deciding how to proceed with any resale transaction in which you might have an interest. It has been graciously provided by  Mr. Syed Sarmad, charter member of LTRBA, and author of numerous articles addressing the issue of timeshare scams.

Purchasing in the resale market can be an excellent choice

Purchasing a timeshare resale could be one of the best things you could ever do for yourself and your loved ones, but it could also become an exercise in frustration if you are the target of a buying or selling timeshare scam. LTRBA is working hard to create education and awareness, restore the reputation of the timeshare industry and put the scammers where they belong - behind bars.

Purchasing a timeshare resale can save you literally thousands of dollars, but as with any purchase, you should do your research and homework before purchasing. And there is one very important thing you should do - you should always use a licensed timeshare resale professional whether buying or selling. LTRBA Logo If you already own a timeshare and want to sell it, again, you should use a licensed timeshare resale agent and never, ever, pay an upfront fee to sell your timeshare.

The Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers Association and its members strive to provide ethical services to timeshare sellers and buyers in strict compliance with real estate law and the highest standards of full disclosure and fair dealing. LTRBA brokers are a trustworthy source of help for timeshare consumers.

Buyers and sellers of timeshare vacations can work with licensed resale brokers who are matched to their needs and their “no upfront fees” policy ensures service and protects against fraud. You are invited to search their member directory for someone who knows the product you want to buy or sell.

If you think you have been a victim of a scam when buying or selling a timeshare, their website provides an easy way to file a complaint .

Tips for buying or selling

Start with trust. Check out the Better Business Bureau  Business Review for a company. You should never pay any money upfront when selling a timeshare. Any expenses are paid at closing and taken from the proceeds of the sale.

Beware of upfront fees. Though there may be closing costs or other fees associated with purchasing a timeshare, be wary of any company that pressures you to pay any such fees upfront or before reviewing any contracts.

Read the fine print. Especially when selling a timeshare, make sure to read the contract carefully. Find out if the company is actually selling your timeshare or simply charging you to advertise the listing.

Never wire cash. Credit cards offer a certain amount of fraud protection that you cannot get if you use a wire service. Walk away from any deal that requires you to pay cash or wire money, especially to locations in other countries.

Get it in writing. Ask the salesman for all information in writing, including all fees, timing and ways the seller plans to advertise the unit.

Check the license. Ask for licensing information for the seller’s agents, and check that information with the Real Estate Commission. Only deal with licensed brokers and ask for references.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Be wary of any seller who promises a big selling price or quick turnaround. High-pressure tactics are always a red flag.

Know where to turn. Before selling your timeshare, read the FTC’s advice on selling a timeshare and report any scams to the BBB or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. Florida recently signed into law one of the first timeshare resale consumer protection bills. The Timeshare Resale Accountability Act will protect Florida timeshare consumers by helping to put an end to deceptive marketing practices conducted by fraudulent companies and empowering timeshare consumers to make better decisions about purchasing timeshare resale services.

This legislation will, among other things, require timeshare resale companies to disclose all terms and conditions of the services they offer, provide for a right of rescission for consumers to cancel a contract for resale services, and impose penalties on companies that engage in deceptive practices. Several other States are also involved in developing legislation designed to protect the timeshare consumer.

Additional tips and reminders: when buying or selling a timeshare, use a licensed timeshare resale broker, contact the BBB before doing business with any company and never, ever pay any upfront fees!

And one more thing to remember, if you did not initiate the contact, call or email, beware and be aware that you might be the target of a timeshare scam.