It has been for decades now that the timeshare industry has been thriving, providing people with affordable options for vacation homes that come without all the worries associated with their upkeep and maintenance. However, despite the large numbers of legitimate timeshare companies, even after all these years, scams continue to affect the image of genuine timeshare companies. The best way to protect yourself from the most common timeshare scams to affect the market today is to be forewarned.
Here are the most common timeshare scams, and the ways to easily spot them.
Bait and Switch
Overwhelmed visitors touring a majestic resort destination sometimes unknowingly fall into this timeshare trap. You think you are purchasing at one resort but your contract has you tied to a different, less attractive timeshare resort. Always check that your timeshare contract indicates the resort where you think you are purchasing your timeshare.
Signing contract outside the resort’s facilities
Related to the aforementioned timeshare scam, when you sign your timeshare contract at a sales room that is not actually located at the resort where you think you are purchasing your timeshare, you should beware. In the best case scenario you are probably being sold a timeshare at a different resort than you think you are; at worst, you are being sold a non-existent timeshare. This kind of timeshare scam is much less common these days as the local police in most countries are usually involved to stop this fraudulent behavior and protect tourists.
Not contract, but you have paid upfront
When an agent demands for payment even before you get your contract, chances are, it’s a scam perpetuated by those wanting to get cold cash quickly. Remember, don’t give money in the absence of a valid contract.
Being asked to pay for your timeshare “gifts”
Attending presentations can be fun, especially if you are interested in purchasing a timeshare, but as a way of appreciation, legitimate timeshare companies usually provide you with small gifts in return for your time. Timeshare gifts should never cost you money (unless your gift is a discount); they should always be free. Beware of a timeshare scam if you are being asked to pay for your gift because you are not interested in buying a timeshare.
Extra care should be taken when doing resales online. Timeshare scammers have gone high tech and know their way around modern tactics on the internet. Both buyers and sellers of resales are at risk of this type of timeshare scam.
Cancellation even after the cooling off period
Timeshare contracts can’t be cancelled after the cooling off period has passed. Think twice when a timeshare company tells you that theirs is cancellable anytime. It’s probably a fly by night, timeshare scam. Likewise, you can be a victim of a timeshare scam organized by dubious cancellation companies. Remember, if it is after the cooling off period, you can’t cancel, not matter how much money you pay the cancellation company.
When the time comes and you want to rent or sell your timeshare, get the services of a timeshare company that asks for commission not upfront fees. If you are asked for upfront fees; you are likely to be involved in a timeshare scam.
Phone calls from timeshare companies
Don’t entertain phone calls from unknown sources who claim they want to purchase or sell your timeshare on your behalf. These are usually scammers. If you want to sell your timeshare, you should approach a reputable timeshare resale company.
Claims for a free upgrade
A common timeshare scam is to claim that you are getting a free upgrade on your timeshare when in fact you are signing a contract for a new timeshare with a competitor. Always check carefully that you are being contacted by your timeshare company.
Fake OPCs (Outside Point of Contact – Timeshare agents)
Sales personnel must show their IDs to potential buyers, and they must take you to where their official ID claims they are working. If you are taken by these OPCs to a different timeshare resort, you are likely to be walking into a timeshare scam.
Have you been involved in other timeshare scams? Add your experiences to the comments box.