7 Timeshare Scams | Scam Tactics Exposed
Timeshare scams are very common, but with the truth exposed about common timeshare fraud tactics each scam can be fairly easy to avoid. In this article we will teach you the common timeshare scams, and expose the fraud tactics for what they really are.
High Pressure Tactic
Timeshare scams are almost always accompanied with high pressure tactics. High pressure timeshare scams are actually a manipulation tactic and usually involves a smooth, fast talking sales person or scummy resale company who pressure you into a decision.
The high pressure timeshare scam tactic works so well because the sales representative or company can skillfully force you into a decision without giving you enough time or information to think about your decision or make an informed one.
How to avoid these timeshare scams: To avoid this scam tactic, do not let the sales representative rush you into any decisions. If you need more time to think about things, tell the sales representative that you need more time.
If you need more information to make an informed decision, ask the sales representative questions, and if the sales rep won't allow you time to think about your answer, you are probably getting scammed. Get up and leave or promptly end the phone call.
Asking For Upfront Fees
Most timeshare scams involve asking for upfront fees. The scam companies do this to ensure they get paid before you find out that they have no intention of fulfilling their end of the deal.
Once the timeshare scams are finished and the companies get their money they either disappear and you never hear from them again, or they keep scamming you continually as long as they can such as advertising your listing to other sellers rather than actual buyers and take your money for a long period of time.
How to avoid these timeshare scams: Do not pay upfront fees for services. If a resale company asks for upfront fees, say no and walk away.
Free Gift On Purchase
Another timeshare scam is the free gift scam. Some resort companies will offer a free gift upon attending a timeshare presentation and seminar. The idea is that after you are finished you are free to pick up your free gift and leave.
While many of these offers are legitimate, you will usually need to stay for the ENTIRE presentation and seminar to pick up your free gift. Leaving before the presentation or seminar is over will sometimes forfeit your ability to pick up a gift.
The scam however, is when they tell you that you have a free gift if you attend the seminar but when you go to pick up your free gift after the seminar, you are told that you must purchase a timeshare before you are eligible to receive a free gift!
How to avoid these timeshare scams: To avoid this scam you need to ask whether you must first purchase a timeshare before you may receive your free gift. Don't be afraid to ask direct questions and demand a direct answer!
No Existing Buyer
One of the most common timeshare scams involve a scam company cold calling you, emailing or otherwise contacting you claiming that they have a buyer for your timeshare and wanting up front fees to close the deal.
This timeshare scam is related to the 'upfront fees' scam we talked about earlier. The second you give these kinds of scammers money they disappear and you never hear from them again, leaving you both poorer, and still left holding your purchase.
How to avoid these timeshare scams: Again, do not give upfront fees, and don't be afraid to ask questions. How did they get your number or email and how did they find out you were wanting to sell your timeshare? What company do they represent? Find out who they are and do your homework before trusting anyone enough to do business with them.
Middleman Or Advertising
Most timeshare scams involve some form of artful or skillful lies and/or manipulation. Many scam artists will offer some legitimate services, or seemingly legitimate but lie about what they offer, or don't offer and refuse to tell the whole truth.
One partial lie in particular is the advertising timeshare scam. An agency will contact you or otherwise advertise their services as brokers and tell you that they can sell your timeshare for you, for a fee of course.
What they do not tell you that they aren't even legitimate brokers, but actually an advertising agency working as a middle man for another agency.
Why is this a scam? Not only does the advertising agency have to take their cut, but so does any broker that the advertising agency actually uses to broker the deal. That is, if there is actually a legitimate broker involved at all.
Timeshare scams like the double whammy get you coming and going. With the double whammy, a fake sales representative from a scam company will trick unsuspecting victims out of their money, not once but twice in a row!
How could a scam company possibly get you twice, after you've already been duped? By having a second person call you after the first one scammed you, offering to get your money back or compensation for what you were scammed out of.
Sometimes they will actually be the same people who scammed you the first time, sometimes another party, either offering compensation or offering their timeshare resale services in place of what the other company promised to do, but didn't.
How to avoid these timeshare scams: Don't give money to a resale company up front and do a lot of research on any company before using their services to make sure they are both a legitimate company, and not known for scamming their clients. Also, be cautious of cold calls or people who call you out of no where. Ask how they got your number or email. Be blunt, and be bold.
Advertising To Sellers, Not Buyers
Another partial timeshare scam is the partial lie where they tell you they will advertise your timeshare for you, for a fee of course. What they won't tell you is that they are only going to advertise your listing to other sellers, not potential buyers.
Advertising your timeshare to other sellers is oftentimes useless and you end up paying out money to the scammer but never finding a buyer for your listing. This can be as frustrating as it is expensive.
How to avoid these timeshare scams: Be specific! Ask them who they will be advertising your listing to, and how many people will be viewing your listing on average, as well as whether those viewing your ad will be buyers or other sellers.
Need help understanding your timeshare better? Visit our FAQ Page on timeshares.