Timeshares are still with us and are as popular today as they were several decades ago. Indeed, a timeshare provides many people with a guaranteed holiday in the sun every year, which they may not be able to do without being part of a timeshare. However, the bad news is that timeshare scams are still going on today.
The difference between today’s timeshare scams in comparison to those of 20 years ago is that they’re now much more sophisticated and complex. It’s harder to recognise when you are caught in a scam and when you do, it’s likely you’ve already forked out the money.
There are now groups and organisations, known as agents or brokers, that have been set up specifically to deceive and scam timeshare owners. They promise much, and demand money upfront but don’t actually deliver the service. They are very convincing and claim they can help you, but for upfront fees. The problem is they don’t have the necessary licenses to work on your behalf. The reality is they won’t be able to sell your timeshare or help you extract yourself from a timeshare contract.
How To Recognise A Timeshare Scam
Recognising a timeshare scam is getting harder and harder. However, there are several common timeshare scams to be aware of:
- Unsolicited Phone Calls – usually a telephone call you’re not expecting from a company you don’t know. The caller (agent/broker) will ask a leading question that confirms to them you have a timeshare and then claim they have a legitimate buyer. But this isn’t the case. It’s quite likely they’ll ask for your personal information – do not disclose this – and then ‘explain’ they need upfront funds to close the deal. They’ll explain the payment is to cover taxes, transfer of ownership fees, international transaction fees and other expenses.
- False Resale Agents – similar to the unsolicited phone calls, they will tell you they are working on behalf of a legitimate company – always look it up and if it sounds suspicious or ‘too good to be true’, it probably is. No matter how convincing they sound, you can guarantee they will have done their research so, do not engage with them. Again, they will want upfront fees, which they may call ‘luxury taxes’, which is a major warning sign.
- Timeshare Exit Lawyers – they tell you they are lawyers and will quite likely sound like they are but again, generally be careful. They are also known as timeshare contract cancellation lawyers and they work by making you promises they can’t keep. For example, they’ll try to convince you they can legally get you out of your timeshare, offer a 100% money-back guarantee or even tell you to cancel a mortgage you may have on your timeshare. The reality is, they can’t and worse still, they may tell you to stop paying any maintenance or mortgage fees – please don’t do this as you could find you have a very big bill to pay.
- Viking Ship Timeshares – Viking Ships are shell companies that have been set up specifically to transfer timeshare ownerships. They will advertise false statistics, claiming they can make you an offer on your timeshare that you just can’t refuse. They will persuade you that all you have to do is sign your timeshare over to them to be free of your contract. But this is a major scam so, please do not transfer the deeds or pay any upfront fees.
What Should I Do To Get Out Of A Timeshare Scam?
If you do discover you have been scammed by a person or company who claims to be specialists in buying and selling timeshare contracts, immediately stop contact with them and don’t pay any more fees. Immediately call us at Sarah Waddington Solicitors.
Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we specialise in resolving problems with timeshares and particularly timeshare scams. Our team is highly experienced and knowledgeable in timeshare regulation and litigation. Timeshare contracts are often long and convoluted, with plenty of legal terms that are difficult to understand. But at Sarah Waddington Solicitors, we have the experience in managing timeshare contracts as well as being able to extricate you from a contract you no longer want.