August 2, 2011
August 2, 2011
No Vacation for Timeshare Owners
By Oregon Better Business Bureau
Listed as one of the top 10 schemes of 2010, “Timeshare Resellers” are still among Better Business Bureau’s most commonly reported scams.
Consumers who own vacation properties or timeshares are contacted by resale companies promising to market and sell properties on their behalf. Some companies claim to already have eager buyers or imply they are representing investors, however, most are just offering to advertise timeshares for sale. Resellers convince timeshare owners to pay advance fees for appraisals, closing costs or other services; but after fees are paid, consumers:
•Don’t receive promised contracts or paperwork.
•Have a difficult time contacting resale companies.
•Discover that properties were never listed, transferred or sold—as assumed.
BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has received similar complaints on the following local companies in the last 36 months:
Universal Timeshare Sales Associates of Beaverton, OR, has 26 complaints.
Leisure Property Management in Beaverton, OR, has 13 complaints.
VP Coast Properties of Seattle, WA, has 18 complaints. BBB released an alert in July 2010.
International Timeshare Consolidators (ITC) in Seattle, WA, has 18 complaints. BBB issued an alert in 2009.
When approached by companies offering to help sell timeshares, figure out exactly what they’re offering. Do not confuse advertising or listing services with real estate services. In most legitimate transactions, buyers put down deposits and real estate companies get commission from sellers only after deals close.
•Ask if the companies’ salespeople are licensed to sell real estate or if they are selling an advertising service. If it’s local, verify business licensing through Oregon Secretary of State and real estate licensing through Oregon Real Estate Agency. Search BBB and Oregon Department of Justice for complaints.
•Avoid paying upfront. Many complainants are burned by companies charging advance “appraisal” fees or closing costs. Opt for a company that charges fees only after the property is sold.
•Don’t agree to anything right away. Ask companies to provide paperwork and get all promises, fees and obligations in writing. Don’t be pressured; think it over and seek advice from an unbiased legal professional.