Time share fraud: I don’t have time for them!

I think quite possibly the only thing worse that a sales or collection call is a phone call that attempt to “scam” you into doing something; especially something you may not want to do.  But the phone call is so sincere.  This wonderful, service representative is here to help you get more money out of your time share.  Someone is just dying to purchase it from you and if you only do these few little things then it could be sold in 60-90 days and all your time share worries (and maintenance fees) will be over.

The FBI recently reported an increase is this type of con.  The offer comes to them and wanting to sell or rent their time share to make a little extra money sounds pretty good to them, especially if they can’t take a vacation this year or meet the fees associated each year with time share ownership.  They agree to the sale or rental and provide their credit card number over the telephone to cover the cost of a “one time processing fee.”  But, before you can say “Let’s go to Disney!”  that credit card information is being used as a stolen card and many charges for now stolen goods are adding up until it reaches that maximum capacity (or maximum balance) stage. Or maybe they are using that credit card information to create a whole new you, and not the one that returns back home ready to work and handle daily life’s stresses, but a whole new identity involving you.

Once the charges have been paid suddenly the phone calls are unreturned and even the so called “call customer service center” isn’t providing any customer service.   To make matters even worse, the business that you may turn to in order to recover from your time share scare may not be legitimate either.  IC3.gov reports, “timeshare owners who have been defrauded by a timeshare sales scheme have been subsequently contacted by an unscrupulous timeshare fraud recovery company as well.”  They are contacted and promised assistance in recovering their money, but the process is anything but recuperative.

CBS News reports “The Florida Attorney General’s Office says timeshare fraud tops their list of complaints with over 12,000 last year alone.”   Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi recommends “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.  She adds “[People] should be very skeptical of any company claiming that a timeshare resale market in the area where they have their timeshare is “a hot market” now. Because that’s just not true.” Another common tactic for these companies is to tell clients that there are buyers “waiting in the wings.”

To avoid credit card fraud, identity theft and unscrupulous charges to your credit and your identity it is important to do the following:

  • Before you work with any company to sell or rent your time share vacation check with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Don’t believe the so called “promises” made out to make you money on your time share or the next thing you know you will be doing more sharing of your vacation home.
  • Read the fine print whether you are purchasing, selling, or renting your time share know what business you are in business with.

The State of Florida has recently introduced a bill to help them “crack down” on time share fraud.  The proposed regulation includes:

  • A timeshare resale advertiser may not misrepresent a pre-existing interest in the owner’s timeshare.
  • A timeshare resale advertiser may not mislead a customer as to the success rate of the advertiser’s sales.
  • A timeshare resale advertiser may not provide brokerage or direct sale services.
  • A timeshare resale advertiser must honor a cancellation request made within seven days following a signed agreement.
  • A timeshare resale advertiser must provide a full refund by a timeshare owner within 20 days of a valid cancellation request.
  • A timeshare resale advertiser must not collect any payment or engage in any resale advertising activities until the timeshare owner delivers a signed, written agreement for the services.
  • A timeshare resale advertiser must also provide a full disclosure statement printed in bold type, with no smaller than a 12-point font, and printed immediately preceding the space provided for the timeshare owner’s signature.
  • A timeshare advertising agreement must be put in writing.
  • A company that violates these provisions has committed a violation of the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act with a penalty not to exceed $15,000 per violation.

What do you think?  Will this help or will the time share frauds in Florida stay on the rise.  Does the federal level of government need something like this to stop time share sales fraud?