I’ve got a great idea for an app. It’s free for nice people, but scam artists would have to pay for the premium subscription:
Let’s say you’re a timeshare scam artist. You make a call on your cell phone, but before the call goes through, the app does a little internet research and then you get an alert message that says: “The person you are calling has a world famous blog, 12 million Twitter followers, and a Klout score of 956. There is an increased chance of them writing about you and your dishonest ways. Are you sure you want to place this call?”
Timeshare Realty Specialists = Snake Oil Salesmen (and Women)
I’ve told my Dad if anyone ever cold calls him about selling his timeshare, he should direct them to me. Because the con artists that litter that industry will prey on his great desire and desperation to unload it.
Enter Timeshare Realty Specialists. Who left a voice mail for me about how they could sell my Dad’s timeshare for $12,800 to $14,000. Guaranteed.
Here’s a buzz word for all of you trying to dump your timeshares: Guaranteed Corporate Buyout.
Guaranteed Corporate Buyout, An OxyMORON.
If anyone ever says “guaranteed corporate buyout” when they claim they can sell your timeshare, run! This article on Yahoo states that a corporate buyout is nothing more than a bait and switch.
Timeshare Realty Specialists claims that they will list your timeshare for 10 months and if it doesn’t sell by then, they will buy it. If they couldn’t sell it, why on earth would they buy it from you?
I’ll tell you why they would buy it from you. Turns out, they will buy it for one dollar after you’ve paid them to list it for 10 months. So there’s that. That’s counts as a guarantee, right?
And for the love of God, at LEAST check a company’s BBB rating. Before I could even get to the BBB website to see that Timeshare Realty Specialists has a big fat F, I came across many websites complaining about them, like Ripoff-Report and Red Week and TrustLink Reviews.
How to Avoid Timeshare Reseller Scams:
Look people, see the forest through the trees. There are so many red flags in these offers, if you just ignore the sound of money for a second:
Do 5 seconds of research
- Check their name with the Better Business Bureau. Do they have anything less than an A?
- Google the company’s name plus “scam” or “complaints”.
That’s it. Do 5 seconds of research. If you find yourself on message boards where lots of people are complaining and you get ONE GUY who comes to their defense, don’t fall for it. It’s one guy against many. Remember when I told you to ignore the sound of money?
If you fell for that silly NoNo! hair removal commercial but decided to “do some research” first and you see that Amazon gives it 438 1-star reviews and only two 5-star reviews, who are you going to believe? See, the problem is that you are really just going through the motions of “doing research” because you want to believe this miracle product will work so bad, no amount of negative reviews will change your mind. You are already going to buy this product anyway and really what you are looking for is that one positive review to hang your hat on.
This is what’s known as: confirmation bias.
If you are the type of person who will believe those two people on Amazon who gave it 5 stars (and we call these people “shills”, by the way), then I will just give you the phone number of this con artist right now so you can “sell” your timeshare through them because they have a guarantee. It says so right on their website.
A false statement, no matter how much you want to believe it, is still false.
Red Flags that a Timeshare Reseller is a Con Artist
- Nobody can “guarantee” anything when it comes to selling your garbage.
- Timeshares are worth zero today, so if anyone says they can sell it for more than that, they are lying. Unless they buy it from you for one dollar, of course.
- If they ask for an upfront fee of ANY KIND. Timeshare Realty Specialists (and other scam artists) will ask for an “upfront fee”, as much as $2,000 or more, to “list” or “advertise”, and then they never actually sell your timeshare. They never intended to sell it. Why should they? Not when they can buy it from you for one dollar after ten months. Because that’s what it’s worth. One dollar.
- If they’ve changed their name several times. (For example, according to the interwebs, Timeshare Realty Specialists used to be called Vacation Tree, who also has a big ol’ honkin’ F with the BBB and 69 complaints and was issued a Cease and Desist order by the Dept of Real Estate for operating without a license.)
- If they use the words “guaranteed” or “corporate buyout”, hang up, walk out, or click away. At this point you are obviously wasting your time with these snake oil salesmen.
I’m not hiding that fact that I have a bias against timeshares. I’ve blogged about it before. But with good reason. Two good reasons: experience and research. Please, for the love of all that is holy, learn from the mistake of others.
I’m also aware that some of you who own timeshares are perfectly happy with yours because it’s in a nice location at a nice time of year and you never have to deal with “exchanges” (bringing the timeshare industry to a whole new level of scam I won’t go into today) and your maintenance fees are still doable so you are actually getting some value out of it, in which case, GOOD FOR YOU, MAN. ENJOY. May you and your children, and your grandchildren, and every one of your heirs until the end of time, enjoy paying the constantly increasing maintenance fees until somebody in your lineage is sick of it and has to PAY someone thousands of dollars to get out.
For more info on timeshares and why they are the third leading cause of cancer and pestilence in this country, check these articles out:
An FTC Law Enforcement report describing action taken against these con artists.
Complaint posted on Ripoff Report where an alleged ex-employee takes us inside the offices of of Timeshare Realty Specialists and explains how they bamboozled and bilked their customers.
A scam alert video news report by a CBS news station warning people about timeshare resales scam artists.
How to Avoid Timeshare Scams (Yahoo)
Caught Out by Cold-Calling Scam On Timeshare Owners – an article in The Guardian about Action Services International, another timeshare resale scam company.
Another nice rundown/checklist/red flags of timeshare scam artists is here.
Beware Promises to Sell Your Timeshare (from the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance)
How Much is My Timeshare Worth?
To learn what your timeshare is really worth, check the “Completed Listings” section on eBay for your particular resort. And bring a box of tissues with you. Because it is a very sad story that will break your heart.
And if you think for one second that your timeshare is worth more than the other timeshares, let me tell you, this one that my Dad has is a red week, VIP unit in Lake Tahoe during the peak of ski season that is walking distance to the Gondola at Heavenly Valley. A gorgeous two bedroom, two bathroom, full kitchen, granite countertops,… just fabulous. I rather enjoy it, actually.
But on paper? It is worth one dollar.
So What About That Voicemail You Got From Timeshare Realty Experts?
Yeah. I’m probably not gonna call them back. The FTC has brought 191 actions against Timeshare resale bozos who bilked over $18 million out of unsuspecting people, so it’s just a matter of time for these particular how-do-they-sleep-at-night vultures.
“scam” keyboard image source: Stuart Miles – Free Digital Photos