Working in the timeshare relief industry, we often get questions from those that don’t require our services. One of the main questions we get is “Why would anyone buy a timeshare in the first place?” Obviously, the idea of a timeshare is to have somewhere for your family to visit for vacations whenever you’d like. When timeshare companies don’t offer the experience they promised, that’s when timeshare relief companies come into play.
However, the timeshare market is changing dramatically. Services such as Airbnb are shrinking the market for renting out timeshares, and annual price hikes are becoming more drastic. People are looking for timeshare relief now more than ever! Unfortunately, some companies offering timeshare relief are preying on those that have been scammed by timeshare salesman previously. Timeshare companies are making timeshare relief more difficult even for well-intentioned companies, so it’s more important than ever to be on the lookout for timeshare relief scams.
Are There Legitimate Timeshare Relief Companies?
Customers reasons for seeking timeshare relief vary widely, but their goal remains the same. The issue is, how do you know the difference between a scam and a legitimate company? What are some things to look for and avoid? What do you do you if you feel a company has scammed you? Is canceling a contract for your timeshare even possible? Your timeshare company says it’s illegal and can damage your credit, now what? The good news is that there are companies out there that truly want to help with timeshare relief. The bad news is that scammers use this knowledge to misrepresent themselves and take money from innocent victims.
So how do you know the difference between a legitimate company and one that is trying to scam you? For starters, while negotiating your timeshare exit, in most cases you shouldn’t stop paying your payments or fees. If for some reason you’re told to do this, you should request something in writing outlining their explanation of why. Be clear on your protections for you and your credit. If you still are unsure, seek a 2nd opinion.
How Do Timeshare Relief Scammers Collect Money?
Another thing to look out for is timeshare relief companies requesting payment for services up front, with or without a guarantee in writing. Look, a guarantee is only as good as the company that is offering it. Just because someone offers a guarantee, doesn’t mean they are going to honor it. Easy Timeshare Relief offers a guarantee, but we also have a proven track record getting out of timeshares for customers. In most cases, we also don’t require any payment up front. If a company is requesting payment for services up front, you should definitely start doing more research to ensure you aren’t falling victim to a timeshare relief scam.
There are cases where timeshare relief scammers will drag you along the “process” without requesting money up front. For that reason, even if you haven’t paid anything, you still need to keep your eyes and ears open to potential warning signs. Any company requesting that you wire transfer the money directly to them for your closing instead of another, safer method of payment, deserves a second look. Your biggest red flag in the case of wire transfers should be sending payment to an address not recognized by you as associated with the transaction, especially if it’s out of the country. In many cases, we have seen timeshare relief clients wire money and never hear back from the company “helping” them ever again!
Protect Yourself from Timeshare Relief Scams
When researching companies to work with you should be able to identify a customer service number for them and times of operation. A physical address will be another potential indication of a legitimate company. PO Boxes aren’t always an indication of a scam, however, you have a right to know their physical address.
Any timeshare relief company should register as a business entity through their state. You can typically find this through the state website in which they do business. This can also tell you how long a company has been in business, which also helps to narrow down your search in who you choose to do business with and can help identify what companies are scams and which aren’t. PLEASE NOTE: Some companies organize their business entities in states other than the state they are physically located in. If you cannot find the business entity located in the state they are physically located in, request to know what state their business entity is filed in, and to see their articles of organization or relevant state filing.
What if The Company Appears Legitimate?
We now know some red flags to look out for to avoid timeshare relief scams. But how on earth do we protect ourselves from a company that truly appears to be a legitimate company? It seems like timeshare relief scams are constantly evolving. How do you stay ahead of the curve?
Search engines like Google are great for doing your research, but you’ve got to know what you are looking for. Times have changed and you want to make sure you equip yourself with as much information as needed to make the best decisions for you and your family. A simple Google search of the company’s name should give you some background on the company contacting you. After you do this, add scam to the end of the business name in your search to see if the company has been accused publicly of fraudulent practices.
Another great way to protect yourself is by calling your state’s Attorney General office. State offices are on high alert for timeshare and timeshare relief scams. You can leverage them to see if the company you’re working with is known either for ethical or unethical practices. If the company is offering to sell your timeshare for you, you can also contact your state’s real estate department as they should be a licensed agent to sell.
The BBB can provide useful information, but it’s important to know that the ratings can be unreliable or out of date. Companies pay the BBB for accreditation so don’t trust this as an end-all-be-all.
What Should You Do if You’re a Victim of A Scam?
If you feel as if you’ve been scammed by a timeshare relief company, contact the FTC immediately. You can do this by calling their consumer hotline or by visiting their online complaint assistant. Next, contact your state Attorney General and report all of the relevant details of your case. If you’re in the midst of timeshare relief now and would like to get a second opinion, you can also feel free to contact us, but please do so quickly as time is of the essense in cases like these.