Most Common Timeshare Scams
Although not in the news as often as they were 30 to 40 years ago, timeshare scams are still as prevalent today as they were in the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, what’s more worrying is the rise in companies (they will call themselves brokers or agents) promising people they can get them out of their timeshares when they’re actually selling a service that doesn’t exist.
This is just one of the modern types of timeshare scams that are out there today, and at no point are you released from your timeshare.
Types of timeshare scams
Although there is nowhere near the level of timeshares being sold today as there were years ago, they are still available. But because of this decline, the types of timeshare scams have changed. These are the most common timeshare scams we come across:
- Timeshare purchases – As people are far more aware of the scams associated with timeshares, being mis-sold a timeshare and discovering that the timeshare doesn’t exist or not revealing the full costs involved still happens. Most people report that they entered the timeshare having been put under severe pressure during the sales pitch, often from a ‘cold call’. If in any doubt about the timeshare company, the contract or any other details, check if the company exists or contact us and we will investigate for you.
- Timeshare resales – This is probably one of the most popular timeshare scams at the moment and again, usually originates from a ‘cold call.’ The caller will convince you he has a legitimate buyer for your timeshare and in today’s cost of living crisis, many people are looking for ways to cut expenditure so we can see why it’s appealing. The caller will ask for personal information and a whole range of fees up-front, including transfer fees, taxes, international transaction fees or any other fees they can make up. A legitimate timeshare resale company won’t ‘cold call’ you and in most cases, it is the buyer who pays the fees; the only cost you should expect to pay are the closing costs, but not up-front.
- Timeshare exit – Also known as timeshare contract cancellation, in the current economic climate many timeshare owners are wanting out of their contracts, often as fast as possible. Timeshare scammers have taken full advantage and are contacting timeshare owners not only through cold calls but also by email and text messages. However, similar to timeshare resales, they ask for money up-front for services that either don’t exist or aren’t provided. So, as well as losing yet more money, timeshare owners are still left with a timeshare they can’t afford and don’t want.
- Timeshare claims – Again, another prevalent timeshare scam is convincing timeshare owners that they qualify for a legitimate timeshare claim and are due compensation. In most cases, owners don’t qualify and there isn’t a legitimate claim. However, by the time the timeshare owner has discovered this, they’ve already paid out legal and claims fees up-front and no claim has ever been submitted.
- Viking ship scams – this refers to shell companies that have been set up to encourage people who want out of their timeshare to transfer ownership. Similar to resale scams, they use fake statistics and scare tactics to convince owners that their timeshare is losing money, not viable or a burden. But they’ll tell you they can help and all you have to do is transfer ownership to them and your problems are over. But they’re not. You will have paid up-front transfer fees but the company doesn’t transfer your timeshare to their name; it stays in your name. So, when maintenance costs and other expenses aren’t getting paid because you cancelled payments, you will find you are still liable for those costs and courts will come knocking.
If you’re a victim of a timeshare scam, don’t cause yourself immense stress and heartache by trying to settle it yourself. Contact Sarah Waddington Solicitors who are specialists in timeshare scams.