Anybody who owns a time share should be cautious about falling prey to these scam artists. Before buying a timeshare or selling one, consider the following tips:
- No one legitimate is going to ask you to pay money up front to sell your time share. "When you sell your house, you don't shell out a bunch of money to the closing agent," Horn said. "The costs are covered in the proceeds of the sale. It's the same with a timeshare."
- If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. "Never pay for a promise," Harwood said. "Get everything in writing first and pay only after your unit is sold."
- A legitimate company won't ask you to pay for a prize. Any company trying to sell you on a "free" vacation will probably want something from you, such as taxes and fees and attendance at mandatory timeshare presentations. Find out the costs before agreeing to anything.
- There's not a good market for used timeshares. "Timeshare owners who want to sell have lost interest or they're elderly and can't use them anymore," said Horn. "Some have health or financial problems and they view their timeshare as an investment to cash in but people don't pay as much for used timeshares."
- Before doing business with any company you don't know that texts, emails or cold calls, contact the state's Attorney General and the local consumer protection agency for a run down on complaints. Search online by entering the company name and the word complaints or scam to read what other people are saying.