The Better Business Bureau recommends that timeshare owners looking to exit can contact their timeshare developer directly.
The FBI Criminal Investigative Division and the Office of Investor Education and Advocacy of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) would like to warn consumers of a recent increase in fraudulent schemes targeting owners of timeshare properties in Mexico. These scams typically involve individuals alleging to be representatives of a brokerage firm, travel agency, title company, or escrow agent making unsolicited contact with owners of timeshare properties.
Earlier this year Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a lawsuit against a Bentonville company accused of scamming people who were trying to get rid of their timeshares. Arkansans lost out on more than $136,000 from Real Travel, LLC, according to the AG’s office.
The lawsuit said Real Travel, LLC sold timeshare exit services in exchange for a fee ranging from $5,000 to $18,000.
AARP Volunteer Warren Searls strives to educate Arkansans about the warning signs of this potential scam.
“The give away is the fact that they want money for fees up front,” Searls said. “And they will go through the whole process and you’ll think that you sold your timeshare and then you get a bill from the timeshare company saying you owe us for maintenance fees on your timeshare.”
Sketchy firms are targeting older timeshare owners with hollow promises to get them out of their contracts for a hefty upfront fee.
Timeshare owner Ed Roach, of Maplewood, Mo., still remembers the telephone call he got in 2017 from a timeshare exit firm claiming to be associated with Wyndham resorts. Timeshare policies change regularly, the caller noted, inviting him to a seminar to learn about the latest developments. Plus, he’d get a free dinner and an iPad.
Hundreds of timeshare owners – from at least 46 states – have lost thousands of dollars each to timeshare exit businesses that set up operations in recent years in and around Springfield, Missouri. That is a key finding of a four-month Better Business Bureau investigation of the controversial industry by BBB Serving Eastern & Southwest Missouri & Southern Illinois. The results were published in a study entitled “Timeshare Exit Trap” (BBB.org/TimeShareExitStudy).
The American Resort Development Association — Resort Owner’s Coalition (ARDA-ROC), representing over 1.5 million timeshare owners, recommends that owners read the study issued by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Eastern & Southwest Missouri & Southern Illinois, before engaging with any third-party exit or relief company.Continue reading