How to Protect Yourself: Timeshare Sales & Resales
Source: The Florida Attorney General's Office
Vacation timeshares give you the right to use a vacation home for a limited, pre-planned period. Timeshare scams occur both on the front-end, the time of the original purchase, and at the back-end, when you try to resell the timeshare. Victims of timeshare sales companies are contacted either over the phone or are mailed a postcard asking the victim to call a toll-free phone number. Before you decide to either purchase or resell a timeshare, consider the following:
Be Wary Of The Hard Sales Pitch
When it comes to purchasing a new timeshare, the salesman may try to give you the impression that the papers have to be signed that same day. Remember that you always have the right to leave the sales office, and come back later. Read your contract to determine what cancellation rights you have after you have signed the papers. Before buying a timeshare, you should consider whether you will want to return to the same vacation spot each year. Remember that once you buy it, you may not be able to sell it due to a depressed resale market.
Be Wary Of Too-Good-To-Be-True Claims When It Comes To Resales
The company's salespeople are likely to claim that the market in the area where your resort is located is "hot" and that they are being overwhelmed with buyer requests for your resort. In some cases, the salespeople may even tell you that they have a buyer waiting in the wings who wants to buy your timeshare. Be skeptical of these types of claims. Remember the timeshare market is not "hot" and it is unlikely that there is a buyer ready and willing to buy your timeshare.
Question Why You Have To Pay The Fee Up Front
Most resale companies require you to pay a $300-500 advance listing fee, before the sale of your timeshare can take place. In a typical real estate transaction the fee is paid from the proceeds of the sale, at the time of the sale. You may want to opt for a company which will wait for its fee until the sale goes through. You should also find out if the salespeople are licensed real estate brokers and whether there are any complaints lodged against the broker.
Consider Other Options When It Comes To Resale
You may want to try selling your timeshare "by owner", by placing an advertisement in a newsletter or magazine read by potential timeshare buyers. Or you may want to list your timeshare with a licensed real estate broker in the area where your resort is located. As an alternative, you could contract with a company which allows you to exchange your timeshare for a unit in a different area.
You may contact the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes, Bureau of Timeshares at (850) 488-1122 for additional information.