For years, we’ve warned about scam artists who target the timeshare resale market. Owners who no longer want their timeshares look to escape the never ending cycle of high maintenance fees and special assessments, only to find that the resale market is scarce. When owners discover the timeshare they purchased as an “investment” actually holds no value, they become frustrated and often vulnerable to fraud and deception.
The only hope for timeshare owners has been the crackdown on timeshare resale scams from law enforcement and the campaign championed by the FBI to educate and inform timeshare owners of the risks associated with timeshare resales and the common schemes scammers will use to defraud consumers.
Every few weeks another new timeshare scam artist is caught and sentenced for his crimes. Unfortunately we are finding out that punishment is not enough. Timeshare scams have become so lucrative for scam artists that even getting caught will not dissuade them from a repeat offense. Just a few days ago news broke that a man who had been previously sentenced for for a timeshare telemarketing scheme in 2015 was caught again for perpetrating a similar scheme while on supervised release. (See the full U.S. Department of Justice bulletin here).
Wesley Scott Aldred of Florida pled guilty to felony conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in 2015. He was sentenced to one day in prison and two years of supervised released. Aldred was one of a group of scam artists known as Premiere Timeshare Solutions. Telemarketers such as Aldred would call desperate timeshare owners claiming to have a buyer for their timeshare and requesting transactional fees upfront. The owners would pay the fees and would never hear from Aldred or his associates again. When Aldred was caught by law enforcement again recently, he was participating in a similar telemarking scheme targeting the same vulnerable timeshare owners.
Aldred was sentenced this time to 21 months in prison, to be followed by 39 months of supervised release.
If you own a timeshare and are looking for a way out, be very careful of timeshare scams. Remember that the best and only way to protect yourself is to avoid paying upfront fees to anyone. Scam artists rely on upfront fees to make their profits.
If you cannot sell your timeshare, be weary of anyone who requires an upfront fee. Consider alternative options such as timeshare divestment or timeshare cancellation that can be performed safely without any upfront fees. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to escape the burden of an unwanted timeshare through litigation.
If you need help getting out of a timeshare, contact The Abrams Firm at (360) 918-8196 for a free consultation with a consumer rights attorney. We will discuss the remedies available to your specific case, so you can make an informed decision as to what is the right strategy—divestment or litigation—for you. The consultation is 100% free and we are the only company to never charge any upfront fees for divestment. We are the only service known with:
1) NO Upfront Fee for timeshare divestment (timeshare contract cancellation)
2) All Consumer Protection Attorneys (not even 1 paralegal)
3) Transparent & Clear flat-rate pricing (published on our website).
Since 2001, we are Consumer Protection Attorneys dedicated to fighting for Consumer Justice.
– Bebe B., Associate Attorney, The Abrams Firm