Timeshare Fraud – Top 7 “Value” Resort Sales Scams
Victims of Timeshare Fraud scams in literally thousands of consumer reports, evidence deceptive tactics used to trick them into buying. A big lie is that you will “make money” because it’s a “good investment” in a “valuable property” that will be an “asset” to put in your Will for your children.
Below you will find a list of some common concerns timeshare victims have faced at timeshare presentations. If your timeshare sales representative used some of these tactics (deceptive sales practices) then you may have been the victim of Timeshare Fraud, and if so, the Abrams Firm has experience with thousands of consumers that have successfully divested from their timeshare. So read the list below, and if any of the categories sound like what happened to you, give The Abrams Firm a call at 360-918-8196 and ask to speak with a Consumer Protection Attorney directly to discuss your matter. You deserve a seasoned Timeshare Lawyer to provide a preliminary case analysis and provide competent answers to your questions.
Timeshare Fraud — Timeshare Scam #1:
The Timeshare is a Good Financial Investment
Some timeshares are totally legitimate, and they end up being worth exactly what they were originally promising. This is true if the timeshare is really worth many thousands, or even if it was an honest representation that the timeshare value is zero. As long as the consumer fully understands the true facts of the gainful investment potential (not very common), or alternatively, the reality that the timeshare sale was exclusively based on lifestyle (with no mention, whatsoever, of potential profits), then the deal is legitimate. Unfortunately for most, Timeshares are not a good financial investment, but when a salesperson knows that, and in order to make a sale they promise great profits as a good financial investment, this constitutes a consumer fraud.
Timeshare Fraud — Timeshare Scam #2:
The Timeshare is Easy to Resell
Often the timeshare sales rep is confronted with a concern consumer who says: “What if I ever need to sell my timeshare?” For most people the purchase & sale of vacation ownership was not a priority before they stepped into the sales presentation. So many people simply want to calculate their potential downside risk. In many cases fast answers are given to financial planning questions concerning a rainy day fund or cashing-in when they get too old to travel, etc. Typically, this set of false representations is coupled with misrepresentations about the financial investment value of the timeshare (Scam #1) and promises of future profits. Some resort contracts have a falsely inflated construct called a Right of First Refusal (ROFR) to appear as if they may want it back someday and will pay you more than the open market (that is often zero dollars, making the whole ROFR a deceit). Since consumers are often told that this Right of First Refusal clause is because of the huge values associated with their timeshare, and in the cases where the true value is zero, this ROFR mechanism is a total sham to fool consumers at the point-of-sale, and if they ever do get a sale even for one dollar down the road, the same ROFR clause can be used to delay and frustrate the resale. In either case, it doesn’t mean that the consumer automatically makes money or can sell their timeshare easily, and thus such promises are highly deceptive to consumers.
Timeshare Fraud — Timeshare Scam #3:
Resort Buy-Back programs or Help to Sell a Timeshare
Victims of these misrepresentations report claims of a Resort Buyback Program, or an in-house program for a Timeshare Resale if you ever need to sell your timeshare someday. However, in almost all cases the consumer asks the resort later only to find that the program does not exist (or magically it was canceled between the time of their purchase in their call). Whether it was a buy-back or a resale program, the common theme is typically that the owner shall make great profits through the sale of a timeshare down the road. Another common theme is that in almost every consumer report thus far, the promise of these programs and profits are completely fabricated (The Abrams Firm has conducted thousands of consumer interviews, and has yet to find a legitimate buy-back program where consumers make the great profits they were promised).
Timeshare Fraud — Timeshare Scam #4:
Rent a Timeshare to Pay Costs or Make a Profit
Sometimes the consumer has said, “NO” for literally hours, but the timeshare sales representatives may push even harder, and make up stories about Timeshare Rental Profits just to get you to sign the contract. Some consumers report that they were not even really interested in any vacation ownership, but were lured into the transaction by promises of yearly income from profits retained over the amount of their mortgage payments and annual fees, and in some cases there is so much extra money by renting out convention weeks, sporting weeks or expensive destinations that the consumer could start a profitable business, as reps sometimes claim the staff does to make a lucrative second income.
Timeshare Fraud — Timeshare Scam #5:
Sell an “Unwanted” existing Timeshare to the new Resort
In this timeshare sales scam, the consumer already owns a timeshare and they actually want out, so the timeshare sales rep leads the consumer to believe that the Resort will buy [an old and unwanted] a timeshare or sell the timeshare for them making a huge sum of money, in order to trick them into purchasing the new timeshare. In this scheme, the money acquired from the sale of the old timeshare offsets the cost of the new timeshare (sometimes it looks as if the new one will cost only a few thousand because they gave you such a great, once-in-a-lifetime, deal). Consumers are told they will profit from the net transaction of the two timeshares, meaning that they will put thousands of future resale dollars from the “valuable” new timeshare in your pocket by just merely purchasing the new timeshare. However, the reality later discovered is that there is no old/existing timeshare purchase by the resort, and often they refer the owner to a fraudulent thrd party Listing Company (which would still be a sham if it’s a $0.00 Timeshare) that takes Upfront Fees to Sell a Timeshare for unrealistic amounts and never sells your timeshare or anybody else’s zero-value timeshare, and this is even a more wildly crazy proposition if the old timeshare has a Mortgage (where the market value is not selling for $0.00, minus the Mortgage amount). Since the consumer has already obligated themselves on the paper contract to many thousands of dollars for their new timeshare, they are now out that money (often $10-$30,000), as well as the increased annual debt (2 Maintenance Fees) for both of the timeshares.
Timeshare Fraud — Timeshare Scam #6:
HUGE Discounts on airfare, cruises, etc.
Sometimes commissioned timeshare sales reps exaggerate the benefits of the timeshare’s “points” to entice a sale. The timeshare sales rep might write down a bunch of invented incomes from rentals and future sales on a deal sheet (a piece of paper with figures and arrows that you can’t get a copy of because NOTHING like that is in you contract). To increase desirability and make a sale, they show consumers various [claimed financial] documents and pictures [of places you will never be able to go to], and to push you a little further, sometimes the rep. will explain how you can get you cruises, airfare, hotels, car rentals for HUGE discounts and often claims that these prices can be 50% or less of what it would cost you on the Internet. However, typically the savings are readily available on the Internet, and with some digging can be even cheaper than the claimed “discounts”.
Timeshare Fraud — Timeshare Scam #7:
Tax Advantages that are bad tax and bad legal advice
This particular sham involves claims of IRS tax benefits for Timeshares. The story goes, through the purchase of a timeshare interest, salespeople often equate the Timeshare to a Home, having the IRS’s Mortgage Interest Deduction that consumers get for their primary residence. They may also even say that you get to write everything off your taxes that you paid for it since day one, in the end when you sell it. There is one big problem however, the promised tax advantages for purchasing a timeshare are often highly inaccurate and deceitful.
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