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Connecticut Better Business Bureau cautions timeshare owners about deceptive practices by resellers
Connecticut BBB is issuing an alert about unscrupulous timeshare resellers who ask for thousands of dollars in upfront fees to cover closing costs for deals that never come to fruition - Owners increasingly susceptible to offers too good to be true.
By: Howard Schwartz
Selling timeshares has become a popular option for families looking to reduce their expenses and build up cash reserves. On the other side of the equation, many fewer consumers are buying timeshares for sale on the market. Timeshare sales dropped 40 percent in 2009, according to the American Resort Development Association.
Companies like Resorts Condo Management, Creative Vacation Solutions, Platinum Property Exchange and Premier Timeshares Solutions have “F” ratings from BBB for convincing timeshare owners that interested buyers already were lined-up and that the sellers had to pay thousands of dollars in upfront fees for closing costs. Ultimately however, the promised sales never materialized.
In one complaint filed with BBB, a man who did business with Premier Timeshare Solutions (PTS) was told there was an interested buyer for his timeshares, and promised if the sale did not go through his money would be refunded. The man paid PTS $7,710, the sale never went through and despite the company’s guarantee, he never did get his money back.
Better Business Bureau has some tips for people who want to sell their timeshare properties:
Use a Business You can Trust – Visit bbb.org and get a report on BBB Accredited Business timeshares. At the very least, review reports on all companies in this industry and compare their ratings.
Confirm Licensing Requirements – Some less than reputable timeshare resellers will use fake addresses or PO boxes to mislead timeshare owners. Confirm the company’s location and in what states it does business, and ask if the company's salespeople are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. If so, verify this with the state licensing board.
Get the Facts on the Figures – Find out if the business charges a commission. Do they handle the entire closing and provide escrow services? Do they charge an up-front listing or advertising fee? What does it cover and is it refundable?
Be Wary of Upfront Fees – Many complainants to BBB were burned by companies charging an advance "appraisal" fee for services or were told that they just had to pay closing costs and the timeshare would be taken off their hands. Consider opting for a company that offers to sell for a fee only after the timeshare is sold.
Don’t Fall for the Hard Sell or an Offer that Sounds Too Good to Be True – Don’t agree to anything over the phone. Ask the salesperson to send you written material and take time to think it over. Don’t be pressured into making a decision. Unscrupulous timeshare resellers may claim that your property is in demand and they can sell it immediately. Unfortunately, these promises are often empty.
For more advice you can trust on how to stretch your dollar in a tough economy, visit bbb.org.
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Founded in 1928, Connecticut BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. For more advice on finding companies and businesses, start your search with trust at www.bbb.org.