If you were tricked into purchasing a timeshare, you may be wondering how to prove fraud occurred during the timeshare sales process. And you’re not alone. Timeshare developers use all kinds of deceptive practices in order to get people to buy properties they don’t actually need. These developers partake in a practice known as fraudulent inducement, which is where an entity uses fraudulent statements and practices in order to trick people into entering a contract with them.
While many of the questionable sales tactics that developers use aren’t technically against common law, scams and fraudulent misrepresentation run rampant in the timeshare industry. If you’re wondering how to prove fraud, read on to see what conditions and initiatives must be met in order to file a fraud case against your timeshare company.
According to the legal advice of Weisberg Law, there are six elements of fraud that must have been committed to prove that your timeshare provider is liable for fraudulent misrepresentation. Read through these conditions to determine how to prove fraud and who you can file your timeshare fraud claim with.
A representation is a claim that your developer must have made about the timeshare you were sold. It can be as simple as “your timeshare is three blocks from the beach” or “you will be able to stay at your timeshare every third week of September.” A representation must be an objective, material fact that your timeshare provider stated during the sales process. Subjective statements such as “owning a timeshare will save you money” aren’t considered existing facts because they’re hard to prove or quantify.
In order to prove fraud, your timeshare provider has to have committed false representation. You have to be able to prove that the representation they’ve made was a false statement of fact with clear evidence. For example, if your timeshare salesperson told you that the timeshare you were sold was on the third floor of a resort with an ocean view, you have to prove that it was indeed on the second floor with no ocean view in sight.
Misrepresentation of fact is not enough to prove that fraud was committed. In order to be deemed legitimate fraudsters, your timeshare company has to have intentionally made a false claim in order to sell you a timeshare. They must have been aware that the claim they were making wasn’t true at the time of sale.
For example, if a timeshare salesperson sells you a “one-bedroom unit” in New York City, knowing that it’s actually a studio unit in Newark, New Jersey, they would be committing fraud. Or if they state that the unit has a kitchen when they know it really only has a hot plate and microwave, this would also be considered false representation.
Another type of fraud that timeshare salespeople often commit is making representations they don’t actively know are true. For example, if a salesperson tells you that a timeshare property is located on a resort with a pool even if they’re unsure whether the pool exists or not. This is considered false representation because the salesperson’s negligence is what’s influencing you to make the purchase. By failing to verify a claim that they’re stating as the truth, they’re committing fraud.
Timeshare companies are willing to lie if they think it’s going to get you to hand over your credit card and sign on the dotted line. Omission of relevant information is also common if the salesperson believes this information might stop you from making a purchase. Although both of these actions are considered fraud, these lies and omissions often play a major part in why you agreed to buy the timeshare.
In these cases, victims of fraud have to prove that a relevant omission was made or that the false representation they were sold on was a major factor in their decision to buy a timeshare. If you purchased a timeshare because you were told that you could rent it out during the summer when in reality your resort has direct rules against renting, you would have to prove that you wouldn’t have purchased the property if it wasn’t for this statement.
Timeshare companies are known for being manipulative and stretching the truth in order to get people to sign a contract. But manipulation crosses into civil fraud territory when the falsity of a claim was not only known but committed for the sake of influencing someone to purchase a timeshare.
For example, say a customer said they would not purchase a timeshare property that wasn’t going to be tradable during the summer. The salesperson would’ve had to lie about it being tradable at that time of year because they knew that was the only way they could make a sale.
This tactic is sometimes used as a last-ditch effort to get customers to sign timeshare contracts. When potential buyers are trapped in timeshare sales pitches for hours but still refuse to sign, salespeople will use white lies to change customers’ minds about buying a timeshare.
They’ll say things like, “You’ll be able to sell your timeshare eventually” or “Your maintenance fees won’t increase each year,” even if it’s not true. These claims are made with the purpose of getting a customer to agree to a purchase they wouldn’t have, which is fraudulent.
After proving that a false representation was intentionally made, fraud can finally be proven if the purchaser has incurred a loss. In the case of timeshares, this would mean that the false claim that was intentionally made by the developer has proven detrimental to the customer’s life.
For example, if a timeshare customer purchased a property because they were told maintenance fees would be substantially lower than they actually turned out to be, the unforeseen fees could have caused a substantial financial loss upon the purchaser. If you can prove that these fees caused major financial hardship upon the customer, fraud can finally be proven and the timeshare customer can pursue a fraud claim case. But knowing how to prove fraud as a timeshare owner can be difficult.
In order to prove fraud, the following actions must have been committed against you: your timeshare company has made a false representation that they knew to be false, your timeshare purchase was dependent on and influenced by this false claim, and you suffered a loss because of this false claim.
Even if you can point out all the factors that took place, proving falsehood in a real estate transaction can be difficult. If you want to know how to prove fraud occurred in the purchase of your timeshare, work with a trustworthy timeshare exit fiduciary like Centerstone Group.
Centerstone Group is a full-service advocacy group that specializes in resolving breach of contract issues caused by fraudulent timeshare developers. If you believe that you’ve been a victim of timeshare fraud, our team of timeshare exit experts will analyze your case and see what options you have for resolving your timeshare issues.
With more than 33 years worth of experience in the industry and a time-tested resolution process, our team works hard to find the best solution for you. Contact Centerstone Group today for a free consultation.