Recognizing and Avoiding Timeshare Resale Scams

Timeshare resale scams: SCAM ALERT on a tablet

Are you thinking about selling your timeshare? If so, you’ve probably heard of many methods for reselling your timeshare. There’s listing your timeshare on an online market or using a timeshare resale company to get the property off your hands. 


Both of these may seem like feasible options for easily escaping ownership and getting back to the life you had before you were burdened with the stress of expensive maintenance fees. But if you’re under the impression that selling a timeshare is seamless, you’re sorely mistaken.


Why are we so convinced that selling our timeshare will be easy? Because to get hesitant customers to purchase a timeshare, some timeshare companies will tell buyers that they’ll eventually be able to sell their property. Some developers may even say that they have a resale program


These statements are perhaps the biggest of the timeshare resale scams because selling timeshares second hand is extremely difficult. Most sellers end up losing money — and that’s if they’re lucky enough to be able to sell it in the first place. Keep reading to learn all about timeshare resale scams and why timeshare cancellation may be a better route for escaping vacation ownership.


Why Timeshare Resale Scams Exist

The idea that reselling timeshares is an accessible path to take when you no longer want to own your timeshare is misleading. One of the major reasons why this is true is because there isn’t a sustainable market for timeshare resellers


When you are left to your own devices to resell your timeshare, you don’t have all the tools and resources to successfully sell potential buyers on the idea of owning a timeshare. Timeshare companies, however, have developed an art for convincing people to hand over their credit card and sign a timeshare contract.


The timeshare industry is successful because of how the sales process is navigated. Most timeshare sales are catered toward vacationers who are already enjoying time at a deluxe resort they’ve probably received a free stay at. In exchange for this stay, all they have to do is attend a timeshare sales presentation. They meet with a charming salesperson who is trained to get to know them and convince them that timeshare ownership will enhance their lives. The whole sales process is designed to paint a picture of how luxurious, convenient, and attainable becoming a timeshare owner is. 


If you are trying to sell a timeshare on your own, you usually don’t have the ability to give potential buyers a tour of your unit or resort. You have to rely on having quality pictures, a well-written online listing, and word-of-mouth marketing to convince people to buy into your timeshare interest. And most of the time, that’s not enough because you are competing with so many other people who want to sell their timeshare property. 


Competition in the Timeshare Resale Market

Timeshare resale scams: working woman with headache

In traditional real estate, there are times when it’s a buyer’s market and times when it’s a seller’s market. But in the timeshare resale market, it’s always a buyer’s market. Just take a look at eBay, Craigslist, or any other website that sells timeshares. There are thousands of timeshare properties with all types of price points. You’ll even see properties selling for free where all the buyer has to do is pay closing costs and annual maintenance fees. It’s almost impossible to set your timeshare apart from the rest when you’re selling it on an online marketplace.


Instead of attempting to manage a resale by themselves, some timeshare owners hire a real estate agent to sell their property. Recruiting an agent who is knowledgeable about timeshare sales may give you a leg up on the competition. They’ll know how to price the property and who to market it toward. And though they don’t have all the expertise of a timeshare salesperson, they are better able to give a compelling tour that captures the experience of owning a timeshare. 


If you don’t have the money to hire a real estate agent, you can also try hosting your own timeshare presentation party to manifest the spirit of the in-person timeshare sales experience. But even if you host an elaborate get-together with delicious food and a pool of friends and family in attendance, a sale isn’t guaranteed. It’ll still be very difficult to achieve a timeshare resale. 


At this point you may find yourself thinking that your developer sold you on a timeshare scam by saying you’d be able to sell your property. You might then resort to a timeshare resale company. But be warned that many of these are also scammers.


Timeshare Resale Companies

Because the timeshare industry is heavily saturated with timeshare owners looking to sell their properties, timeshare resale companies have popped up left and right. A lot of the time you don’t even have to reach out to them. These companies will search through online resale listings and directly contact unhappy owners desperate to escape ownership.


Be warned that these companies are one of the biggest timeshare resale scams of all. The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and some attorneys general, like the Nevada state attorney general, from across the U.S. have reported that most resale corporations are not legitimate companies


In fact, the FTC calls out timeshare sales and resales as some of the top scams in the United States.Some of the worst scammers come from fake timeshare exit companies in Mexico. They pretend to be legitimate companies and get owners to pay fees to close lucrative sales. But in reality, they are no more than a money wiring scam often backed by drug cartels.These scammers are just looking to take your money in exchange for, most of the time, nothing. 


Here’s how timeshare resale companies operate. They’ll get your phone number from an online listing and give you a call advertising their ability to help you get rid of your property ASAP. They’ll say that in exchange for an up-front fee, they’ll take care of the selling and transferring of your timeshare unit. They’ll even say they’ve already got a buyer waiting. All you have to do is give them your credit card or make a wire transfer to cover fees like closing costs and escrow


When it comes to offers from resale companies, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Some of the major warning signs of timeshare resale scams are if they initially contact you through a cold call, if they ask for an up-front fee, or if they have hundreds of the same timeshares listed on their website — a sure sign they are not actually selling anything. In reality, many of these companies promise you a sale, take your money, and then disappear completely. The only reason they’ll reach out again is to request more money from you.


Avoid a Timeshare Resale Scam and Pursue Cancellation

Agent talking to a client

There are many types of timeshare resale scams to look out for. Whether it’s your timeshare provider, a timeshare resale company, or the timeshare industry itself telling you that managing a resale is feasible, don’t believe them. The truth is that there are far more timeshare owners looking to sell their unit than there are people who want to purchase it. If the reason why you want to sell your timeshare is because you no longer want to own it, it’s time to pursue cancellation with Centerstone Group.


If you want to avoid a timeshare resale scam and exit your timeshare for good, Centerstone Group may be able to help you find a resolution. We are a full-service advocacy group with decades of experience in the timeshare exit industry. With a leadership of timeshare exit specialists and a time-tested resolution process, we may be able to help you avoid timeshare resale scams and get you on track to cancellation. Contact us for a free consultation.


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