Consumer Alert: Following a spate of recent complaints, Consumer Protection warns timeshare owners about resale scams
OCTOBER 12, 2020 — The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) and the Office of the Attorney General are warning timeshare owners about transfer or resale scams following complaints of timeshare resellers actively conducting business in the state.
Consumers should always remember that buying or selling a timeshare is a real estate transaction. It’s important to hire qualified, appropriately licensed individuals to guide you through the process, just as if you were buying or selling a home.
Businesses known as timeshare “resale” and “transfer” companies have become more popular to support consumers with the sale of their timeshare – but not all companies are legitimate. While some work hard to promote and sell or rent timeshares, many “resale” companies will use fraudulent gimmicks and do little to actually sell the timeshare interest.
Timeshare resale schemes include companies that say they will work to sell your timeshare for a fee, but may offer a series of options outside of traditional sales. Some companies may offer to purchase your timeshare interest (e.g., “your week”), help you donate it to charity, or put your timeshare in a travel club. They may even charge a large up-front fee and say that they have “buyers lined up” to purchase your timeshare. These businesses often promise that they will cover maintenance fees when they take over the title to the timeshare. In some cases, the company does not transfer the property, and victims soon learn that they are still responsible for the maintenance fees to the resort.
“Be careful before accepting an invitation to attend a meeting or to receive a free lunch while learning about timeshare resales,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “At one of these events, you may be pressured to pay a large upfront fee and only later learn that you have received very little in return for that payment.”
“Buying or selling a timeshare is a real estate transaction, and you should treat it with the same level of caution as you would buying or selling a home,” said Attorney General William Tong. “Do your homework before working with a resale or transfer company and be sure to check for competing quotes and references. Steer clear of anyone requiring up-front fees. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
If you’re considering selling a timeshare, make sure to follow these steps:
- First, check with your timeshare resort community to ask if they offer a resale program.
- Beware of timeshare resellers or transfer companies charging high up-front fees that could be up to thousands of dollars.
- Get quotes and references from more than one company before committing.
- Make sure you’re working with a licensed Real Estate Broker to sell your timeshare.
- Make sure you have a written contract for the services being provided, and ask any questions necessary to understand your contract before signing.
- Don’t give any credit card authorization, in person or over the phone, unless you have all the terms and conditions in writing.
All of these recommendations apply whether a company emails, calls, or sends you a postcard or brochure. But be especially careful if the company initiates contact, and not you. Timeshare resale companies may invite you to an event or offer a free meal to gain a captive audience, and now, some of these events may even occur virtually.
For more information about timeshares, contact the Department of Consumer Protection at 860-713-6180.
To file a complaint about a timeshare resale company, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the Attorney General’s office call 860-808-5318 or email email@example.com
To check for the licensure status of the company or broker online, visit https://www.elicense.ct.gov.