Whether you are looking to purchase a timeshare or not, you may be vulnerable to being scammed. Unfortunately, you may also be vulnerable and targeted by scammers even if you already own a timeshare. Further, if you are concerned that you have been scammed, it is important to contact and seek the advice of the experts such as those at The Timeshare Consumer Association immediately. Meanwhile, to learn about some of the most common ways by which timeshare scammers operate and so how to avoid falling victim to a timeshare related scam, read on.
Mail and Email Spam and Scams
Because the vast majority of people within the UK have a home address and too an email address, it is not uncommon (if unwelcome) to receive advertisements, sales leaflets and the likes via both means. In fact, junk mail and spam emails are one of the most popular means by which scammers snare their victims for exactly this reason. Further, it can be incredibly difficult to determine exactly what is spam or junk mail as scammers go to great lengths to appear legitimate, honest and like ‘the real thing’.
Then, the best and only sure way to avoid being scammed into falling for a ‘too good to be true’ timeshare offer that arrives through your letter box or email inbox is to remember that if a deal or offer appears to good to be true it almost always is. Consequently, the best advice out there as to what to do with unsolicited offers, junk mail and spam emails is to bin them – even if you are looking to purchase a timeshare; there are a wealth of reputable and legitimate ways to explore, purchase and rent timeshares (such as via the Timeshare Hypermarket online) and replying to junk mail and spam emails are not two of them.
Phone Scams and Cold Calls
One of the reasons some people who are not deceived by junk mail and spam emails find themselves none-the-less falling victim to scams that operate via the phone is that an advertisement or offer given over the phone requires a two-way conversation.
The receiver of a cold call cannot always hang up instantly as they do not know they are being cold called often to begin with. Hence, a dialogue and conversation can be established before a person realises this, at which point the scammer on the other end of the line has already gotten to work earning your trust. Further, some people feel it would be rude to hang up even upon realising they are being called by a company or salesperson with whom they do not wish to speak and have no reason to. Unfortunately, scammers rely on the good nature of such people.
Hence, if you are called by an unknown person or company and are reluctant to simply hang up the phone upon realising this, do at least brave to interrupt a sales spiel to ask with whom you are speaking, the name and nature of the company and why you have been contacted. Then, if do not have an existing relationship with the company, politely say good bye and replace the handset. You will not miss out on a ‘once in a life time deal’ as genuine and reputable companies do not ring people at random to advertise a good deal. If a deal is good it will sell itself without consumers needing to be pressured into buying it.
As cold calling sales people will often reel off a whole sales pitch before giving you the chance to speak or even think (that is how they confuse people into agreeing to part with their money) so do the sales people who present timeshare offers and ‘one off deals’ via presentations events. About the only difference is that if you find yourself at a presentation you have already bought into the scam, often out of a genuine curiosity to ironically learn more about something such as timesharing in order to avoid being conned.
Of course, not all the presentations and events relating to or discussing timesharing are scams, but because it is so difficult to tell the difference and most of those who attend do so because they know so little about timesharing, it is far more prudent to learn more about timesharing via dedicated timeshare websites such as that operated by the Timeshare Users’ Group. As well as featuring the guide: Timesharing 101, the TUG website also runs a number of forums where users can ask questions, discuss and learn more about timesharing from genuine timeshare owners rather than sales people and companies whose agenda is to get their hands on your money.
Even those who have done their homework and are looking to buy or have bought a timeshare are not immune to being conned. In fact mis-selling is one of the most commons means so-called reputable companies snare their victims.
Namely, mis-selling occurs when a person agrees to part with a (usually sizable) sum of money in order to purchase a timeshare which has been in some misrepresented. That is, upon completing the purchase of their timeshare, buyers begin to make nasty discovers such as discovering the property does not feature things which were part of their agreement and which any contracts and paperwork failed to make clear. Mis-selling also includes instances in which legalities have been deceptively manipulated in order for a company to benefit at a purchaser’s expense.
Whilst timeshare mis-selling is often argued to not be a ‘scam’, the Supreme Court as recently as 2015 stepped in to help thousands of ‘victims’ recoup hundreds of thousands of Euros lost by innocent and earnest timeshare purchasers. Hence, whilst it is arguable as to whether mis-selling falls under the timeshare scam umbrella, it is certainly a reality and something to be aware of.
Last but not least is the reality of the timeshare resale scam, and this one is important to be aware of even if you do not own a timeshare property as it may help you to make a more informed decision as to whether you might ever want to.
Timeshares are hard to sell in 2016, largely because of how saturated the industry is with fraudsters and con artists as much as due to changing fashions in travel and our holidaying habits. Consequently, many timeshare owners find selling an existing timeshare property near impossible which instantly makes them the ideal targets for scammers who exploit potential victim’s desperation as much as their ignorance in order to make their money.
Hence, there are a number of companies out there who prey on those wishing to sell a timeshare by offering to buy it for far more than a seller may otherwise expect to garner. In order to sell via such companies, victims most often are told they are liable to pay a ‘one off’ and ‘upfront’ fee to use the company’s services. The horror stories once timeshare owners opt in to these scams vary widely, but almost all end up paying far more, if not more than they ever stood to gain.
The fact scammers have used the bad press and waning popularity in the timeshare industry (which they are largely responsible for creating) to their advantage is testament to the lack of scruples scammers have and cannot be over stated; timeshare scams are still happening in 2016 and the only way to safe guard yourself against becoming a victim is to be aware of the dangers of buying a timeshare.