Timeshares have earned a bad reputation over the years due to timeshare scams and bad deals that have occured to some unlucky individuals. In reality, most timeshare offers are legitimate, but you need to know what to look for to prevent yourself from falling victim to a timeshare scam inadvertently.
- Aggressive sales pitch: One of the biggest signs that you may be exposed to a timeshare scam is the hard sales pitch. In order to encourage potential victims to watch their sales presentation, they often offer prizes and incentives. Even top dollar items such as free cars or extravagant vacations have been offered. It is important to read the fine print to make sure what you think you are being offered is in fact, truly available. Another sign that you are dealing with a timeshare scam is when a fee is required in order to become eligible. Another scam that has happened is a fraudster convinces a victim to buy a new timeshare while offering to quickly sell an old, unwanted timeshare. The timeshare scam happens when they actually have no intention of selling the old timeshare and the victim is stuck with two timeshares.
- Never sign anything on the spot: If you know what to look for, it becomes easier to spot the aggressive sales tactics that are hand in hand with timeshare scams. The broker may offer an attractive discount on your timeshare, but only if you sign a contract right now. Those kind of urgent requests should be a warning sign that something is not quite right. Another technique used is that the broker may try to attack your ego, by suggesting this time of deal isn’t for you. Sometimes this reverse psychology is an approach that can prompt innocent victims to take the plunge and unknowingly fall prey to a timeshare scam.
- Read all paperwork carefully: It is even better to have a lawyer read over any contract before you sign it. Make sure you also visit the property you are being sold as it is extremely risky to purchase a property sight unseen. Photographs in brochures or on websites are not reliable when it comes to truly seeing what you are buying. Maintenance to the property is another important topic to address, and make sure maintenance details and fees are clearly outlined in your contract. Another risk for timeshare scams is buying property that is not yet built or still under construction. Often times, the financing for a property still in development may fall through and then you will suffer as a result. An escrow company is absolutely essential when dealing with the exchange of money between buyer and seller, especially in foreign markets.
The most important tip to avoid timeshare scams is to never sign anything on the spot. It is always better to first gather all information available, and then take it home with you to read with more care. No matter how persuasive the agent is in person, or how enticing the offer may seem in the moment, tread with care and take your time when making important decisions. At the end of the day, if you make sure you have everything in writing, and take your time and do not make impulsive decisions, you will be able to successfully avoid timeshare scams and purchase vacation property that you can enjoy for years to come.