BBB Serving Central East Texas advises consumers to be cautious of companies who claim to purchase or sell timeshares. In 2012, there were a total of 5,158 complaints against timeshare companies across the BBB system. Complaints confirm that both buyers and sellers of timeshare properties have encountered a variety of problems with contracts, sales practices, refunds and fraud, harassment, and overly-long sales pitches.
“Before jumping on a deal presented by an unknown solicitor, it’s important to research the company”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “Evaluate the process against accepted business practices and that includes the caveat not to pay money upfront.”
If you are interested in selling a timeshare, BBB offers the following advice:
- Don't Agree to Anything Over the Phone - Before making a decision take the time to think it over. Don't be pressured by salespersons. Ask the representative to send you details in writing.
- Be Cautious of Upfront Fees - Never agree to or pay any fees until you have a contract and have completed extensive research and verification on the business.
- Be Aware of the "Balloon Strategy"- Dishonest timeshare resellers may start with an outrageous fee, and then reduce it to a more appealing number, to lure the seller to pay.
- Know the Process - Inexperienced timeshare sellers can be easily misled. Before doing business with a broker know the approximate value of what you own. Find out if the agent's fees and marketing practices are consistent with the practices of other agencies. To ensure the proper value of your property BBB suggests using a timeshare appraisal service.
- Check Licensing Requirements- Ask if the reseller's agents are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. This can also be verified by the state's real estate commission. Ask for and check references.
- Don't Sign the Contract if the Deal Isn't What You Expected - Before signing the contract, confirm that it explains the services of the broker, the costs and when they must be paid, a specified length of time to sell the timeshare, guarantees, refunds, and who is accountable for the sale. If the deal isn't what you expected or wanted, discuss changes or find another reseller.
- Make sure the Business is TRUSTWORTHY - Avoid any company that fails to provide a street address and alternate contact information. A UPS or post office box is not enough. Check out bbb.org for warnings and Business Reviews verify the address with a mapping service, property manager and the licensing authority.
- Remember the Too Good to be True Rule - Trust your gut if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be skeptical if the salesperson claims to have already received a buyer request.
Keep in mind there are other resale options. Go to bbb.org to find a real estate agent you can trust and who is familiar with the area.
For more advice on avoiding scams and fraud visit: www.bbb.org/us/consumer-tips-scams/ . To report a scam or other fraudulent activity, call the BBB Hotline: (903) 581-8373.