Monday, June 12, 2017

Timeshare: How to Tell When You’re Being Scammed

Timeshare: How to Tell When You’re Being Scammed

As the old saying goes: “forewarned is forearmed!” This week’s blog post is dedicated to making sure you know how to tell when you’re being scammed and when a timeshare company is genuine.

Key signs of a scam

If you remain open to the signs, it becomes obvious when you are walking into a timeshare scam. There are a number of warnings that can help you distinguish genuine timeshare companies from those that are likely to be a scam.

Read on to find out how to tell when you’re being scammed and how to protect yourself from a timeshare scam.

There are various key signs of a timeshare scam. Watch for these components in your dealings with the timeshare company: honesty, reputation, licenses, exchange networks, location, and gut feeling.


Ask yourself: how honest the timeshare company has been in its dealings with you? You can tell when you’re being scammed by the “white” lies you are told here and there. For example, were you told the timeshare presentation was only going to be half a day, and you were there for hours? Were you promised a particular gift, discount or incentive that was never delivered or you had to pay for it? Were you taken to a different resort than the one you were invited to by the first agent you met? Were you promised breakfast but only got juice and coffee?


If you can’t find any information about the timeshare company on the internet—not even any complaints—then you are very likely heading into a scam. Fly-by-night companies with no traceable history are usually scams. Only attend presentations with companies that have a solid reputation, and preferably those with more than 10 years in the business.


You might want to check that the timeshare company has all the right licenses and registrations from the local authorities. This could be hard for you to do if you are on vacation; however, a good rule of thumb is that if you have seen agents from the timeshare company working in the airports or in the main shopping malls, you can be pretty sure it is a genuine company. Likewise, you can ask to see the official ID of the agent and his or her permission to work on the streets. If they can’t show you the official documentation, then you are probably heading for a scam.

Exchange Networks

You can tell when you’re being scammed when the timeshare company is not affiliated with any international exchange networks. Networks like RCI and Interval International only work with well-established vacation clubs and timeshare companies. If in doubt, check that your timeshare company is recognized by one of these networks.

Seeing is believing

You can clearly tell when you’re being scammed if you do not visit the resort where you are “supposedly” purchasing a timeshare. Don’t buy based on photographs, models or architectural presentations (unless it is part of a reputable chain and you are located in another of the timeshare company’s resorts). Also, be sure that the unit type you have been shown and wish to use matches what it says in your contract.

Gut Feeling

Not everyone is in tune with their intuition, but more often than not when you get a bad feeling about something, you are usually right. Your intuition is perhaps the first warning you have that inspires you to look out for other signs of a timeshare scam.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Avoid Timeshare Rental Scams

Avoid Timeshare Rental Scams

When it comes to the topic of timeshare, everyone has their opinion--some people are happy advocates of vacation clubs and timeshare, and some people claim that timeshare is a scam. Regardless of whether you are a fan of timeshare, I want to get to the bottom of the real scam that is threatening owners in the timeshare industry: timeshare rental scams.

Avoid timeshare rental scams

Timeshare rentals scams affect unsuspecting clients in much the same way that any vacation rental scam can defraud someone of their hard-earned money. For instance, imagine you find a timeshare week at a great resort that is being advertised privately, and you decide to reserve it for your family. You pay your money and head out on vacation; however, when you arrive at the resort, you’re told that the timeshare you have rented is behind on maintenance fees, or that the advertised week has not been booked for you. It would be terrible to arrive and find that the timeshare week is not valid. Other timeshare rental scams may involve even more serious crimes, such as identity theft and credit card scams.

It is worth stressing that rental scams are by no means limited to timeshare rentals. On the contrary: they are more common among vacation rentals that can be found on classified websites and well-known online vacation rental services.

How to protect yourself from timeshare rental scams

You can avoid timeshare rental scams and other types of rental fraud by following these tips:

      Only use reputable websites to search for timeshare rentals. Be sure that your credit card information is protected, and that there is some kind of guarantee related to your rental agreement.
      Beware of timeshare rental rates that are notably lower than the competition, as this could indicate a scam.
      Do some research on the timeshare resort that is being advertised to ensure that it indeed exists. Check timeshare reviews.
      If you are asked to wire money directly or make cash deposits rather than use the platforms of reputable rental websites, it is likely to be a scam.
      Do not give out personal information including credit card numbers with the security number, online bank account passwords, and social security numbers, etc.
      Double check with the timeshare company that there is a reservation booked in the name of the person who is renting you the timeshare week, and confirm that you have been authorized as a guest. Ask if you are expected to pay anything upon your arrival, or if there are any special requirements.

Timeshare rental scams that affect owners

On a final note, timeshare rental scams can also affect the timeshare owners who wish to rent out their weeks to other vacationers. Bogus timeshare rental agencies have been known to charge upfront fees in order to rent timeshare weeks. Once they have your money, they do very little to promote your timeshare week. Owners who are serious about renting their timeshares should work with companies that charge commissions rather than upfront fees.