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.
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.