The New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection warns consumers looking to sell a timeshare property to be wary of scams by companies charging up-front fees and guaranteeing that it will be sold.
In the last year, the Division of Consumer Protection’s Consumer Assistance Unit has received more than 30 complaints from consumers about timeshares. Many of these complaints are from consumers who paid an upfront fee to a company promising to sell their timeshare. By the time the consumer tries to contact the company to confirm the sale of the property, the company has disappeared.
Dishonest companies contact property owners and mislead them with an offer to help to sell their vacation properties. Posing as an agent or broker, the person will produce an appraisal or offer a very generous bid for the timeshare or vacation property. Before the sale is finalized, the consumer will be told that he or she owes taxes or administrative fees. Once the owner provides his or her financial information and pays the "fees" or other charges, the broker or agent will vanish without a trace.
Follow these tips when attempting to sell a timeshare property:
w Beware of unsolicited offers – Avoid doing business with companies or individuals that contact you by mail, over the phone or via electronic mail.
w Licensing requirements – Ask if the company's salespeople are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. If the property is in New York, verify this with the New York Department of State's real estate broker license data base at www.dos.ny.gov
w Do not pay upfront – Do not deal with companies that charge up-front fees of any kind.
w Avoid money back offers – Be cautious of any company that offers a “money-back guarantee” that your timeshare will be sold, particularly within a set period of time.
w Do not pay in cash. Do not pay by cash or wire transfer.
w Check references – Do your research before transacting business with any company and compare their offers to industry competition.
To file a consumer complaint against a business or individual, contact the Division of Consumer Protection Hotline at 1 (800) 697-1220 or visit www.dos.ny.gov
New York Department of State