Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top Ten Timeshare Complaints in South Carolina

Joe DuBois, my law partner, brought me in on my first timeshare case in 2012. I thought I knew someone who owned a timeshare once. I could put together on my own that it was some sort of vacation type package deal. It was mysterious. And I seemed to have an inkling that there was something more to timeshares. But what kind of boring, complicated real estate transaction case was Joe trying to get me involved in?

Joe was telling me a story about people who buy these so-called "timeshares" and were getting ripped off. It was mired in complicated, coded language describing a percentage fractured ownership interest in real property, deeded properties and points systems, exchanging points and maximize buying power, a color wheel of seasons, and developer or owner weeks and other perks. And he told me about the complaints. The ones in shaky handwriting. The ones noting the complainants' fixed income. The ones alleging fraud, lies, and misrepresentations by timeshare salespeople right here in South Carolina and on Hilton Head Island.

Today, timeshare litigation is a primary practice area of both Joe and myself. I have heard and read too many complaints from buyers and purchasers of timeshares with allegations of lies, fraud, and misrepresentations by timeshare salespeople. Outlined below for your consideration is my Top Ten Timeshare Complaints in South Carolina, in proximate order and based upon no scientific information:

1. I'm supposed to be able to use it every year

2. They promised to sell my other timeshare

3. I was going to make a profit from my timeshare purchase

4. The timeshare company was supposed to send me a check when they rent out my weeks

5. Developer weeks can be rented out, and the profit can be used to pay down the loan on the timeshare purchase

6. I was told I was purchasing a timeshare at one resort, but my paperwork reflects a different resort

7. They said they would buy it back from me in the future at my option

8. I didn't get what I thought I purchased the first time, and now they want me to purchase an upgraded timeshare

9. Timeshare was presented as an investment

10. My points are supposed to be more valuable than they are in actuality

A simple Google search will reveal more stories of timeshare lies, fraud, and misrepresentation that anyone reasonably has time to review. Most allegations are for oral fraud only, meaning that the buyer alleges that the oral representations of the timeshare salesperson are not reflected in the actual contract language of the timeshare purchase documents. However, some purchasers and buyers are savvy and have multiple witnesses present for the timeshare purchase; record the timeshare salespeople (please consult with an attorney regarding the legality of recording conversations in your locality); and retain the handwritten statements of the timeshare salespeople.

Do you have a story to tell about a South Carolina timeshare company?

Zach Naert