Saturday, January 4, 2014

You're the Victim of a Timeshare Scam. How Did That Happen?

You were on vacation and someone offered you some free tickets to an event or invited you to have dinner on them, and all in exchange for you simply attending a short and exciting real estate presentation. You think you know what's happening. It's something that you can't quite put your finger on. But someone is trying to give you something for nothing. It's a theme of something sounding too good to be true. You tell them you're not interested in making any type of substantial purchase, taking out a mortgage and a loan. You chuckle. Nothing like that. You just want to enjoy your vacation with your significant other. But they tell you that it's easy going, you just attend a short presentation, tell them you're not interested, and they'll get you out the door with your free gift real quick. It happens all the time.

Well, alright. What else did you have planned? Family fun on the beach? It's just a quick real estate presentation, like they said, and then it's a nice free gift. No problem. You arrive at your scheduled time and find yourself with a large group of people, all awaiting their real estate presentation and free gifts. Some bells and whistles go off, there's some lights and people laughing. And your timeshare salesperson introduces himself or herself. What a nice person, really. He or she is a local volunteer firefighter or has children the same age as you. They're a part-time captain of a fishing boat or retired ethical compliance manager for a Fortune 500 company.

Maybe you see the timeshares, or maybe you don't get past the sales room. Maybe you buy the timeshare you toured, or maybe you buy another one. Maybe you don't know which timeshare you are buying. But you're buying. The timeshare has so many rooms and so many amenities. The on tour special is expired, but you can still get a really good deal today, but today only. And the deal isn't guaranteed, it has to first be approved by a manager. This is just a hypothetical deal of the century being proposed by the timeshare salesperson, not likely to materialize. And what you want may or may not even be in stock, the timeshares being in such high demand. The salesperson will check with the manager on the price and availability, maybe someone traded in their timeshare for an upgraded timeshare and some inventory has recently become available, it's possible, but unlikely.

What luck, one just came available! It really is your lucky day, and everyone else's. So many lights and sounds, lots of buzzing around in the sales room. People are smiling. Someone did come in and make a big scene. An elderly person. The person was furious. The person screamed and yelled and demanded to see their salesperson. They were refused. They demanded a manager. They were refused. They were told they had to leave, or the Sheriff would be called. The old person eventually left after screaming obscenities about people being frauds and thieves. What was wrong with him? Who knows. The article the salesperson shows you on how your profits would be taxed was very interesting and is distracting you. Where is that article again?

You ask for a copy of the article and go over and over all the profit you will make off this timeshare purchase. The timeshare company is going to buy or sell your other timeshare for you, lower your maintenance fees, allow you to take more vacations for less money, and even rent out your weeks and send you a check. You have developer or owner weeks as well that they can rent out for you for a profit too. There is such high demand because of all of the vacationers and golfers, it's a guaranteed profit. It's an investment, something you can hand down to your children.

You can't pass this up. No way, no how. And you're not going to go with the high interest rate financing. You have a credit card with a high limit, and you can just put it on the credit card. Perfect. Your salesperson hands you off to someone you may have never met before, someone who looks at you and asks if you understand what you're purchasing, briskly flipping through the documents. You recount all the amazing facets of this deal that were told to you by your salesperson, sign where you're told to sign, and the person disappears. They take all the handwritten notes explaining the deals and the article on taxation of timeshare profits along with the contract documents to make a copy for you to take home. They return with your copy, hand you the same, and you're off.

Awesome. Now all you have to do is wait for the details of your purchase to arrive by mail, and you'll be getting that check for the purchase or sale of your other timeshare from your timeshare salesperson within thirty (30) days, so you can pay off that credit card you used to purchase the timeshare in full. Perfect, perfect. And you can't use the timeshare this year anyway, so you decide to call your salesperson so it can be rented this year and they can send you your $2,000.00 check. You call your salesperson, but it's a cell phone number and they don't answer. You leave a message. You never get a return phone call. You send an e-mail. You never receive a reply. Do you go back to the sales room? No, they might throw you out like the elderly person when you were making your purchase. Plus, you're back home, maybe Georgia or North Carolina, but likely far, far away from your timeshare.

And your check doesn't arrive within thirty (30) days. Where is it? And why won't the timeshare salesperson return your phone calls or e-mails? You finally speak with someone in customer service. They hear your story, and they regretfully inform you that your salesperson is on vacation or no longer with the company and none of those timeshare benefits actually exist. You will not be receiving a check in the mail for your other timeshare. You will not be able to rent out your timeshare for a profit. And, what are they telling you that you actually purchased? How can this be? The salesperson told you something entirely different. Where are the handwritten explanations of the salespeople and the article on timeshare profits?

But you're in luck again. The customer service representative knows what you want and has exactly what you need: another timeshare! This one will not only have the benefits you thought your original purchase had, but it will be seen to that your other timeshare is sold this time, and you will get even more bonus weeks. Finally. Someone who understands where you're coming from. The customer service person really is a nice person. And the price is only another $8,000.00. Remember, they tell you, it's an investment. Before you finish reading your credit card number over the phone to the customer service representative, you finally get through this rambling blog post and decide to consult with an attorney.