Your BBB recently announced an action by the Texas Attorney General against a couple running a timeshare mediation scam. Their scheme was part of a larger pattern. There are a lot of people looking to get out from under timeshares they no longer want and scammers have been taking advantage.
The Federal Trade Commission just announced a big, multinational crackdown on timeshare resale scams. The sweep involved 191 actions to stop fraudulent timeshare resale services and bogus travel prizes. There were three FTC cases, 83 actions from 28 states (including the aforementioned action in Texas) and 25 actions from law enforcement agencies in 10 other countries. Over 184 people are now facing prosecution from U.S. Attorneys and local law enforcement.
Common themes among fraudulent timeshare resellers include getting consumers to pay large up-front fees and making false claims about interested buyers. Deceptive travel prize schemes such as the Platinum Travel promotion we wrote about in March, trick consumers into attending high pressure timeshare presentations or paying for discounted or “free” vacation packages that turn out to be so full of restrictions they are difficult or impossible to use.
Check out this article from the FTC for more details, as well as the FTC’s new infographic about timeshare reselling scams.