People who own timeshares often find it difficult to sell them later on, so an offer to find a buyer in exchange for an advance payment can be tempting.
Unfortunately, according to consumers who complained to Better Business Bureau, a company called Best Holiday Club Marketing took thousands in advance payments and produced nothing but excuses and empty promises.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin has received several complaints against Best Holiday Club Marketing in the last year. The business has so far not responded to any complaints. Consumers report losing between $3,000 and $37,000 to the company.
According to bhclubmarketing.com, Best Holiday Club Marketing (BHC) claims to be located in Laredo, Texas, with an office in Charlotte, North Carolina. However, mail sent to the Laredo address came back undeliverable. Also, the company that leases office space at the stated Charlotte address stated to BBB that BHC is not located in their facility.
A BBB investigator spoke to a BHC employee on May 19. The employee, who said she was in the Laredo office, said she wasn’t in the part of the building that receives mail. She stated, “We don’t normally receive postal mail,” and said to send correspondence via email.
Several complainants told BBB the company first contacted them at resorts in Mexico and were told the company would sell their timeshares within 90 days. In exchange, they were told to purchase a travel plan from a Miami-based company called Vacation Getaway. (Vacation Getaway, which has a website at http://www.v-getaway.com, should not to be confused with Vacation Getaways in Dublin, California, which has a different website, http://www.vacationgetawayincentives.com.)
A BBB investigator contacted Vacation Getaway in Miami by phone. The representative refused to state whether their company was affiliated with BHC without a contract number. When the investigator stated he didn’t have a contract, the call was disconnected and subsequent calls disconnected automatically. According to a web search, the Miami address listed on the website may be a virtual office.
Valerie Galloway of San Diego, California, said she and her husband were approached by representatives of Best Holiday Marketing Club while they were staying at a resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in September, 2014. In an unusual circumstance, the couple was actually paid $400 to attend a presentation. The end result was a serious net loss, however. During the presentation, BHC representatives claimed to be able to sell people’s timeshares within 90 days if they agreed to sign up for a travel-related service. According to Galloway, after paying $4,000, their timeshares were not sold and the business first gave excuses, then quit returning messages.
“Best Holiday Club Marketing promised to sell my timeshare,” Galloway said. “I was in contact with Best Holiday Club for the first 90 days. They gave me the runaround. Lots of excuses. Then they never got back to me. I then called because I wanted to cash out my timeshares and get my money back. They gave me the runaround again. I never got my money back.”
Billie Mace and her husband were vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in July 2014, when they were convinced to attend a meeting, where they were told Best Holiday Club Marketing would buy their timeshares if they bought into a vacation company. They paid $13,950 and were told BHC would sell their timeshares within 90 days for at least $31,400. After more than 10 months, Billie says she and her husband have not received any money for their timeshares.
“We thought we were selling our timeshares for all this money, for $31,400 and after buying into the vacation club we would get the difference back and not have to pay maintenance fees,” Mace said. “I paid them $13,950 right up front. They took our credit cards right then.” She said her attempts to get answers have been met with excuses. “Every call I made, it was a put-off.”
BBB has the following advice for consumers who want to sell their timeshares:
Verify a physical address. Be sure to confirm the business’s physical address. Some unethical businesses claim addresses that don’t exist or that belong to other businesses.
Look at the fees. Avoid businesses that ask for an “appraisal” fee or closing costs upfront. In a normal transaction, closing and transfer fees are paid by the purchaser, not the seller and are paid upon closing, not at the beginning of the transaction. Beware of businesses that quote you large upfront fee and then slightly decrease it to seem like a “good deal.” Search for a business that will allow you to pay for the fees after the timeshare has been sold. Never wire money and be sure to ask what fees will be included in the cost and if they are refundable.
Do not be pressured. Do not agree to anything that is presented over the phone. Before agreeing to anything, take your time to think about your decision. Ask the salesperson to send you written information. Do not be pressured by a salesperson that claims your property can be sold immediately.
Read the contract carefully. The contact should include: what services the broker provides, how much and when the costs should be paid, a length of time to sell the timeshare, and the refund and guarantee policy. Make sure the contact states who is responsible for the sale.
Avoid “too good to be true” offers. Know the estimated value of the timeshare before bringing it to be sold. If the deal the business offers sounds too good to be true, it probably is.