With summer vacation time winding down, some people have already begun browsing through travel advertisements in preparation for next summer. Timeshare opportunities are an option some vacationers find very enticing. Unfortunately, so do the scam artists!
The Better Business Bureau advises consumers, who may be thinking of buying or leasing a timeshare, to exercise caution and practice due diligence. Timeshares are a major investment. Consumers should avoid making a decision to purchase based on price alone. Your BBB recommends taking the time to do some research. Check to see if you are dealing with a reliable company by accessing an online business review. Once you find a company you feel you can trust, don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions.
Your BBB offers the following tips when considering a timeshare opportunity:
Does it sound "too good to be true"? Ask yourself, how many legitimate businesses do you think can survive by substantially undercutting the prices of their competitors? Be wary of "great deals" and low-priced offers.
Refuse to be pressured. Legitimate businesses do not demand that you make a snap decision. They welcome your questions and will encourage you to consult with experts and other reliable sources. Consumers should always thoroughly read and understand the details of a contract before signing it.
Ask detailed questions. Understand what type of timeshare you are being offered. If you are not familiar with the terminology you should do more research. Is yours a fixed-unit, fixed-week agreement, a right-to-use plan or a vacation club or points-based program? Are you agreeing to fixed time or floating time? Which best fits your purposes? Find out exactly what the price of the time share being offered covers and what it does not.
Get a firsthand look. If at all possible, visit the resort. If this is not possible, consult reliable sources that are familiar with the area and the development. Call the businesses or places listed to confirm their participation.
Get all information and details in writing. Make sure the written information reflects what you were told verbally by your salesperson. Are the terms what you agreed to? You might want to have a lawyer who has experience with timeshare properties examine the agreement so that you know exactly what you are getting and how it will benefit you.
Know whom you are dealing with. Do not give your credit card number or bank account information over the phone unless you know the person with whom you are dealing and have verified the legitimacy of the business they represent.
Do not send money by messenger or overnight mail. Some "scam artists" may ask you to send them money immediately. If you pay with cash or check, as opposed to using a credit card, you lose your right to dispute any potential fraudulent charges under the Fair Credit Billing Act.
When in doubt, say no! If you have any doubts about the trustworthiness of a company, go with your instincts and walk away from the deal. It is less risky to turn down the offer and say "no."
Check out business reviews. Before doing business with a new or unfamiliar company, be sure to research their reputation. BBB Reviews are an excellent place to help you Start With Trust.