After being cold called from so many different firms over the years.. countless times trying to sucker me in for numerous different reasons, I have decided to do the public a service and make my own blog. I will dissect all these companies 1 by 1 in the event to eventually let the world know who are scammers and who are legitimate companies actually here to help us…

Posts tagged ‘USA’

Timeshare Scams Are on the Rise – Protect Yourself from Fraud

As a timeshare owners who is trying to get rid of a property, it is important for you to be aware of what is fast becoming the most common consumer scam in the country – timeshare resale scams. Yourtimeshare has consistently ranked these frauds high on their annual list of scams to watch out for, and in recent years it has become an increasing problem, even surpassing credit card and insurance fraud as the number one consumer complaint of some states in the USA. So how can you protect yourself from these scams and successfully sell your timeshare at the same time? It is a delicate dance and takes some knowledge, but it can be done.

The first step to avoiding these scams is to educate yourself. Learn how these scams operate and what their biggest red flags are. Some tell-tale signs you may be walking into a timeshare resale scam include:

Unsolicited contact
High-pressure sales tactics
Vague details about the company or who they are
Upfront fees (Which are illegal)

If you find yourself in contact with a company that is making you feel uncomfortable, decline their services or ask that they give you a little time to do some research and get back to them. Any reputable company will happily allow you the time to feel comfortable with their business and will provide you with any information you need upfront.

Stick to your guns. The easiest way to avoid these scams is to refuse to pay upfront fees. Not all timeshare resale companies charge upfront, despite what these scams would have you think, so it is important to stand your ground and refuse to work with companies who pressure you into making a commitment to work with them. You can successfully sell your timeshare without falling victim to timeshare resale scams. You just have to stay firm, know what you are talking about, and refuse to fall into their games.

If you have been scammed or have been called by a company offering dubious things.

Please do not hesitate to contact us: yourtimeshare@hush.com

Don’t Waste Time with Midwest Timeshares

Milwaukee, Wis., April 30, 2012, – The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers about Midwest Timeshares, a Green Bay-based timeshare reseller who has racked up 70 complaints from consumers in 33 states and Canada.

The company, which has also done business as National Timeshare Resale (“NTR”) and Integrated Advertising Solutions, has an “F” rating with the BBB, the lowest grade possible. Complainants tell the BBB that the company charged them upfront fees, claiming they had a waiting buyer, but the buyer never materialized and promised refunds were never received.

Patricia Z. of Delaware states, “We were contacted by Midwest Timeshares and had to give them money for them to do a title search, in the amount of $499. They wanted more but we didn’t have any more to give them. We were called back and told that they had a buyer for the timeshare and it would take 30 days to complete the sale.”

Patricia never heard back from the company and it did not respond to the BBB.

Clara P. of Indiana says Midwest Timeshares promised to sell her timeshare in twelve months. When it didn’t, it promised to refund her $699. She never received the refund and said, “I hope that my information can help you in some way to stop these criminals.”

The Wisconsin BBB has sent several requests to the company asking it to verify its techniques in finding buyers for timeshares and to provide name and contact information for customers whose timeshares were sold. However, Midwest Timeshares has not responded to the BBB’s requests.

“If you want to sell your timeshare, contact a real estate agent”, says Ran Hoth, CEO/president of the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin. “Do not pay money to a stranger that you have only spoken with over the phone, that you have never seen nor met.”

Hoth says, “I understand that our economy has been struggling, and some timeshare owners may be desperate to rid themselves of their investment and make some money. Unfortunately, scammers are capitalizing on this desperation. And by the time they realize that they were scammed, it may be too late to get a refund through their credit card company.”

If you are interested in selling your timeshare, the BBB offers the following tips:
Be wary of too-good-to-be-true resale claims. The company’s salespeople may claim that the market in the area where our property is located is “hot” or that they have already received a buyer request. Be skeptical of these claims.

Be careful if you’re asked to pay a large fee upfront. Smaller fees for appraisals, etc. are customary for a real estate transaction. However, if you’re asked to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars up front, this should be seen as a red flag.

Check with the Better Business Bureau to see what type of a report it has on the firm. Also check to see if any complaints have been processed and, if so, how did the company respond?

Request a written contract and read it. What cancellation rights do you have? If you were promised the company would sell your timeshare, but the contract doesn’t state that, don’t sign it.

Check with your state to see if the salespeople are licensed to sell timeshares or if they are licensed real estate brokers and whether there are any complaints on file against them.

You may want to try to sell your timeshare “by owner” by placing an ad in a newspaper or magazine. Or, list your timeshare with a licensed real estate broker.

For more information or further inquiries, please contact: yourtimeshare@hush.com

or like us on Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/yourtimeshare

Traveling Soon? Do it Scam Free!

You are not alone.

We are all tired of winter and want to go to some place warm for a week or more. Before you pay any money for your get-away, make sure you aren’t being scammed.

Check out some of the top signs of a possible travel scam by:

Mark Kahler at budgettravel.about.com/od/planningtoolsstrategies/tp/ten_scam.htm.

Advance payment is required without written contract. Make sure you have a contract that states the product(s) you are paying for.

Transactions by courier service rather than the post office. To avoid mail fraud statutes, some con artists will stay away from the post office.

Transaction can only be carried out by telephone. Hard to get a contract this way. Ask them why they are using just the telephone. You’ll probably get an evasive answer.

Offer is for a limited time only. True, you can get airline tickets for a limited time only. But, if they are saying pay now for a trip 60 days out, be suspicious. Sixty days is the time limit for disputing credit card charges at many banks.

A price far below market value. Why are you getting such a great deal on a trip they won’t make any money on? Won’t happen. Are there other charges they will add on? Will you be a target for a high-pressure sales pitch?

Any of these could spell trouble so beware!

For further info please contact: yourtimeshare@hush.com

Trip Traps at Sales Presentations

BBB complaints reveal that consumers aren’t always satisfied with the authenticity and usability of these incentives. Some complainants say giveaways are misrepresented during unwanted presentation solicitations. While other complainants allege issues redeeming travel vouchers due to restrictions, terms and conditions.

Though the company has been responsive to complaints, BBB detected a pattern of similar allegations on Vacation Internationale, or VI Resorts, of Bellevue and Vancouver, Washington. Within the last 36 months, the company accrued 55 complaints. Based on 16 factors, the company has a “C-” rating.

BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington offers free advice:

· Be cautious of free travel offers by phone or mail. There’s usually a catch.

· Avoid misleading “free” offers. Read the fine print and be aware of asterisks.

· Don’t go just for a freebie. Avoid attending presentations if there is no interest in the advertised product, service or membership.

· Look out for freewheelers. Is it a traveling seminar based out-of-state? Research businesses on the Internet, consider their complaint volume and see how they respond to complaints; visit bbb.org for free BBB Business Reviews.

· Don’t waste free time. Some seminars are marketed to last a short period of time—an hour—but end up lasting two, three or four hours.

· Free yourself from the hard sell. Sales representatives may use aggressive or high-pressure tactics to convince consumers to buy products or services they don’t need or want. If bullied, walk away.

· Make decisions on free will. If it’s an enticing offer, take time to think it over. Any company that forces an immediate decision may not be worth doing business with. Review contracts and purchase agreements carefully.

· Freely report problems. Contact: yourtimeshare@hush.com

Timeshare Pitfalls Continue to Trap Consumers

Reports that new tactics are catching new victims!

AUSTIN, Texas – Mar. 7, 2012 – It is a common scenario. Someone receives a mailer or email offering a free trip or other fantastic prize and all he or she has to do is sit through a half-day seminar. Once the victim is there, the company turns on the high-pressure tactics in an attempt to sell a timeshare.

Often, the offer is legitimate, if unwanted. Other times, the offer is a scam meant to bilk honest people of thousands of dollars. Such scams have prevailed for decades, and most savvy consumers are wise to them.

So, the con artists have changed their game, prompting new warnings from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and enforcement efforts from the Federal Trade Commission.

Better Business Bureau received more than 2,600 complaints nationally about timeshare resell companies last year, and almost 200 more in January 2012. Some complain about available dates or other management issues, but many allege that companies collected money for fees or other charges and then disappeared.

Corpus Christi resident Thurman Huddleston complained to BBB after wiring more than $10,000 to a Dallas company promising to sell him a timeshare in Mexico.

“The people were good,” he said. “I really beat myself up, because I should have known better. It just sounded like a viable thing.”

Huddleston said when he first got the call, he researched the company online and did not find any red flags. When the company asked him for a payment to cover the closing costs, he did not hesitate. He wired the money, leaving no trace for law enforcement to follow later.

Then they came back and asked for more money to cover the annual property taxes.

“So that sounded a little fishy, but I figured they probably won’t (let me buy a unit without paying taxes),” he said. “That should have been the last red flag, but once you’ve got that much money in it, it’s hard to walk away.”

Soon after, the company he was dealing with became impossible to contact. Huddleston suspects the timeshare never existed to begin with.

Now that people are more aware of scams like the one Huddleston fell for, scammers have started targeting victims that might not be as diligent: current timeshare owners.

The FTC cracked down on telemarketers claiming to have buyers lined up, then disappearing with the thousands of dollars owners paid to cover fake closing costs or as a deposit that would be later refunded.

The FBI reported a similar scam, with a con artist contacting the victim by phone or email and promising to sell the victim’s timeshare in a short time, often between 60 and 90 days. The scammers asked for hundreds to thousands of dollars to cover anything from closing costs to listing fees.

Sometimes, according to the FBI’s warning, the victims are then contacted a second time — this time by someone claiming to be from a recovery company. The scammer, who may be connected with the original resale company, tells the victim that he can recover the lost money for a fee.

Once again, the scammers disappear after the victim pays.

Huddleston said that though he lost thousands to the con artists who contacted him, and he feels like a dupe for falling for the scam, he is just happy to have learned his lesson.

“I didn’t get too angry over it. I hated to lose the money, but I learned a lot,” he said. “The next time somebody calls, I’ve graduated from that class.”

When buying or selling a timeshare, Yourtimeshare offers the following tips:

· Beware of upfront fees. Though there may be closing costs or other fees associated with purchasing a timeshare, be wary of any company that pressures you to pay any such fees upfront or before reviewing any contracts.

· Read the fine print. Especially when selling a timeshare, make sure to read the contract carefully. Find out if the company is actually selling your timeshare or simply charging you to advertise the listing.

· Start with trust. Visit http://www.yourtimeshare.net to check out the Business Review for a company before paying any money.

· Never wire cash. Credit cards offer a certain amount of fraud protection that you cannot get if you use a wire service. Walk away from any deal that requires you to pay cash or wire money, especially to locations in other countries.

· Get it in writing. Ask the salesman for all information in writing, including all fees, timing and ways the seller plans to advertise the unit.

· Check the license. Ask for licensing information for the seller’s agents, and check that information with the Real Estate Commission. Only deal with licensed brokers and ask for references.

· If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Be wary of any seller who promises a big selling price or quick turnaround. High-pressure tactics are always a red flag.

· Know where to turn. Before selling your timeshare, read the FTC’s advice on selling a timeshare and report any scams to yourtimeshare@hush.com

To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit yourtimeshare.net

About Yourtimeshare:

Yourtimeshare’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. Yourtimeshare accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.

Businesses that earn Yourtimeshare Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. Yourtimeshare is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.

For more info please don´t hesitate to contact us: yourtimeshare@hush.com

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