Our company president, Cliff Hagberg, has been
actively involved in exposing timeshare resale
scams for years. He's been involved as an expert
witness in Ohio, Florida and Texas so far. If you
know of a situation that looks like a scam, let us
know and we'll publish it for other timeshare
owners to learn from.
We've already been sued by one company so what's
the worst that can happen? By the way, the owners
of that company are currently in jail . . .
Scam # 1
"Hi. We want to buy your week and we'll pay
cash. In order to know how much we should pay, we
need to have a current appraisal for your week. If
you don't have one, we can refer you to a company
that will do an appraisal for you. We'll pay you
70% of the appraised value in cash."
"Hi. We have a customer who wants to buy your
week. They will pay $X for your week but first, we
need you to put down some money in order to start
the title search, get the paperwork done, etc.,
Do these sound familiar? There are more creative
approaches to separate you from your money every
week. All of them have one thing in common. They
want you to send them money before anything
happens. Typically, they want you to send them
money by Fed Ex or something other than the post
office in order to avoid mail fraud charges.
We're sure there are legitimate reasons why a
company might want to charge you a fee prior to
their selling your week but you still need to be
careful. For example, We've been selling real
estate for over thirty years. Until we got involved
with timeshare, we had never seen any broker
require an appraisal as a condition of accepting a
listing. There's nothing wrong or illegal about a
broker requiring an appraisal before you list a
week but think about it for a minute. Why do they
need one? If they know what they're doing, they
should already have a pretty good idea of what your
week is worth. If they don't know about what your
week is worth, why would you do business with them.
If they say they need it for a buyer, I can tell
you that in 17 years selling timeshare, I have
never had a buyer ask if there was an appraisal on
a week they were considering buying. On the other
hand, if you wanted to pay me $400 to $500 for a
piece of paper that says your week is worth X
amount of dollars, I'll gladly take your money!
Just make the check out to IVS Realty and send it
on in. No, really, just send me a check. Please, I
could use the money. Just write payable to IVS
Realty, put it in an envelope and mail it right
away. You know, I'll bet I don't get a single check
and I wouldn't send anyone a check to do an
appraisal on a timeshare week either. How the heck
is an appraiser in Florida going to appraise a week
in Maine without actually visiting the resort?
Further, if they're going to do a real appraisal,
there's no way they can do it for $500. So,
seriously, instead of sending them a check, just
send it on to me and I promise you I'll make good
use of it!
Recently, we heard of a new scam making the
circuit. A company calls you and says that
they have a buyer for your week. They need
you to send them a copy of your deed and, in order
to pay you quickly, they need your bank account and
routing number! Now I don't know for sure why
they need your routing number and bank account, but
I can't believe that people would give them that
information, but they do! Don't you do it
though, it's just asking for trouble.