The State of Tennessee, U.S. has warned residents to be on alert if they own a timeshare. The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance say’s there is a big problem with people being scammed in their State and timeshares ranked amongst its highest complaint category.
While most victims are owners trying to sell their timeshares, the department also receives high numbers of complaints from buyers. They say these include high pressure sales tactics and misrepresentations about their contracts.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government, its principal mission is the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC regularly warns timeshare owners and potential owners of the many pitfalls to ownership and scams they may be subjected to. It is estimated that around 9.2 million households in America own a timeshare, creating a huge market for potential scammers and fraudulent resale schemes.
The FTC says buying a timeshare as an investment is a bad idea. There are so many timeshares and vacation plans left unwanted that the resale value is likely to a lot less than what you paid for it.
The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance offers the following advice for those thinking about buying a timeshare:
Consider your needs and your means. A timeshare is a binding contract. While you might be excited about using it now and in the next few months, will you feel that way in five or 10 years? More importantly, especially with rising maintenance fees, will you be able to afford it?
- Research the seller and the property.
- Check to see if the state where the timeshare is located requires a special timeshare sales license and verify the salesperson is properly licensed. In Tennessee, a timeshare sales person must be licensed through the Tennessee Real Estate Commission.
- Don’t be pressured to sign a contract immediately without time to read what you’re agreeing to. Don’t rely on oral promises.
- Protect your sensitive information. Be cautious about giving out personal and financial information at timeshare seminars.
- Know the law. In Tennessee, the developer has to disclose certain information before or at the time of purchase.
- Know the cancellation policy. In Tennessee, a timeshare purchaser has the right to cancel the sale for 10 days from the date of signing the contract if the purchaser made an onsite inspection of the property, and 15 days if there was no inspection. The cancellation notice must be in writing.
TDCI and the Better Business Bureau offer the following advice for timeshare owners:
- Always proceed with caution if you receive an unsolicited phone call with an offer to buy your timeshare or to sell it for you.
- Do your research on the reseller before paying any money or handing over any personal information. Check with the BBB and look for reviews online.
- Be wary if you’re asked to pay money before the timeshare is bought or sold.
- Get everything in writing. Read the contract carefully to make sure it matches promises you’ve been given verbally.
The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the timeshare industry. There are too many fraudulent companies who are willing to take advantage of timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.
It is also important to remember that purchasing a timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.
If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or simply want to end your agreement, get in touch with us today to see how we can help with a possible timeshare termination.