As a result of the current economic environment, disreputable companies are using unscrupulous tactics to take advantage of owners who may need to sell their timeshares. In fact, several state attorneys general have addressed concerns about resale “scams.” Since the re sale industry is largely unregulated, the American Resort Development Association or ARDA is working with its members, including reputable resale companies, to ensure transparency on both the buying and selling process.
In September, ARDA released two consumer advisories to help consumers and timeshare owners navigate through the secondary market, which includes timeshare resellers, Internet advertisers and other resale companies, to ensure a safe and positive selling experience. The advisories were developed to help dispel the growing misinformation and confusion in the secondary marketplace by providing specific tips on reviewing timeshare resale companies, their practices, costs and services in the marketplace. Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA, delivered this statement in response to the Florida Attorney General’s Office move Monday, November 2, to seek an emergency injunction against a West Palm Beach timeshare resale operation for fraudulent practices
“This is not an indictment of our reputable resale company members, but rather a problem faced by everyone who loves this industry being painted with the same ‘timeshare scam’ brush,” said Nusbaum. “We continue to work with stakeholders to craft what we believe will be guidelines for best practices and legislation,” added Nusbaum.
Although there are many reputable companies that provide resale services, the largely unregulated secondary market also includes some that use unscrupulous tactics to take advantage of owners who may wish to sell their timeshares. The Florida Attorney General’s Office took action against Creative Vacation Solutions, a timeshare resale operation in West Palm Beach, for charging nearly $2,500 in marketing fees from hundreds of customers but did little or nothing in return.
The first of the two consumer advisories focuses on the types of timeshare resellers with four steps to guide consumers through the process: utilizing existing resources, understanding timeshare resale companies, choosing the best option, and following basic rules. The second advisory provides tools to evaluate resale companies with a list of tips.
Added Cindy Thomas, Stoneridge Resort Manager: “It’s simply a matter of buyer beware. With the state of the economy today, a large number of our owners are being approached by a variety of companies, with offers of previously unheard of rental revenues or resale prices, and even just “getting out from under” one’s timeshare week. Many of these offers are hard to understand, even for the savviest of timeshare owners. Unfortunately, we have heard from many owners who were dissatisfied with the end result of these transactions and little can be done about it after the fact. As always, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it just might be. Be aware and be diligent. Do your own research and check with your own timeshare resort association before doing anything.”
“We applaud the efforts made by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum to investigate dishonest resale companies whose actions taint the industry’s reputable resale companies ARDA continues to work with its members to ensure transparency on both the buying and selling process,” said Nusbaum.
ARDA encourages consumers and timeshare owners to conduct research and due diligence on any resale company or advertiser in advance of paying any money or signing any contract or agreement.