In today's times, it is especially important to be a diligent and informed timeshare owner.
The phone rings and it is a friendly voice on the other end. Maybe someone who really sounds sincere and knows what they are talking about. And today is your lucky day because they have a party that is super interested in your timeshare. It is the answer you have been waiting for....but is it?
The voice on the other end of the phone is a well trained sales professional. Their goal is to convince you that you must get out your credit card and pay them, up front, to help you complete this sale. The money you pay them is called pre-paid closing fees, appraisal fees, settlement charges and various other names. Why do they have to make this stuff up? First, because it needs to sound almost legit...or at least legit enough for you to fall for it. Second, because up front fees are illegal when it comes to selling a timeshare in many areas and this is true of Florida.
Every day we at Florida Timeshare Pro LLC hear sad stories of owners who were duped, lied to and misled. It saddens us to hear this and we advise every timeshare owner to simply hang up the phone.
If an entity (and we use the word entity because often times these are fraudulent LLCs or what are known as "shell companies") calls YOU on the phone your first clue should be that they are after something. You would be correct in viewing them as you would any other annoying phone solicitor trying to sell you something.
These entities are not legitimate real estate companies. Or legitimate title companies if they use the approach that the fees you are about to pay them are pre-paid closing fees or settlement charges.
Legitimate real estate professionals who are licensed and title companies DO NOT do business this way! Think about your last real estate transaction. Did you pre-pay your closing costs before you received a contract? Of course not! It is no different with your timeshare ownership.
Timeshare Fraud is one of the most common forms of telephone fraud in America today. It ranks very high along with Credit Repair schemes. We feel compelled to say it again that these are well trained sales professionals who are simply out to take your money. It is their job to convince you that what they are saying is real and not to good to be true. Without fail and sadly timeshare owners find out every day after the fact that it is.
When buying or selling a timeshare, you should seek the advice of a licensed real estate professional in your state. In Florida, legitimate licensees and brokerages can be verified online. One would only have to go to MyFloridaLicense.com and type in either the real estate licensee's name or name of the real estate brokerage to verify that who you are talking with is licensed and legitimate.
And when you are talking to entities who are not, especially when they are calling you, we have one word of advice. One that we repeat often when we speak with concerned timeshare owners.
That advice is:
HANG UP THE PHONE
HANG UP THE PHONE
HANG UP THE PHONE
Floridians charged in timeshare fraud. (Click To Read Complete News Story)
This is breaking news from UPI.
Sadly enough, it's not the first time most of us have seen a case like this, nor not likely it will be the last. What perhaps is even more unfortunate is how the "bad guys" make the news. The media feeds on this negative stuff and why is it people can't get enough of it?
Three Floridians were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. These are federal charges.
Their targets were timeshare owners throughtout the United States, but amazingly enough not owners of timeshares in their home state of Florida. This seems to be the only part of the law that those brought up on charges complied with. It's illegal for a company dealing in timeshare resales in Florida to charge upfront fees for listing a timeshare. Their steering clear of Florida timeshare owners probably kept them off the radar a little longer but in the end, they got caught.
The charges stem from the three, and their various named companies, who were contacting timeshare owners telling them they had a buyer for their timeshare, collecting upfront fees, listing the property and then basically nothing happened for the timeshare seller, except them being out the money.
Lesson well-learned yet another time. Timeshare sellers should be very wary of these types of business practices, especially within Florida. The old adage "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" would also apply. Regardless of how much a seller might need to sell a timeshare due to lifetyle changes and the like, one should opt for someone who will do business and be paid based on their performance, as that is safer for a seller to avoid being victim of fraud and within the law.
These types of cases and charges puts a bad taste out there for the Florida Timeshare industry, which already has it's share of stigmas for being a scam, high pressure sales and a myriad of other things, that quite frankly aren't true! You will find the negative press out there front and center in those myths and misconceptions by the general public.
On the flipside, there are many "good guys" out there who actually offer honest service, fairly priced timeshare products and comply with the laws that regulate the industry. Why don't we see those in the news? It would strike a nice balance, wouldn't it?
The best advice to Florida timeshare sellers is use a Florida Realtor to help you sell your Florida timeshare. I am not saying this just because I happen to be a Florida Realtor who could help you. I also wear the hat of timeshare owner, and as an owner, I would be suspicious and skeptical of a company who wanted me to pay them upfront to begin with. Once you pay them, there is no guarantee that they will do anything for you. The only thing I'd be sure of is that they'd be making a trip to the bank....with my check!
A licensed Florida Real Estate Broker or Salesperson is bound by a certain code of ethics and are professionals in their field. They have the knowledge and expertise to get the job done for you, complying with all federal and state laws while doing so. Insist on a Florida Timeshare Resale Specialist to get the job done for you and you are more likely to stay safe and not fall victim to fraud.
Whether you contact me or another real estate professional, the point is as a timeshare seller you should do your due diligence and only deal with a company you feel comfortable with. You don't need to pay upfront fees to sell your timeshare. I would be happy to let you know what services I can provide to help you sell your Florida timeshare.
My best advice is use a Realtor, myself or one of my peers, to sell your Florida Timeshare on the resale market. Stay safe, don't fall victim to timeshare fraud and good luck selling!