CONSUMER ALERT: Red Flags in Timeshare Resale
June 21, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Some Arkansans have found themselves trapped in a bad timeshare deal, unable to get rid of the property and have contacted the Attorney General’s office seeking help. The idea of a guaranteed vacation location, upscale lodging accommodations and the ability to exchange shares for other properties could seem like the perfect vacation solution. But timeshare “owners” may be surprised by expensive annual maintenance fees, difficulty exchanging weeks or locations and finding the property value they assumed would remain steady or even increase has remained the same or decreased.
A timeshare is a type of property in which an owner buys the right to use it for a previously-designated period of time. Timeshares are usually condominium units in a popular destination and often have multiple “owners.”
“Timeshare ‘owners’ who have found themselves wanting to sell their stake in the property often run into scam artists who promise to sell their portion quickly,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “But Arkansans must do research before working with any company offering to help resell the timeshare. Consumers must make sure they are dealing with a reputable seller.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for Arkansans looking to resell their timeshare:
- Beware of timeshare resellers who contact you unsolicited with a promise to resell your timeshare.
- If they say they have willing buyers, it is probably a lie.
- Never pay a substantial advance fee for resale assistance. A reputable seller will charge a commission paid only upon sale, like a normal real estate transaction. An advance fee may be called a marketing fee, a listing fee, an internet advertising fee or other related fee.
- Get an independent appraisal from a licensed appraiser before agreeing on any resale assistance contract.
- Deal only with licensed agents.
The timeshare industry has become a popular platform for a number of operations to take advantage of “owners” desperate to sell. They claim to offer assistance in selling the timeshare and take away the burden of the continuing costs of ownership. These operations collect hundreds or thousands of dollars in so-called deed transfer or marketing fees but never complete the sale.
The timeshare industry was rapidly expanding in the 1970s and 1980s, which resulted in an overdeveloped market and flood of properties that now have depressed values. These circumstances make the resale of timeshares difficult. The industry fluctuates and is unpredictable.
Consumers who have concerns about their timeshares should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office.
For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.