Browse Month

June 2021

Friday’s Letter from America: Timeshare Fraud

Welcome to the latest edition of Letter from America, again Inside Timeshare thanks Irene for her time in preparing this week’s Letter and also all those that contributed with information and proofreading. Today’s article follows on from previous ones which focus on the industry and the related scams. Timeshare owners from both sides of the pond and indeed the world are all familiar with the tactics that have been employed to fleece them of their hard-earned cash. These articles are to highlight this ongoing problem and make the industry change of its own volition, failing that, then governments need to step in and legislate as they have in Spain. The ball is squarely in the court of the industry.

CRIMESHARE: Anatomy of an Ongoing Timeshare Resale Scam

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In representation of XYZ Properties and Mr. ABC, we are thrilled to inform you that your membership has been appraised and has obtained an offer to be purchased (for $300,000). Please find attached to this email our statement of intent. 

Email from a wire fraud expert 

By Irene Parker

June 18, 2021 

Retired Canadian Military Armed Forces Police Officer Earl Sharpe was concerned enough to share on TIMESHARE TALKS about how he and his wife Faith were scammed by a resort in Mexico, and by a sophisticated ring of timeshare exit criminals. Those defrauded by a dark web exit scam or a dishonest timeshare sales agent have long memories. Earl volunteers to help research scams for those who have been contacted with bogus offers to buy or sell their timeshare. 

Earl told me about Timeshare Specialists, Inc., an honest timeshare resale company that has gathered the names of over 100 resale and transfer scams to try to prevent scams before they happen. I have my own shorter list. It is alarming to me that I did not recognize any of the names. One of the entities actually went by the name Just Fly Corp! (Claiming to be part of the legitimate company/website)   

https://timesharespecialists.com/timeshare-scam-database/

As explained by Timeshare Specialist’s website: 

Most timeshare owners never see it coming. They think they’ve just closed a deal to sell their property when in reality they’ve just been scammed out of thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars!

Also alarming is the orchestrated level of sophistication. When I attempted to insert the statement of intent mentioned in the email above into this article, it would not allow the offer to be displayed. That’s never happened to me before. 

Earl is not ready to disclose the real name of XYZ Properties because he has not yet finished researching the scam. It would be amusing, if not so tragic, this disclaimer appearing at the bottom of the email Earl received:  

Disclaimer: The information in this e-mail and any documents and files transmitted with it are confidential and for the use of the intended recipient only. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete the message and statements immediately and notify the sender. Alternatively, please contact XYZ Properties on telephone 877 xxx xxxx. Any unauthorized dissemination or copying of this E-mail, or any misuse or wrongful disclosure of the information contained in it, is strictly prohibited and may be considered illegal.

What’s the problem? What’s the solution?

In 2017, Red Week reported that at least 1.15 million timeshare owners want out of their timeshares. The California Real Estate Commissioner’s warning from 2017 holds true today: “The glut of properties and owners desperate to get rid of them has created easy prey for unscrupulous timeshare exit companies.”

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/07/07/questionable-timeshare-exit-companies-profit-off-desperation/

The article mentions that the trade association for the timeshare industry (ARDA) advises owners who want to get rid of their timeshares to contact the resort directly to see if they can work out an exit solution. It also advised that timeshare owners not pay an upfront fee to anyone offering help getting rid of a timeshare. However, ARDA-ROC advised one timeshare member to contact an ARDA member to list their points (that have no resale value) – and pay an upfront fee. Such listings quickly grow cold. 

It was a pleasure speaking with you today.  I am sorry to hear about your experience.  I would recommend calling their customer service department and file a formal complaint…… 

ARDA has a list of timeshare advertising and resale companies. Please click here to access the list of ARDA members specializing in timeshare advertising and resale. Please note: there is an up-front fee for these advertising services and that fee varies by company and advertising package selected. We always recommend using an ARDA-member company for your resale needs to avoid being the victim of a scam, however, you can also list your timeshare “for sale by owner” on websites such The Timeshare Users Group or eBay, just note these groups are not affiliated with ARDA

Thank you again for contacting ARDA-ROC. If you have any additional questions, please let me know.  

Sincerely,

B G

ARDA-ROC Consumer Support

TIMESHARE TALKS

If you would be interested in sharing your timeshare experience, bad or good, contact host John Raymond, founder, and owner of Resort Reseller. We thank Earl, our first official guest, his wife Faith, and Service Dog Raven, who has been drafted as our official Timeshare Talks mascot. Earl’s interview, linked in this article, includes good advice from former timeshare executive Wayne C. Robinson, author of Everything About Timeshares

https://tarda.org/f/crimeshare-%E2%80%93-a-sophisticated-timeshare-resale-scam

Wayne worked at many resorts throughout Mexico and the Caribbean and is well aware of the tactics Earl and his wife Faith experienced. Consider subscribing to Timeshare Talks to help us spread the words: 

Buyers Beware!

The Canadian Government issued a warning about Mexico timeshares (surprising published by Yucatan Times), and the Canada travel advisory for Mexico  provided tips on their website on what you should do before purchasing a timeshare:

  • gather as much information as possible
  • review carefully the contract; anything not included in the contract will not be honored
  • provide your credit card only if you are sure you want to make the purchase
  • keep copies of all correspondence

At some resorts, the presentation won’t happen if you don’t provide your credit card in advance. There are many reports of people who could not leave a presentation because the sales agents refused to return their credit card and driver’s license. 

I would add to the due diligence list what consumer advocates advise – never buy the same day an offer is presented. One wonders if this industry would survive if that rule were to be applied. 

Related articles: 

The Solution: What’s a Legacy Resort and Why are they Struggling?  

https://tarda.org/f/what%E2%80%99s-a-legacy-resort-and-why-are-they-struggling

TOWB is about Transparency in Timeshare:

https://tarda.org/f/towb-is-about-transparency-in-timeshare

Earl and Faith’s Mexico timeshare experience: 

https://tarda.org/f/memorial-day-honors-all-who-died-serving-our-country

Thank you all again for your contributions, Inside Timeshare wishes you all a very happy weekend. 

Friday’s Letter from America: Covid Nursing and Timeshare

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America and the return of Beth whose story we highlighted some time ago. Once again Inside Timeshare would like to thank our friends from across the pond who have helped to prepare and edit this article.

Today Beth warns younger people to think carefully before buying a timeshare. She was convinced to upgrade after her parents gave her their timeshare points. This happened at the height of the Covid pandemic while Beth worked as a front-line Covid nurse. The consequence was being left with no choice but to default. 

TIMESHARE TALKS is a new initiative, a YouTube forum hosted by John Raymond, owner of Resort Reseller, Wayne C. Robinson, author of Everything About Timeshares and a former timeshare executive, and Irene, a timeshare owner for over 35 years. The two goals are to promote the secondary market and call attention to the oral representation clause that has been a source of tragedy for many families who have reached out to Inside Timeshare over the years. Contact John if you are interested in being a guest. 

Beth decided to share her story after Earl, Faith and Service Dog Raven shared their Mexico timeshare and organized timeshare crime resale disaster in last week’s interview, CRIMESHARE. 

A Warning to Younger People Buying a Timeshare 

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June 11, 2021

By Beth, a Tennessee Timeshare Purchaser

I watched a TIMESHARE TALKS interview with Earl, Faith and Raven. The interview hit home especially for me since I bought a timeshare in Tennessee. Earl mentioned in his interview that he had been scammed by Your New Tennessee. It was brave of Earl to share his story and brave of Wayne to talk about how sales agents lie. I think Raven is a natural mascot for the episodes.  

I was forced to default on a timeshare I purchased after learning that a $4,500 purchase was really $40,340. The $4,500 was just the down payment that was charged to a Barclaycard provided by the resort. 

Wayne talked about the importance of reading the contract. I did not do that due to being in the midst of a whirlwind crisis. I thought I had not been given the contract, but when I searched through my papers I found it. 

I attended the presentation to learn how to use 10,000 resort points my parents had given me. The sales agent told me that the points I had would not get me very far and were in fact worthless. He talked about the benefits of achieving a loyalty level which required 15,000 points. He explained that he could get me 5,000 more points for $4,500. The contract was signed on a small tablet. He went through the contract quickly saying I should not worry because the contract would be sent in a few days. I was surrounded by salespeople who kept telling me how they wished that they had this opportunity at such a young age. I’m 24.

The actual signing was recorded. I never heard $40,340. I would have never purchased if I had heard this amount. That’s more than I owe on student loans and my loan balance which will reach $80,000 by the time I finish graduate school. 

The resort used the recording against me. I asked if I could listen to it because I have no recollection of the closing agent disclosing the purchase price. I was told I could only listen to the recording if I retained a lawyer who would need to issue a subpoena. I was prepared to do this, despite the stress of working as a front-line Covid nurse. A lawyer said that in order to issue a subpoena he would have to file an arbitration case. The demands of my work would not allow me time to do this and the case would be my word against the agent. I have no choice but to default. I wanted to buy a car and a house but now may have to wait.  

The company provided a portion of the recording’s transcript. I have to take their word for it that the figure of $40,340 was mentioned. I clearly remember $4,500 explained by the agent as being the cost to obtain 5,000 additional points.  

My warning is to never buy anything in the middle of a crisis. After listening to Earl and Wayne, I learned I should not blame myself for being younger. When we took a break from the hard-sell sales session, I called the hospital to check on my primary patient. I was informed that she was being taken off life-support. She was six months old and I had cared for her for four months. To make matters worse, the next day Nashville had one of those really bad tornadoes and power was lost. I was scheduled to move out of my apartment and into a new apartment the day after I signed the contract. Due to the loss of power, I could not move into the new apartment, but had to vacate the one I was living in.        

My mother is horrified. She thought giving me their timeshare points would provide relief from the stress of nursing. The stress of caring for Covid patients was overwhelming. I caught Covid twice. 

When something like this happens, you need support. You feel violated and alone. There are member-sponsored Facebook pages that provide support and straight answers. My mother reached out to Irene, one of our Facebook volunteers. I was able to get straight answers. I was advised to work directly with the resort. I learned that what I had before was 10000 Liki Tiki resort points that converted to 9000 Diamond points and that I had bought 6000 Diamond points for $40,340. I paid $6.72 per point. I’ve learned this is a high price. I didn’t read the contract until it was too late.   

I read about how some call me gullible. The phrase “pouring salt into a wound” evolved as a form of torture employed by pirates. It makes the wound worse and is designed to add to the pain. It doesn’t help the patient. 

Thank you to Earl and Faith, Raven, John, Irene and Wayne. I subscribed to TIMESHARE TALKS YouTube channel and hope you do too. The only defense from timeshare harm that I know of is consumer education and awareness.      

Diamond Resort Member-sponsored Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

Thank you Beth for your contribution and all those who have had a hand in this article. Have a great weekend.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, once again our thanks to Irene and our US contributors for preparing this article for publication. 

TIMESHARE TALKS with John, Wayne and Irene 

A YouTube Forum for Timeshare Members, Owners, and Industry Observers   

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By Irene Parker

June 4, 2021 

Here are some questions and answers we’re working on:

  • How do you compare timeshares? 
  • How do I do timeshare math to determine if buying a timeshare makes economic sense, considering my age and the cost?
  • How much do yearly maintenance fees increase?
  • Am I better off renting someone else’s timeshare?
  • Why is there little to no resale value? 
  • Why are there closing costs involved in the sale?
  • What’s the difference buying from the resort or from the secondary market?

TIMESHARE TALKS allows timeshare members or owners to interact with other members and owners, and with industry insiders, to make sure that buying a timeshare results in an experience that will provide your family with decades of vacation memories. It is our goal to enhance consumer awareness to prevent two consequences of product misinformation or misunderstanding:  

  • The buyer often makes a decision without adequate information. 
  • The wrong timeshare decision can be financially devastating. 

Timeshare sales and marketing costs can be 50% or more of the purchase price. This is one reason why the resale value is so much less for a timeshare than it is for a primary residence, where commissions run about 7% on average. Anyone’s life can change in an instant, so careful consideration should be given to spending large sums of money on something you may not be able to easily sell or dispose of. 

Our first Timeshare Talks discussions:  

YouTube #1 John and Irene – Introduction and Resale Market

YouTube #2 Wayne Robinson, author of Everything About Timeshares

We talked recently with Canadian residents Earl and Faith, accompanied by Earl’s Service Dog Raven. We appreciated Earl and Faith sharing their experience to warn about the pitfalls of buying a timeshare in Mexico, and also about how their loss was doubled by falling victim to an international timeshare crime ring. Earl spent 18+ years in the service of his county, serving as a Canadian Armed Forces Military Police Officer. No one is immune from deception, as volunteer Tiffany reported this past April. She reviewed AARP staff writer Doug Shadel’s book, Outsmarting the Scam Artist. Mr. Shadel explains why no one is “smart” enough to outsmart a con artist. 

Our TIMESHARE TALKS team  

John Raymond is founder and owner of Resort Reseller. His team has over 40 years of combined experience. John and his team can help you buy a timeshare or sell a timeshare, if your timeshare has value.  

https://resortreseller.com/our-team/

In addition to writing Everything About Timeshares, Before, During and After the Sale, Wayne C. Robinson wrote other self-improvement books.

Author Wayne C. Robinson

Wayne was raised an army dependent on military bases in the United States and Europe. He graduated from the Munich American High School in Germany. He has served as a U.S. Navy journalist. Wayne holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, and a Master’s degree in Tourism. He is an alumnus of the International Tour Management Institute (ITMI) in San Francisco, California. Wayne authored The African American Travel Guide; How To Work in Vacation Hot Spots, Change Your Thoughts Change Your Destiny and Job Hunting Secrets They Don’t Tell You About. Wayne produced and directed the documentary The DREAMS LIVE ON THE SECRET IS OUT. Wayne has worked for some of the most popular resorts in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, including The Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Wyndham, The Manhattan Club, Royal Resorts, and more. 

Everything About Timeshares provides a level playing field for consumers. The book should be read BEFORE attending a sales presentation. He doesn’t discourage consumers from buying a timeshare, but advises they research the timeshare and the timeshare company before signing a long term contract that may have little to no resale value.  

 “I recommend that consumers, particularly minorities and seniors, make sure that everything stated in the sales presentation is in writing. Sales teams are professionally trained to execute powerful strategies to make same day sales.”  

One of Wayne’s concerns is the plethora of travel club memberships. According to Wayne, many of these travel clubs hide behind brand name resorts.  

“Many of the companies don’t even own resorts.  They simply rent out rooms from brand name resorts and list them into exchange directories.”

Irene Parker, I’m simply someone who loved our timeshares for over 35 years until I experienced a predatory and deceptive sales presentation in 2015. Getting up in age, we no longer want to be burdened with the requirements of timeshare membership, but will continue to rely on our friends to provide us with more memories by renting their units or calling on John or my other timeshare broker friends to find us great destinations. 

If you would like to share your timeshare experience to learn more, or help others, let us know. You can talk to us about your experience, or ask questions that other timeshare members or industry experts can answer back. If we can’t answer your questions, we’ll find someone who can!

  Related article: 

April 2, 2021 Why the Buyer is Blamed 

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-74/

CONTACT INFO for Wayne C. Robinson

[email protected]

+016 17 411 9684 (Malaysia) 

Have a great weekend.