Beware of Predatory Timeshare and Exit Companies When Traveling This Summer

A recent study conducted by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) highlights the presence of ‘deceptive exit schemes’ and ‘high-pressure sales’ in the timeshare industry. Devin Benavides, the regional director for the BBB serving the Heart of Texas, has warned that such practices are not uncommon. He emphasized that potential customers should be cautious of red flags, including pressure to make quick decisions and referring to timeshare ownership as an ‘investment,’ as these tactics can be used to deceive customers.

Moreover, potential buyers should be wary of the fact that the overall cost may often be hidden, such as the frequency and amount of fees or additional costs like maintenance. Often, predatory companies use amenities or even the address of a nearby unaffiliated vacation club to make a buyer believe they are getting more for their money.

Benavides has also stated that consumers need to be made aware of the fees that maintaining and selling a timeshare could entail. These timeshares can be exceptionally tricky to sell without the help of ‘exit companies.’ Benavides advised caution when dealing with such companies, as red flags could include promises to resell timeshares swiftly and encouraging consumers to pay upfront fees.

According to the BBB, from 2020 to 2022, Texans have lost over $270,000 to timeshare or vacation-related scams, whereas from 2017-19, $800,000 was lost in the same kinds of scams. Therefore, Benavides recommended that customers thoroughly read contracts with timeshares or exit companies. Additionally, the BBB Scam Tracker could be used to search for reports of scams by criteria like location or the type of scam. For instance, if a consumer types in their zip code to find timeshares on the Texas coast, they can see how many complaints have been made in that area.

It has become increasingly attractive for people to purchase timeshares since reselling them appears to be difficult, making them a prime target for scam and impostor companies. Therefore, Benavides has stressed the need to be cautious of high-pressure sales tactics and deceptive exit schemes in the timeshare industry.

In conclusion, the BBB’s study sheds light on the fraudulent activities in the timeshare industry. It emphasizes the importance of being vigilant and thoroughly reading all contracts to avoid falling victim to such scams.

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