Caution Urged as Timeshare Scams Rise

Many Ohioans who are looking to resell vacation property timeshare agreements are running into trouble. Within the past two years, complaints to the Attorney General's office involving timeshares have nearly doubled, with the majority coming from shareowners who are attempting to sell.

"From 2008 to 2009, the number of timeshare complaints filed with my office has nearly doubled and if current trends continue, this year's complaints will exceed the number filed in 2009," said Attorney General Richard Cordray. "We know that the tough economy has made it difficult for shareowners to resell, so they are turning to outside agencies to act as a broker. They are paying sometimes thousands of dollars in upfront fees to companies that promise to sell, but then do not."

A woman from Medina paid more than $1,100 upfront to a company based in Orlando after an agent promised to aggressively market her timeshare. After the money was paid, the woman was unable to contact the agent or anyone else at the company and her timeshare was never marketed.

A Columbus man paid more than $1,200 to a company he contracted with to sell his timeshare. After more than a year, the timeshare was not sold and the company refused to reimburse the man for his money.

The Attorney General's office received 45 timeshare-related complaints in 2008 compared with 80 filed in 2009. So far this year, Cordray's office has received 57 complaints related to timeshares.

"Through our complaint process we are now seeing a trend in reselling issues," said Cordray. "Whether buying or selling, I strongly recommend that Ohioans proceed carefully."

Cordray offers the following tips for consumers who are looking to sell timeshares:

  • When purchasing a timeshare property, check the contract or the timeshare company's bylaws for specific terms regarding the resale of your timeshare. Some groups require using specific resale companies.
  • If contracting with a timeshare resale company, be sure to get all verbal promises in writing, especially if they guarantee to resell your timeshare. If the company will not put it in writing, don't sign the contract.
  • Research the company's reputation. Check complaints filed against the company with the Attorney General's office and the Better Business Bureau.
  • Timeshare companies may have long waiting lists of consumers wishing to resell their timeshare property.
  • Don't give in to high pressure sales tactics.
  • Understand you may not have the right to cancel. Cancellation rights exist only for certain contracts. If you signed the contract at your home or outside the company's normal place of business, you have three business days to cancel the contract. Cancellations must be in writing and postmarked (or delivered in person) by midnight of the third business day.
  • Don't make agreements over the phone. Insist that the company send you all the information in writing and carefully review the terms and conditions before you pay any money.

Consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly should file a complaint with the Attorney General's office at or (800)-282-0515.

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