Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Where's Your License?

I'm happy to reprint this information which comes from our good friends at Inside The Gate.

Very few consumers bother to find out if the salesperson they're dealing with is licensed and what the licensing requirements for sellers are when purchasing a timeshare,  Remember that the person asking the questions is in control  Make certain that's YOU.

  • MAINE: Maine Real Estate Commission. No license required. FAX 207/624-8637 -Phone 207/624-8603
  • MISSOURI: Under Missouri state law, timeshares are defined as merchandise and fall within the guidelines of Missouri’s Merchandising Practices Act, Chapter 407.600, Missouri Revised Statutes. No Timeshare or RE License required. For more information visit the MO-AG website
    For info about real estate issues:
  • OKLAHOMA: The Securities Commission regulates Timeshare sales and dealers in Oklahoma. No special license required.
  • TEXAS: Texas Real Estate Commission. No special license required.  If the sales agent is an employee of the owner of the timeshare, the employee would not be required to be licensed. [Rule 535.5(d)] Otherwise, the sales agent needs to be licensed
  • VIRGINIA: Virginia Dept. of Professional & Occupational Regulation. No special license required. Phone: 804/367-8526

  • LOUISIANA: Louisiana Real Estate Commission. Must be registered as a timeshare interest salesperson, unless you are already a licensed RE Agent.
  • TENNESSEE: Tennessee Real Estate Commission. Timeshare salesperson license required. A timeshare salesperson must be affiliated with a licensed real estate firm which is affiliated with a registered timeshare development. A license is required to be issued by the Tennessee Real Estate Commission to engage in the activities of a Timeshare Salesperson.
  • UTAH: Utah Division of Real Estate. According to Utah law, all individuals who market, offer, or sell interests in a timeshare or camp resort project in the state of Utah must register as a timeshare salesperson with the Utah Division of Real Estate. To register as a salesperson, submit to the Division:

  • ARIZONA: Department of Real Estate. RE License required. FAX 602/468-0562 – Phone 602/468-1414
  • ARKANSAS: Arkansas Real Estate Commission. RE License required. FAX 501/683-8020 – Phone 501/683-8010
  • CONNECTICUT: Real estate issues concerning timeshares are regulated by the Department of Consumer Protection. RE License required.
  • GEORGIA: Georgia Real Estate Commission. RE License required. FAX 404/656-6650 – Phone 404/656-3916
  • KANSAS: There don’t seem to be any timeshare resorts in Kansas, but for your convenience here is information for the Kansas Real Estate Commission.
  • KENTUCKY: Kentucky Real Estate Commission. RE License required FAX 502/426-2717 – Phone 502/425-4273
  • NORTH CAROLINA: North Carolina Real Estate Commission. RE License required. Phone 919/875-3700
  • NORTH DAKOTA: There don’t seem to be any timeshare developments in North Dakota, but for your convenience: North Dakota Real Estate Commission. (Does not specifically reference timesharing.)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Aggressive, Mean-Spirted and Unethical

I read an article last night at 2:00 am while the fire alarm was going off in the building next to mine, about how some top executives in the timeshare industry were upset and concerned about the proliferation of companies designed to get people out of their timeshare. 

To quote the article;”...the constant barrage of aggressive ads from lawyers, wannabe lawyers and other sharks offering to help hapless owners was upsetting to the public and, particularly, to owners who were being prompted to question their purchase.”  It continued to quote the COO of a timeshare company that is currently facing legal action from one or more of its sales agents accused of selling timeshare points as a financial investment;”...seeing a dramatically rising incidence of default.” and categorized the activity of these companies as “mean-spirited and, in the opinion of resort shareholders, unethical.”  

I kid you not. The timeshare industry accusing these companies of being aggressive, mean-spirited and unethical. Have any of these guys ever sat through a 3, 4 or 6 hour timeshare sales pitch?  

Dear timeshare industry people:  Rather than complain about the proliferation of companies designed to get people out of their timeshare, how about you stop suppressing the secondary market and devise a fair exit strategy?  

Fondly, Lisa 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Beware-New Heinous Sales Tactics

We all know that consumers must be cautious during a timeshare sales pitch. Actually, consumers must remain cautious during any transaction anywhere.

Timeshare sales pitches are unique due to the mountains of paperwork that the sales and closing personnel force you to sign without any chance of reading beforehand---it's all about the fake 'one day only' offer.

Lately, I've heard from consumers who find out that the developer opened one or more credit cards in the buyers' name without their knowledge or consent. Here's a link to a story that got media attention:

How does this happen and how can you protect yourself?

Before I get hammered with nasty comments, let me state for the record that the consumer bears some responsibility for this happening. Just as in all the cases I hear about 5, 6 or 7 hour long sales presentations where the consumer was denied food, etc. while these tactics are heinous, I have yet to understand why people don't just get up and leave.

In the case of finding out a credit card has been unwillingly opened, it's a bit easier to understand how it happens. There's just too much paperwork presented in too short of a period of time.

Some tips to protect yourself:

Don't hand over your Drivers License or credit card to anyone
Don't let anyone make copies of those
Don't sign or initial anything without reading it, or at least having an understanding of what the document is
Don't use a tablet or other electronic device to sign anything...insist on paper
Do not provide your Social Security Number
Do not provide any bank account information
Do not give permission to anyone to run your credit report
Do not provide your date of birth

Obviously, if you decide to purchase, some of that information will be required.

It’s imperative for you to maintain control during the entire process. If you don’t understand something, STOP and regroup. If you feel you’re being rushed, STOP and regroup. If signing feels wrong STOP and regroup. If you’re not getting straight answers, STOP and ask yourself if you want to continue. If portions of the paper you’re signing are kept hidden from you, STOP and do not proceed.

I don’t want to sound like an alarmist; most developers do not open credit cards in your name without you knowing. However, even one reported story generally means that there could be hundreds if not thousands of unreported incidents.

Friday, May 4, 2018

A (Not So) Brief History of Timeshare Related Scams

This is an excerpt of a longer piece from Inside Timeshare, published in the UK. 

I find it sad and truthful. I’ve yet to find another industry that continually comes up with ways to scam consumers and more troubling, one that consumers continue to reward this horrible behavior by dropping money and then crying ‘foul.’

When timeshare first started it was a very good concept, the accommodation was superb, far better than what was available through the high street travel agent, but something went very wrong. Greed took over.

Some of the first “scams” were the buying off plan schemes, where all you purchased was a hole in the ground and an architects plan. Many of these were never built with hundreds of people losing thousands of pounds.

The industry itself did little to “police itself”, countries laws where these timeshares were being built were not adequate, allowing many frauds to take place, with the perpetrators getting away with millions.

After the “off plan” scams, the industry through how the product was sold was instrumental in the next phase, the resale scam. As timeshares were being sold as “property” which would go up in value, the resale companies capitalised on this. Offering clients the promise of selling their timeshare for more than they actually paid for it, taking thousands to “list” the timeshare for sale and then disappearing.
Now because the laws have been strengthened, especially in Spain, we are seeing bogus claims companies taking thousands for relinquishments and no win no fee claims. 

Just recently Inside Timeshare has been getting enquiries about one of these companies, RSB Legal. Many have paid them to cancel their timeshare and claim the money back, but they are now no longer trading, they have simply vanished, leaving hundreds of clients out of pocket.

These stories show why you must do your due diligence and homework before going to any presentation, or doing business with any company. Check, check then check again, ask the questions, are they for real, how are they going to claim, can they do what they say they can do, how long have they been trading?

Sadly, for consumers, there are far more opportunities to be scammed than ever before. These scammers are relentless and extremely good at what they do, playing on fear of loss and in some cases, pure intimidation. 

It is getting increasingly more difficult to determine who to trust in this space. I don’t know how long the industry and the extended timeshare community can continue to exist before it all comes crashing down. Will it be rebuilt, or is the end in sight?