A 93 year old man from The United States has told how he was caught out by a timeshare scam which left him thousands out of pocket and still stuck with his Mexican timeshare.
Dan Reed from Missouri told his local paper how he had owned his timeshare in Mexico for almost 20 years and had enjoyed using it for many years. He explained how the resort had been keep in great condition and new amenities were added over the years so he never had any complaints. However, Mr Reed explained that due to a booming drug trade in the area he had become off put by the location and explained how the area went downhill because of it. He said the problem got so bad he no longer wanted to visit the resort.
He became eager to sell his unwanted timeshare and was contacted out of the blue by a company offering to help. Like so many other victims of timeshare fraud, Mr Reed agreed to attend a presentation at a hotel local to him. The presentation lasted for 5 hours, during which Mr Reed was promised everything under the sun to help him get rid of his timeshare. They told him they could sell his timeshare if he agreed to pay $7,000, this fee would be used to sell the timeshare and pay off the resort.
Mr Reed agreed to pay the fee and was utterly convinced by the clever salesperson, however it wasn’t until some time later that he learnt he still owed the timeshare resort maintenance fees and he was in fact still tied to his timeshare contract. When he contacted the company he was fobbed off and ignored so he contacted The Better Business Bureau to complain. The company has since stopped trading and the owner was sentenced to time in prison, but Mr Reed has yet to see any of his $7,000 returned to him.
The individual responsible for this fraudulent scheme has been ordered to pay victims back by a court and Mr Reed has been told that once officials work out who is owed what, he could be eligible for compensation.
Unfortunately, in addition to already suffering financial hardship or distress because of their timeshare, they are then subjected to being scammed over and over by unscrupulous individuals, who know they are desperate to get rid of their unwanted timeshares or holiday memberships. One very important factor to consider here is that if you are cold called by an individual or company, unless you gave them prior consent to call you, they are doing so illegally and if they cannot follow simple rules, like do not cold-call people, they are very unlikely to be acting within the constraints of the law.
If, like many other victims out there, you have found yourself in the situation where you have fallen victim to or handed money over to a company who has promised but failed to do any work for you, then you can make a claim against them for your money back, even if they have gone out of business or been forced to close by the authorities.
Protect yourself from timeshare fraud:
Never respond to cold callers – ask them how they got your information, what the company name is and report them. By cold calling you they are breaking the law and a nuisance to members of the public. If people report these instances, authorities can investigate, and they may be able to prosecute them and stop them from scamming future victims.
Do not pay for services upfront: If a company asks you to pay for any services related to your timeshare upfront, the best thing to do is end the call. No reputable company would ask for money upfront before even looking at the merits of your case and doing any work for you.
Check online first: There are many places you can go to look up a company that you are thinking of working with. Review sites can be a great place to start as they will give you a good overall view of how the company operates. You can also check to see if they are registered with any regulatory bodies as well, like the Financial Conduct Authority or Trading Standards. Doing a little bit of research pays off and lessons the risk of you engaging the services of a scam company.