What We're Reading - 'Was This Timeshare a Scam? No, but the Follow-up Sure Seems Like One'

Many timeshare owners are perfectly happy with their commitment to vacation ownership. Many others are eager to find some way out of their obligation.

This week, a funny and well-written piece reminded us that both of these groups can easily become the target of scammers, looking to make a quick buck on the back of innocent timeshare owners.

The essay that piqued our interest came to us by way of a blog post from Chicago Now. Written by Chicagoland doctor and downsizing guru Les Raff, the blog details one consumer’s experience with timeshare ownership – and does a great job of walking readers through the steps that may come when a scammer tries to profit off of a timeshare owner, particularly one who may be dissatisfied by their timeshare obligation.

Let’s start from the beginning! Raff first details how he and his wife found themselves becoming timeshare owners. Despite finding the sales process “sleazy,” Raff writes that he does not consider his timeshare purchase “a scam – just a mistake,” and notes that his family has “even returned to the facility for a very nice week with friends.”

So, what’s the issue? Well, the consternation all started when Raff reached out to his resort’s booking office, looking to “arrange a family gathering” for the future.

Very shortly after making contact with his resort, Raff writes, he “received a phone call on a very bad, echoey, phone line,” which went something like:

"Mr. Raff, I am Donald Jones. I represent a developer that is working with the owners of The Beautiful Beach Resort. BBR is in the process of converting from timeshare to condominiums. We would like to purchase your timeshare, and we guarantee you 125% of your purchase price. But this offer is only good for the owners of another 4% of the outstanding timeshare units, so you will need to act fast!"

And while Raff acknowledges that he may have some degree of “buyer’s remorse” for his timeshare purchase, he is also savvy enough to realize that “a 25% bonus” on what he paid “sounded too good to be true.”

What came next? After reaching out to his resort (which denied having any plans to convert into condominiums) and doing his due diligence on the web, Raff decided against doing any business with this cold caller, fairly certain that the offer was “a scam.”

As he puts it:

“Following some Google digging, I presume that if I agree to Mr. Jones's terms, I will be told I need to send a check, or more likely wire some cash, to pay for ‘fees’ before he mails me my check.  And when will I get that check? The year the Cubs and Sox both win the pennant…? I think we will pass on this opportunity of a lifetime. One bad timeshare decision is enough for us!”

In all, Mr. Raff’s blog is a welcome reminder of the tactics that scammers might use to prey on unsuspecting timeshare victims. His perspective is frank and forthright, and it’s well worth reading more of his insights via the full post, which is available here.

Looking for more perspectives, insight, and stories on the threat of timeshare scams? We encourage you to peruse some of the resources available in our News Room and Learning Center.

Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 45 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don't hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns.

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Finn Law Group maintains this website exclusively for informational purposes. It is not legal or other professional advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Finn Law Group or its clients. Please carefully review our full disclaimer (link) before proceeding. Review our privacy policy (link) here.