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Wed, Jul 17 2024, 22:47:39Login ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 12345678[9]10 ]
Subject: Caveat Emptor - BBB

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Date Posted: Sat, Apr 23 2005, 10:32:12

Better Business Bureau: Timeshare scams can bilk the unsuspecting; Don't let price be the deciding factor in this investment
Bob Manista
Midland Reporter Telegram

Q: I've been offered a great deal on a vacation property. You share space at a resort with other families, so nobody actually "owns" the property, but nobody pays the full price for it, either. It's supposed to make a great vacation spot affordable at a cheap price. Good deal?

Timeshare opportunities are one option that many vacationers find enticing. So do scam artists. If you're thinking about buying or leasing a timeshare, do your homework and avoid buying by price alone. A timeshare is a major investment. By doing thorough research, consulting reliable sources, asking the tough questions, and getting all details in writing, you can improve your chances for a vacation that lives up to your expectations.

Q: I checked around and the price on this timeshare is half what others offer on similar properties. Why shouldn't I jump on it before someone else does?

Be wary of "great deals" and low-priced offers. How many legitimate businesses can survive by substantially undercutting the prices of their competitors? And don't fall for the pressure game of "there are only three lots left at this price." Legitimate businesses do not demand that you make a snap decision. They welcome your questions and will encourage you to consult with experts and other reliable sources. Do not sign anything you do not understand. If you have any doubts about the trustworthiness of a company, trust your instincts. It is less risky to turn down the offer and say "no."

Q: Some of the language used in the timeshare contract is pretty confusing. What are the typical plans?

Understand what type of timeshare you are being offered before you sign the agreement. Is yours a fixed-unit, fixed-week agreement, a right-to-use plan or a vacation club or points-based program? Are you agreeing to fixed time or floating time? Find out exactly what the price covers and what it does not. That includes maintenance fees, which are sometimes as much as the monthly payment on your membership. Make sure the written information reflects what you were told verbally by the salesperson. Are they the terms you agreed to? You might want to have a lawyer experienced in timeshare properties examine the agreement so that you know exactly what you are getting and how it will benefit you.

Q: The wife and I have always dreamed of living in Florida, and this package not only includes a great property at a cheap price, but access to all the parks. What's the catch?

See for yourself. If at all possible, visit the resort or timeshare community before you sign a deal. If this is not possible, consult reliable sources that are familiar with the area and the development. Many timeshares offer access to amusement or theme parks or well-known restaurants. Call the businesses or places listed to confirm their participation.

Q: We're pretty well settled on the deal on a timeshare property. The salesman wants us to give him our bank account number so they can debit our account for our monthly payments, then they'll send the deed and other materials by overnight mail or messenger. Is that standard for the industry?

You should never give your credit card number or bank account information over the phone unless you know the person with whom you are dealing and have verified the legitimacy of the business they represent. Some "scam artists" may ask you to send them money immediately, before you have the chance to seriously consider the offer. If you pay with cash or check, as opposed to using a credit card, you lose your right to dispute any potential fraudulent charges under the Fair Credit Billing Act. Also, distant businesses who insist on using courier services or delivery companies other than the U.S. Postal Service may be trying to evade Postal Inspectors, who can't check the items delivered by private carriers.


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