Timeshare scams are a dying breed these days, but they are not, sadly, extinct quite yet. The scam of the day, so to speak, is the Timeshare Rescue Scam (sometimes known as a Cancellation Scam).
What kind of timeshare scam is a rescue scam?
The basic gist is this: the timeshare scammer claims to be a genuine rescue company. They will identify and approach timeshare owners who are keen to be rid of their membership/timeshare, and convinces them that they (the scammer) can cancel the contract without the consent of the resort and without consequence. This, of course, is untrue, and when they walk away they leave their victims short of cash, in mounting debt, and often facing legal action!
Why are timeshare rescue companies scams?
There is a mandatory recission period (sometimes called a cooling-off period) which allows consumers to cancel their contract without consequence or fees; it was put in place to allow customers some time out with the saleroom to decide if they have made the right choice. If you are within this cooling period you do not need anyone to cancel your contract for you – rescue companies are not needed; you can do it yourself! If you are out with this period you cannot simply cancel your contract without agreement from the resort.
If anyone claims otherwise be very, very wary! Check out any company that approaches you online and with your state General Attorney’s office.
How do timeshare scams work under the guise of rescue companies?
Like all timeshare scams, Rescue scams run on a mix of charm, deceit, and plausibility on the end of the fraudster, and of course a need or desperation on behalf of the target. In this case the need is to be rid of the timeshare or vacation membership for whatever reason.
The scammer will try to convince their chosen victim that they can cancel this contract without the resort or timeshare providers’ consent. They will generally recommend that you stop paying maintenance fees (a red flag, and a very bad idea!), and they may even provide forged paperwork which states that your contract has been cancelled – when it hasn’t!
The problem is this; if they have indeed forged the paperwork and your contract remains in place your credit score will suffer, debt will mount, and if you default you could potentially face legal action. To add insult to injury, the scammer will walk away with no consequences, and your money!
What’s the solution to rescue companies and timeshare scams?
If you want to protect yourself from rescue scammers there are a few things you should do;
- Remember that your contract cannot be cancelled without the agreement of the resort!
- Check for complaints regarding any company that approaches you!
- If you wish to cancel your contract or fear you cannot pay for your timeshare upkeep talk to your provider for solutions first!
- If you receive paperwork which states that your contract has been cancelled, double check it with your resort before you cancel any regular payments.
- Never pay a fee before you have confirmation that your contract has been fully and properly cancelled!
Got any more questions about rescue companies and timeshare scams? Let me know with a comment.