Fraud Friday: Timeshare & Vacation Club Scams

Apr 26, 2024 | Featured, General News

Many of us know of someone with a timeshare–they can seem pretty appealing, especially compared to the rollercoaster of Iowa’s seasonal weather. If you’re thinking of diving into the world of timeshares and vacation clubs, make sure you have these details top of mind in order to steer clear of any potential scams. At Guthrie County State Bank, we’ve got your back, so let’s break it down together.

Sales presentations for timeshares and vacation clubs can be enticing, often luring you in with promises of free vacations or exclusive deals. When presented with these offers, remember these pointers:

Do your research. Always do your homework on the company before agreeing to anything. Check online for any red flags or customer complaints.
Take it slow. Scammers hate taking things slowly–if you’re being rushed into making a decision, that should sound the alarms. Don’t feel pressured to make a decision on the spot.
Ask questions. Follow up with important questions, especially regarding the company’s cancellation policies, and carefully review all the paperwork before signing anything.
Get the whole picture. Make sure you fully understand the terms of the agreement, including any hidden fees or restrictions.

Before you commit:
Timeshares come in various forms, from fixed-week agreements to points-based systems. Understand the differences and consider factors like maintenance fees and usage rights. Likewise, vacation clubs may offer perks like discounts on travel, but be clear on what you’re getting before enrolling. Remember to also think about all of the fees and costs that go into a timeshare.

Getting rid of a timeshare:
Maybe you’re in a different situation with timeshares and are ready to sell. Selling a timeshare can be a tricky business, with many resell scammers promising quick sales or inflated returns. Before you pay anyone for help, contact the timeshare developer or the resort’s management company and ask about your options. The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) has a tool to help you identify the company that you need to contact, along with other resources.

When in doubt, reach out:
If you think you’ve encountered any scams or suspicious practices, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Guthrie County State Bank. We’re here to help you navigate the murky waters and ensure your financial well-being in the world of timeshares and everywhere else.

You can also report timeshare resale scams or other scams related to timeshares and vacation clubs to:
● the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov
● the state attorney general in the state where the timeshare is located
● the Better Business Bureau (BBB)