Timeshares are hot right now and many consumers are taking advantage of them. They are paying a premium for the convenience of having all their vacation plans made and their expenses covered up front. But not everyone is so lucky. Timeshare exit scams are common and consumers should be aware of the dangers in order to protect themselves.
The Federal Trade Commission offers advice about the companies who offer to help consumers get rid of their timeshares. It is recommended that you do your research on any company offering to help you get out of your timeshare, especially if they are asking for payment up front. A good way to prevent timeshare resale scams is to work with an ARDA (American Resort Development Association) member company. ARDA members are required to be licensed, insured and comply with a code of ethics.
A 42-year-old Long Beach man who controlled several telemarketing companies in Orange and Los Angeles counties that scammed dozens of timeshare owners, including elderly victims, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges. Michael McDonagh was a co-owner and leader of Irvine-based Global Transfer Inc., Costa Mesa-based Global Transfer SoCal Inc., Santa Ana-based Nationwide Transfer Inc. and Signal Hill-based Nationwide Exit Specialist Inc. McDonagh and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained more than $3.5 million from the timeshare owners, according to court documents.
The scheming by McDonagh and his co-conspirators started with a bogus service that claimed to be able to legally cancel timeshare contracts. Instead, the defendants induced their victims to follow their advice and stop making payments on their timeshare contracts. This triggered foreclosure and cancellation by Diamond Resorts, according to the court documents. When one of the defendants’ companies received complaints, they would just start another to continue their scheming.
Inflation is the hot topic of conversations around the country. It is affecting everything from food prices to gas and hotel costs. It’s also impacting the timeshare industry as well. According to a new study from Travelocity, the average price of a US hotel room in 2023 will be more than double what it was in 2018.
Despite this increased cost of travel, the American public is still planning on traveling abroad this year. According to the study, 39% of respondents intend on visiting a foreign country. This is the highest percentage ever recorded in the survey.
The number of Americans who intend on buying a timeshare this year has also increased. A recent survey conducted by Timeshare Users Group found that more than half of its respondents plan on purchasing a timeshare this year. The survey’s findings were based on responses from over 2,500 people. It also found that 2 out of 3 buyers who purchased a timeshare last year said they did so because they wanted to have the flexibility and freedom to go wherever they want, whenever they want.