If you've been the victim of timeshare fraud, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the company who sold you the timeshare.
But at least some of these people will have been the victim of timeshare fraud and could be entitled to leave their contracts without penalty.
If you think that you may need to file a timeshare lawsuit to get results, read on.
How does timeshare fraud happen?
Firms who sell timeshares are well-known for high-pressure and arguably unethical sales tactics.
For example, in the case of 77-year-old Mary Ann Gutierrez, sales agents were so sure they could pressure her into an 'upgrade' on her existing timeshare units that they charged $4,840 to her credit card without her approval, and midway through their sales pitch .
You may have fallen victim to timeshare fraud if you fall into one or more of the following categories. However, this isn't a complete list of the bad practices going on out there.
If you feel that in some way, the sale of your timeshare was misrepresented, you might still be able to file a timeshare lawsuit.
You paid an upfront fee for sales services
Fees charged by legitimate sales companies are normally payable after you've bought or sold a timeshare. If they ask for payment upfront, start asking questions.
The Federal Trade Commission recently filed charges against a timeshare resales firm who had bagged at least $15 million in upfront fees from consumers.
The firm, Pro Timeshare Resales, falsely claimed that they had a buyer or renter ready and willing to go to lure customers in.
In reality, they were extracting up to $2,500 in fees from each customer, and not following through on their promises.
Don't fall for this trap. Be even more cautious if the company asks you to pay by wire or money order. It's very difficult to trace these payment methods, meaning that you might never get your money back.
You weren't able to review the contract
You have the right to review any timeshare contract that you're asked to sign. That includes taking it to an attorney for professional advice on what to do.
If a company has pressured you into buying a timeshare without allowing you to leave the room, or giving you a reasonable chance to chance to review the contract, it may have been mis-sold.
You weren't told about a 'cooling-off' period
Most states have laws which allow customers to change their mind about a timeshare purchase for a short time.
This is called a 'cooling-off' period, though you might also hear it called a 'timeshare rescission'.
The time limit for this varies from state to state, from 3 days in Ohio to 15 in Alaska .
If you tried to cancel within the cooling-off period and were refused your refund, or if the company who sold the timeshare didn't tell you about your right to do this, you may have grounds for a successful timeshare lawsuit.
How do I know if a company is legitimate?
It can sometimes be hard to tell who you're dealing with, especially if you're talking to a company via email or telephone.
But there are ways to tell if a company is likely legitimate, or a lawsuit waiting to happen. If you're thinking about buying a timeshare, do your research before jumping in.
If you're already an owner and red flags are flashing up as you read this section, it may be time to consider talking to an attorney about a timeshare lawsuit.
Do a background check on the sales company
If you're looking to buy, or have already bought, a timeshare that you think might be dodgy, do some digging on the sales firm.
Search for their details at the Better Business Bureau to see if any there are any obvious red flags.
Look for online reviews of the company to see if other consumers have publicly complained about their services.
If anything seems suspicious, back away if you're a buyer. Or contact us today for legal advice if you're an owner who smells a rat.
If they cold called you
Unsolicited calls are a big tip-off that something isn't right. Responsible firms are unlikely to just call you out of the blue.
We recommend that you just hang up. But if you purchased a timeshare following a cold call, you could be due compensation.
Remember to never give out your bank details or social security number to a stranger. They may not only be after your money but your identity too.
They make unrealistic promises
As with everything in life, if an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Steer clear of anything that sounds impossibly good.
I think I'm a victim of timeshare fraud
Stay calm. We know that it's a stressful situation, but in some cases, genuine misunderstandings do happen, even with the best intentions.
Gather all the documents that you can, including any emails that the sales agent might have sent you.
Then, contact the company in writing. Calmly explain why you think there's been a mistake, and ask them to put the problem right.
If you receive further letters or emails from them, make sure to keep hold of those too.
These could be used as evidence in a future lawsuit if it comes to that.
I'm still unsure if I could file a timeshare lawsuit
If you've had a terrible time with a timeshare, and don't know whether you might be able to bring a timeshare lawsuit against a sales company, we're here to help.
If misleading tactics were used to close the sale – which could cover many things in high-pressure timeshares sales environments – you could be able to file a successful case against the sales firm.