BBB advises caution if your contacted by a company offering to sell or rent your timeshare and ask for a fee for listing, taxes, document processing or escrow. Companies may claim to have a buyer or renters, imply they are representing foreign investors; or that corporations are interested, most are just offering to advertise your timeshare for sale. Do not confuse the service of an advertising or marketing company with those of a real estate company. In most real estate transactions it is the buyer who puts up a deposit and the real estate company gets its commission from the seller only after the deal closes. Ask if the company's salespeople are licensed to sell real estate or whether they are selling an advertising program. If you're contacted by a marketing service, don't allow the caller to pressure you into making a hurried decision. Before giving a credit card number or sending funds request to see a copy of the company's agreement. Find out where they currently advertise and visit other Internet listings the company may have. Most companies can not tell you whether a timeshare has rented or sold because these are generally "For Sale (or Rent) By Owner advertisements. Fees for timeshare listing services can vary with little guarantee that your unit will be sold or rented.
Under Florida law, these companies are called "Resale Service Providers" and are required to provide a written disclosure of the fees and costs relating to advertising, listing, or sale of a timeshare interest, as well as other disclosures. Consumers also should request a contract in writing prior to providing any payment information.
The Timeshare Resale Accountability Act includes the following provisions:
A timeshare resale advertiser may not misrepresent a pre-existing interest in the owner's timeshare.
A timeshare resale advertiser may not mislead a customer as to the success rate of the advertiser's sales.
A timeshare resale advertiser may not provide brokerage or direct sale services.
A timeshare resale advertiser must honor a cancellation request made within 7 days following a signed agreement.
A timeshare resale advertiser must provide a full refund to a timeshare owner within 20 days of a valid cancellation request.
A timeshare resale advertiser must not collect any payment or engage in any resale advertising activities until the timeshare owner delivers a signed written agreement for the services.
A timeshare resale advertiser must also provide a full disclosure statement printed in bold type, with no smaller than a 12-point font, and printed immediately preceding the space provided for the timeshare owner's signature.
A timeshare advertising agreement must be put in writing.
A company who violates these provisions has committed a violation of the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act with a penalty not to exceed $15,000 per violation.