Timeshare Scams Increase Using Fake Colorado Addresses

August 18, 2014

Con artists pretend to operate in Colorado and dupe timeshare owners

DENVER – The Better Business Bureau of Denver/Boulder is noticing a concerning trend in which con artists who pretend to represent timeshare businesses located in Colorado, dupe timeshare owners out of thousands of dollars.

“Whether you are buying or selling your timeshare, work with a BBB Accredited company you can trust and beware of fraudulent timeshare resale practices,” said Su Hawk, president and CEO for the BBB of Denver/Boulder.

According to complaints and information given to the BBB, timeshare entities falsely advertise Colorado addresses and tell timeshare owners they have someone who is willing to buy their timeshare, but they must pay a fee to the company to process the transaction. Once the fee is paid, usually via wire transfer, nothing happens and the timeshare owner cannot reach the company.

The majority of timeshare owners targeted in these scams own property in Mexico. Most complainants claim to have lost approximately $3,000, and in other cases, amounts range from $40,000 to $70,000.

The BBB knows of at least 33 timeshare resale entities that falsely advertise Colorado addresses, and 12 of those have come to the BBB’s attention or have had activity in the last year. A total of 84 complaints have been filed with the BBB of Denver/Boulder against the timeshare industry in the last three years.

Timeshare owners are advised the following tips from the BBB if they want to sell their timeshare:

  • Find BBB Accredited real estate firms at findacompany.org
  • Find out if the company charges a commission. Do they handle the entire closing and provide escrow services? Do they charge an up-front listing or advertising fee? What does it cover and is it refundable?
  • Be wary of companies charging an advance “appraisal” fee for services. Consider opting for a company that offers to sell for a fee only after the timeshare is sold.
  • Do not wire transfer fees.
  • Contact the BBB, Colorado Attorney General's office, and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the company is located to find out if complaints have been lodged against the company and for further advice.

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About the BBB

The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews, BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, there are 112 local, independent BBBs across the U.S. and Canada. Please visit denver.bbb.org for more information.