BIRMINGHAM, AL, March 16, 2017: BBB Serving Central & South Alabama is issuing an alert for a timeshare scam claiming an address in Mobile, AL. Pinebrook Resorts (pinebrookresorts.wixsite.com/pinebrookresorts) was brought to the attention of BBB by consumers claiming to have been contacted by the business. Consumers report a representative from Pinebrook Resorts contacted them via email with an offer to purchase their timeshare. The Pinebrook representative asked that the consumer provide a fee of a few hundred dollars for “closing costs, etc.”
“We talked to a [Pinebrook Resorts representative] and he wants us to send $175 via western union to Daytona Beach Florida with a receiver [of another Pinebrook Resorts representative]. The money is supposed to pay for City and County transfer taxes $75.52 and title Search fee $99.48,” one consumer reported.
These reports mirror those of complaints filed with BBB against a timeshare purchasing website allegedly located in North Carolina with a nearly identical URL. Pinebrook’s website also features matching text and layouts from other timeshare websites with negative online reviews:
Stone Oak Resorts
A BBB investigator went to the Mobile address listed on the business’ website and confirmed that they are not where they claim to be. The real estate company that manages the Pinebrook Shopping Center Property has confirmed that the business is not there and that they have received inquiries on the business similar to those received by BBB. BBB attempted to contact Pinebrook Resorts via the phone number on the business’ website, but only received an automated message for a Google Voice number that went unanswered.
BBB offers the following tips to avoid a timeshare scam:
Do Not Be Pressured. Do not agree to anything that is presented over the phone. Before agreeing to anything, take your time to think about your decision. Ask the salesperson to send you written information. Do not be pressured by a salesperson that claims your property can be sold immediately.
Look at the Fees. Avoid businesses that ask for an “appraisal” fee or closing costs upfront. Be aware of businesses that give you a large fee and then slightly decrease it to seem like a “good deal”. Search for a business that will allow you to pay for the fees after the timeshare has been sold. Never wire money and be sure to ask what fees will be included in the cost and if they are refundable.
Read the Contract Carefully. The contact should include: what services the broker provides, how much and when the costs should be paid, a length of time to sell the timeshare and the refund and guarantee policy. Make sure the contact states who is responsible for the sale.
Too Good To Be True. Know the estimated value of the timeshare before bringing it to be sold. If the deal the business offers sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.