Travel scams are nothing new. From shiny pop-up ads to fake texts from airlines claiming you just won a trip to short-term property rental scams, crooks will come after your money when you want to get away. As we head into the winter travel season we may start to see these scams heat up like the sun on a beach in Los Cabos!
However, something new has come across the BBB desk. This tricky scam has to do with those people who may have invested in a timeshare vacation plan. BBB was recently contacted by a woman who wanted to get out of her timeshare with Sunset World Resorts & Vacations, a legitimate company that specializes in Mexican vacation timeshares and packages. The problem came about when she was contacted by someone claiming to be from a company that helps consumers recover money from timeshare companies.
The person claimed that with pressure from them, she would be given back roughly 42 thousand dollars. Sounds good right?? Not so fast. You know where this story is going, don’t you? Scamalamadingdong. The 'company' wanted her to send them one thousand dollars to get the ball rolling and that's when she became concerned and called us.
In case you weren’t aware, BBB set up a bureau in Mexico in 2015. We contacted them to find out if, in fact, this company was jumping in to help this B.C. woman. This was their response (pardon the broken English, it's verbatim):
This company SER/AMD y Asociados doesnt exist here in Mexico; and the phone is fake; i called four times and all the times gimme a fake answer!
The address is fake; in Paseo de la Reforma 44 is the office from CANACO (Chamber of Commerce from Mexico City)
The IP from the page is foreing; is not register in Mexico (https://www.whois.com/whois/ser-amd.com)
I wanna make a report; but i see very dificult this person recovery his money.
We are in touch
If you are in a timeshare and wish to sell your assets, BBB offers tips on how to go about doing that in a safe and transparent manner.
Find a Trustworthy Business. Check out bbb.org for reliable timeshare resellers. Look at the business’s complaints and reviews to be sure they are trustworthy.
Make Sure There is a Physical Address. Do not do business with a timeshare reseller that does not provide a street address; a P.O. box is not sufficient. Make sure the business supplies backup contact information. Be sure to confirm the business’s address and where they are licensed to sell real estate with the state licensing board or state’s real estate commission.
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.
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.
Read the Contract Carefully. The contract 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 contract states who is responsible for the sale. Know the estimated value of the timeshare before bringing it to be sold.