AG Chris Carr Warns Consumers about Timeshare Resale Scam
Friday, May 17th, 2019
Attorney General Chris Carr is advising consumers that his office’s Consumer Protection Division (CPD) has received numerous complaints alleging that a company calling itself “Accelerated Sales & Marketing” is posing as a Georgia-based timeshare reseller in order to trick consumers into paying steep up-front fees for timeshare resales that never happen.
While there was once a legitimate Georgia company called Accelerated Sales & Marketing Services, it was never in the business of timeshare sales. The real Accelerated Sales & Marketing has since been merged into its parent company and no longer exists. The scammers have apparently hijacked the former business’ identity in the hopes that consumers who try to research the business will be more likely to think it is reputable.
The alleged scammers appear to be targeting consumers who own timeshares in Mexico. Consumers who claim to have been victims of these scams say they were contacted by phone or email from someone who represented himself as a real estate broker with Accelerated Sales & Marketing. These so-called “brokers” allegedly tell consumers that they have a buyer interested in purchasing the consumer’s timeshare property for an attractive price. According to complainants, while the timeshare sale is supposedly pending, the alleged scammers contact the consumer, claiming that there are fees, taxes, commissions and/or foreign investment permits connected with the sale that must be paid up-front. Consumers allege that they are then instructed to wire the money to a bank in Mexico with the assurance that their money will be safely held in escrow until the sale of the timeshare is finalized. However, consumers claim that after paying thousands of dollars, the promised timeshare sale never happens, and they are unable to recuperate their money.
To avoid timeshare scams, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division recommends that consumers keep the following tips and warnings in mind:
Any request to wire money in connection with a timeshare resale or rental is a big sign of fraud. Once the money is wired, there is almost no chance of recovering it. Not only that, but if the reseller you are dealing with is located in the United States, there is no legitimate reason for the money to be sent to another country.
Avoid paying money to a reseller up-front. If possible, find a reseller that takes its fee after the timeshare is sold. If you must pay a fee in advance, ask about refunds. Get refund policies and promises in writing.
Be suspicious of any uninvited solicitations or offers to buy or resell your timeshare, particularly those that seem “too good to be true.” If you are considering such an offer, contact your timeshare resort or timeshare developer, who may be aware of a new or ongoing scam and the legitimacy of a particular person or entity. They can also inform you of any significant restrictions on sales, transfers or rentals that you may not be aware of.
Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics; they often indicate a scam.
Ask your resort’s developer, resort manager or owner’s association if they have a newsletter, website or bulletin board where owners can advertise their timeshare for resale.