ATLANTA — Your time share may have sounded like a great vacation solution at the time you bought it, but some consumers are finding that the monthly maintenance fees and associated costs they’re paying are not worth the time they spend there.
Some are turning to services that promise to relieve them of their time share and their obligations for a fee. The Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs is advising consumers to use extreme caution when confronted with offers such as these.
The agency has received a number of complaints from consumers alleging that they have paid substantial sums of money and signed over their deeds to resellers, only to find that the maintenance fees were not paid, the deed was never filed, and they are now being sued for past due maintenance fees.
The Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs offers the following tips for consumers seeking to resell their timeshare:
• Ask your resort’s developer, resort manager or owner’s association if they have a newsletter, Web site or bulletin board where owners can advertise their timeshare for resale.
• If doing business with a reseller, shop around and compare prices and services before deciding who gets your business.
• Avoid paying money to a reseller upfront. 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 wary of high-pressure sales tactics; they often indicate a scam.
• Ask if the reseller’s agents are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. If so, verify it with the Real Estate Commission. Deal only with licensed real estate brokers and agents, and ask for references from satisfied clients.
• Read the contract thoroughly and make sure you understand everything before you sign.
• Contact the Better Business Bureau to check the company’s reputation. Ask if any complaints are on file.
• If you sell your deed, let the resort know who now owns your timeshare and who to bill for the maintenance fees and taxes.
• Check public records to verify that the deed has been filed in the new owner’s name.
If you believe you have been the victim of a timeshare scam, contact the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs at 404-651-8600 or 800-869-1123.