Unfortunately, the timeshare industry is full of scams that prey on desperate vacation owners looking to escape their perpetual purchase. While negotiations with the timeshare company can be quite the struggle, many owners don’t realize how bad it can get once they venture into the realm of 3rd party relief. But you can’t blame them for seeking outside help. Over time, users become tired of the broken promises and disadvantageous upgrades or points programs. Although they’re told to avoid external solutions due to misconduct, it’s easy for them to lose faith in the legitimacy of the timeshare’s in-house advice. In turn, judgement can be clouded when it comes to recognizing fraudulent timeshare exit companies or scams.
Trusting the misleading messages of 3rd party programs is more common when consumer regret brews with desperation. A majority of resale and cancellation services know this and use it to their advantage. Targeting unhappy buyers with an empathetic pitch allows them to persuade some to pay a lot of money towards bogus offers. This causes misfortune to repeatedly rear its ugly head and timeshare owners continue to end up right back where they started.
If you follow our blog, you’ll come to realize most of our content is geared towards helping fractional owners avoid regret by making logical decisions. We’ve kind of taken it upon ourselves to expand on the deceit within the industry. Hopefully, overwhelming the market with educational material helps more people find the relief they deserve. With that being said, let’s look at some ways you can identify fraudulent timeshare exit companies and other relief scams.
Understand How Fraudulent Timeshare Relief Programs Operate.
Before uncovering timeshare scams, you have to understand how fraudulent operations go about their business. The fact of the matter is, no one sees a scam coming. If they did, then they wouldn’t have been scammed. Realize that these conglomerates operate in an uncommon way. Unless you’re a criminal, it’s very difficult to identify manipulation.
The average consumer doesn’t want to assume the worst. We’d like to think scams are slowly deteriorating; but the crack down only causes fraudulent activity to become more complex. Therefore, you have to try to get inside the mind of a criminal and understand the psychological tactics they’re taking towards persuasion. While services may seem legit at first glance, there’s always a chance there’s more than what meets the eye.
Online Cancellation Companies May be a Mirage.
Proficient scams know how to make themselves appear reputable. Regarding timeshare relief programs, looking beneath the surface of the sales pitch is essential. Before you even listen to the offer, the validity of the company needs to be confirmed. There are a number of ways scam artists manipulate storefronts, especially online. Many people don’t realize fraudulent timeshare exit companies and co-conspirators can operate from anywhere in the country when they have a digital presence. Since many of us Google everything, all they need to do is establish some form of credibility.
The easiest way they appear real is by stealing another company’s online identity. Fraudulent operations do this by claiming to represent a business (commonly a lesser known LLC) and building a phony website around their branding. All they need to do is link to credible review platforms to come across as credible (more about this below). Using an actual business also allows them to appear as though they’ve been in business for quite some time. While this may seem like it would be easy to figure out, you’d be surprised.
Even when another company’s identity isn’t being used, it’s just as easy for predatory agencies to create a fake business. Their approach really depends on how much capital they have for “start up costs.” Some scams even go as far as quickly changing their name and services in order to retarget victims once the initial plan runs its course.
How Phony Timeshare Exit Companies Further Mislead Consumers.
In today’s digital world, nearly any piece of information can be manipulated. Practically every scam involves some sort of documentation that isn’t real. Several of our clients have been persuaded by cohesive letterheads and email signatures alone. Most of them didn’t even consider how easily that type of stuff can be created. Assuming a company is real because their logo is the same on invoices and paperwork is very risky. This is one of the psychological tactics that fraudulent timeshare exit companies use. Some fractional owners subconsciously believe they can trust the scam because of consistent branding and a physical address.
But physical appearance isn’t always enough. In order to get people to fall deeper into their pit, scam artists make sure they leave no room for skepticism. Phone calls from area codes where the business claims to be located makes things even more believable. Some scams even go as far as creating customer service hotlines with re-routed phone numbers. People value being able to speak to someone with a name and title. Subtle tactics like, “Hello my name is Jan and I’m the customer service manager at X,” really carries weight to most consumers. Some scammers study the weather in certain locations just to prepare for skepticism.
Fraudulent timeshare exit companies also rely on influence to deceive their victims. Thoughtful scams will spend thousands of dollars for phony publications or paid promotions to make themselves seem real. One article or recommendation from a credible source (even if they’re tricked themselves) can also carry a lot of credibility. But review platforms are where they really do the most damage. Someone on the fence can be easily persuaded by a handful of “satisfied” customers.
Phony Review Services.
Even though stealing another business’s 5 star rating is easier, some would rather take the “safer” route. There are other ways to misrepresent the customer experience. Believe it or not, marketing services geared towards unethical review generation do exist. Pools of online profiles are ready and willing to leave fake 5 star reviews in exchange for money! There isn’t really a known platform that regulates insight effectively. Yelp claims to disallow phony feedback – but in reality, they don’t. Ironically, fake profiles with thousands of reviews are deemed credible there. You’d be surprised to learn how the Better Business Bureau goes about hiding consumer complaints. Even TrustPilot gives their users an opportunity to alter reviews. While this may be disheartening to say the least, we created a checklist with some great ways to identify this type of misconduct.
Be Prepared For Cunning Responses and Question Everything.
No matter what concerns or drawbacks you have, fraudulent operations will always know how to keep you engaged. They’ve practiced and prepared for your push back. Once they’ve got your attention, there’s normally a script they follow to gain your trust. Presenting you with the above information is their effort to establish credibility with you – whether it’s real or not. When it comes to getting out of a timeshare, you have to be critical. You need to assume the worst and take some time before pursuing relief. Any company that aggressively rushes your decision doesn’t really have your best interest at heart.
Listen, it’s not the first rodeo for many of these criminals. For the most part, they’re very intelligent people. Instead of working hard for their money, they’d rather steal. It doesn’t mean they’re stupid, it just means they’re selfish and greedy. These types of people will do anything to make pay. Like we said before, the surface can be very deceiving. Understanding their capabilities and how they go about conning you will help you avoid what can be a devastating transaction – or set of transactions moving forward.
Since 2014, our company has provided 100% success rates and satisfied every customer along the way. You can view our checklist for avoiding fraudulent timeshare exit companies or proceed with our qualification form below.