Last summer, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a few tips that help timeshare owners avoid fraudulent, deeded timeshare donations. At the time, they were forced to address the growing number of deceptive scams that claimed they could help people get out of timeshare contracts while benefiting military veterans.
Once disgruntled timeshare owners are unable to work anything out with the resort, they usually turn to third party services for relief. It’s easier for them to fall for unethical services when they’re desperate and proceeds are said to fund a legitimate cause. From our perspective, it’s not surprising our Military has been used as a ploy.
Aside from impacting consumer’s pockets, the FTC believes deeded timeshare donation scams are harming the reputation of quality veteran charities. Not only do they want to protect fractional owners from misconduct, but uphold the integrity and honor of these organizations.
VOC’s Spin on Avoiding Timeshare Donation Scams.
While there aren’t many charitable operations willing to accept legitimate timeshare donations anymore, there are some ways unhappy buyers can research possibilities. If approached correctly, donating a timeshare can be a win for everyone involved. If you’re simply looking to offload your timeshare contract, we encourage you to read our previous blog on the subject. Nonetheless, here are some additional tips that will help you find an eager recipient by avoiding timeshare exit fraud.
1. Before you proceed with deeded timeshare donations, it’s important that you confirm the legitimacy of the charity or cause. The easiest way to do this is online. Research the organization’s reports, ratings and customer reviews before even contacting them. The FTC lists the Charity Navigator, Guide Star, Charity Watch and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance as references.
2. Illegal branding is one of the most common tactics that timeshare relief scams use to defraud fractional owners. Again, before reaching out, make sure the service hasn’t stolen the identity of a reputable business. Email graphics, letterheads and social media content can seem legitimate at first glance. Aside from duplicate branding, don’t assume donation services are valid just because they incorporate the terms “veterans” or “military” in their name.
3. Take the time to make sure the charity and any of its stakeholders aren’t connected to any previous scams. Those responsible for defrauding fractional owners tend to bounce around as co-conspirators with different schemes. Phony charities tend to have phony aliases that own a multitude of complaints. If you can connect the dots and identify scam artists then it can save you a lot of frustration and money.
4. Last but not least, if you’re brave enough to make an online timeshare donation then it’s important to know where it’s going and who’s receiving it. Most timeshare scams are geared towards collecting money without relieving buyers of their obligations. If representatives aren’t able to explain things to you, think twice. When there isn’t a paper trail, then you have to assume the end result will not work out in your favor.
Vacation Ownership Donations Can Be Risky.
The FTC has been on a mission to put an end to timeshare donation scams over the years. Help the Vets, Inc. was shut down after becoming a major player as they collected over $20 million dollars from victims between 2013 and 2017. Travis Deloy Peterson was also charged for his attempt to target innocent timeshare owners with a military ploy.
No matter how many scams regarding deeded timeshare donations are eliminated, there will always be con artists looking for a piece of the timeshare industry pie. This is why consumers need to take additional steps to prevent themselves from becoming a victim.
If you’re tired of struggling to enjoy vacation ownership and you want to find a way out, donating the property might not be the best solution. Learning about your options and finding legitimate timeshare solutions will guide you towards the goal you’re looking to achieve.