WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 11, 2012) — Based on communications with numerous timeshare owners, ARDA cautions consumers on a new scam targeting timeshare owners.
It begins with the timeshare owner receiving a phone call inviting them to attend an “industry” update at a local location—often a Perkins restaurant. The person is met by a representative of Vacation Services International (VSI) who tells the timeshare owner that ARDA has enlisted VSI to assist timeshare owners who have complaints with one or more of the industry exchange companies. While the story varies slightly from owner to owner, VSI will usually offer help or provide “a way out” of timeshare ownership for a fee. The sales pitch at one Wisconsin location was made by an individual claiming to be B.J. Cooke.
At the in-person presentation, the following offers have been made to timeshare owners:
- An offer to allow owners to convert their timeshare for “points” that can be converted into exchange opportunities or even cash. The company that would perform this service is Point Rental Liquidators.
- An offer to purchase a timeshare at Sunset Harbor—a timeshare resort located on Lake Conroe in Texas. An offer was also made to purchase a timeshare in the Fisherman’s Cove Resort, which has yet to be built.
Another timeshare owner attended a sales presentation made by Jean Hamilton of HP Consultants. Hamilton claimed that she works with ARDA as a consultant to “help solve the industry-wide overbooking problem.” HP Consultants offered to buy his timeshare and then sell him an $11,995 membership in a club that would give him, his family, and his friends the unlimited use of timeshares forever. Again, ARDA has nothing to do with this company or this salesperson and questions the legitimacy of this offer based on the alleged representations made during the sales presentation.
If you are contacted to attend an “update” of any kind, be warned that you will likely be attending a sales presentation and one that could possibly be a scam. The same is true if a telemarketer (or a request you receive by mail) asks you to attend any type of in-person presentation related to selling, renting, or transferring your timeshare. If you have any doubt, please contact ARDA, your exchange company (e.g. RCI or Interval International), the developer who sold you your timeshare, or the company who manages your resort for help.
ARDA does not endorse, authorize, or work with third parties to solicit timeshare owners. If a company tells you that “ARDA sent them” or “ARDA endorses us” or you see it on a website or billboard, it is not true. ARDA does not possess or have access to any timeshare owner’s name or contact information. Contact us directly by email at [email protected] or call our toll-free number (855) 416-6187 before you do anything with a company or individual who claims to be affiliated with or working on behalf of ARDA. Please visit www.arda-roc.org for more information.