Seattle, WA, November 28, 2009 – Washington State’s Better Business Bureau has issued a warning to consumers advising caution if dealing with a company named International Timeshare Consolidators. The BBB has received multiple complaints about ITC; recent reports indicate that the company has a pattern of leaving timeshare sellers high and dry.
BBB officials said they’ve received 156 inquiries about the company since September, 2009, including five “serious pending complaints.”
The company’s Web site indicates that it specializes in Mexican timeshare, and is full of cagey information, such as that they’ve been in business for 16 years (there is no evidence I can find to verify that claim) and that they don’t charge upfront fees (yes, they do; they just call the fees by other names).
ITC contacts timeshare owners by phone offering to assist in the sale of their property, and if interested, the agent or broker collects information to create an appraisal and then makes a bid to purchase the timeshare— usually for an overly-desirable amount. Soon, the company calls back claiming that the transaction cannot be completed because the consumer now owes fees for transferring the title, opening an escrow account or taxes on Mexican administrative fees. After submitting payments, some owners find that their timeshare did not sell or never receive the promised paperwork. Complainants also allege that ITC will not return phone calls or refund money.
ITC advertises the address 601 Union St., Seattle, Wash. —a building which occupies hundreds of leased offices— yet fails to provide a suite number, as demonstrated on its Web site. BBB’s investigation yields that ITC does not have an office at this location. Due to the company’s absence, building security has witnessed visits from bewildered customers and heaps of undeliverable mail during the last 3 months.
For those who are considering reselling a timeshare and are approached by a company offering to help, BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington recommends the following:
- Do not agree to anything over the phone until verifying that the company is legitimate. Search online, check their Web site, and research the company’s BBB Reliability Report at www.bbb.org.
- Find out where the company is located and where it does business. Check for business licensing in those states. Ask if the company’s agents or sales personnel are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. Confirm this information with the appropriate state licensing board.
- Collect references, including addresses and phone numbers, then contact them.
- Before agreeing to do business, ask the person to send you written materials.
- Inquire about the company’s fees and commission charges. Do they charge up-front listing, advertising or processing fees? Find out if they handle the entire closing process and provide escrow services; if not, inquire about any other companies that may be involved in the transaction. Get the answers in writing.
- Beware of companies charging up-front or advanced fees. Most legitimate companies only charge reasonable, pre-disclosed fees after the timeshare is sold.
- Consider alternate resale options: try selling your timeshare yourself, placing an ad in a newspaper or magazine, or contacting a real estate agent familiar with the area.
Victimized consumers are encouraged to file a complaint with BBB and the state Attorney General’s Office.