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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Timeshare Sales Scam

Updated: Friday, January 30 2015, 09:31 AM EST
CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- A woman wanted out of her time share deal but she found herself out of a lot of money as well.

Timeshare ownership continues to be big business.  But, if you are thinking about selling a timeshare, be on the lookout for scam artists.  They'll try to convince you to sell through them.  But beware; you could end up on the losing end of the deal.

Esther Bilicki is a fraud victim.  She said, "The best thing to do is if you hear timeshare, run the other way."

Esther is speaking from experience.  She lost more than 15,000 dollars in a timeshare scam.

"They wanted to help us sell the timeshare so we didn't have to worry about anything. They would take care of everything."

The company was named National Timeshare Resales.

Derick Thieme, a US Postal Inspector, said, "They made a lot of misrepresentations in convincing the people they would get their time share sold for them.  They would just need to pay upfront fee ranging from $500 to $2500."

The company lured people in by claiming they already had a seller on the line.

"Convince them they had a buyer for their timeshare and this was an imminent sale type deal and they could help them get rid of the timeshare so they wouldn’t be responsible for the fees and maintenance costs."

Esther admits the tactic worked on her, "We just needed to get rid of it; we just wanted it out of our way."

But no sale was ever made.

"I learned everyone is not as honest as what you think they should be."

Esther was one of many victims.  Postal inspectors say there were more than 1,400 in one case alone and 2 million dollars in losses.

Thieme continues, "They were desperate, maybe more trusting people and more susceptible to these high pressure sales tactics and it was real disturbing to see these vulnerable people being taken advantage of by these groups."

Esther's advice is, "Don't do it – don't send any money just wait for them to sell it and then they can take the money out of that."

Yes, just as you do when selling your home, don't pay anyone any money upfront.  Only pay after you receive your money.

Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Timeshare Sales Scam

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