Please read the letter below from Condo Express, Inc. Timeshare Property Specialists and members of the Timeshare Reseller Network.
Condo Express, Inc., like other timeshare resale brokerage companies with well-known brand names, is the victim of timeshare resale services look-a-like copying by unlicensed third parties. Many companies, mostly websites, try to look like they can sell timeshare properties as well as Condo Express when the reality is that only a licensed representative can sell a complicated product like a timeshare for an owner. Our licensed representatives that are timeshare specialists bring together the parties, handle contracting, complete all the details through escrow, funding and ultimately getting the new timeshare buyer's name transferred at the resort. The Stroman brand name is also often used without permission in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on several websites unrelated to Condo Express, Inc. or its affiliated companies.
These websites, which in some cases look functionally identical to a site operated by a licensed timeshare resale broker, are generally of poor quality and performance. The websites' advertising services are often offered at low prices, and are presented to consumers as bargains. But in reality, timeshare resale services by unlicensed parties are far from being a bargain to a reselling consumer.
The lack of a business address and contact information could be the first sign that the business found on the Internet or through a mailing may not be legitimate or effective. An "800" number is not necessary but a phone number answered by a live person is imperative.
Although there are various sorts of timeshare resale services, we would like to bring to your attention to the existence of "take the week", "title transfer" or "post card companies". They have only one purpose--to get you to deed your valuable time share property to them so they can resell it at a profit. They normally have a meeting in your area at a hotel or other meeting facility. They bring several owners into a room together but sometimes they will meet you individually in your home or business. These "take the week companies" normally convince the victim owner(s) that their timeshare is (a) worthless and has no value or appreciation whatsoever; (b) will continue to have unnecessary assessments and high maintenance fees; and (c) should be discarded into their control. However, in most cases those services are of inferior quality. The timeshare resale is then mainly offered for sale through internet auction sites at prices well below average timeshare resale pricing so it can be "liquidated." Most charge a fee from $400-$3000 upfront before the title is transferred.
The problem comes when they never transfer the timeshare property from the victim owner(s) name. The maintenance fee that was promised to cease still comes in and the owner must pay it or creditors and bad ratings follow. If the company disappears or cannot be reached on the phone the timeshare owner falls right back where he or she started, needing to resell.
Sometimes the property is deeded to an "Offshore Corporation" and it never makes any maintenance or other fee payments to the resort -- thereby placing a larger burden on the remaining timeshare owners for the resort's expenses.
There are now thousands of websites that offer to sell timeshares that only do advertising. This is now the largest element in the timeshare resale industry. Technically, they never sell anything but an ad to the timeshare owner wanting to sell a timeshare. The owner must deal with the buyer, provide negotiating skills, contracts and figure out how to close the sale and get the proceeds. Most of these sites attract very small numbers of buyers. It is mainly timeshare sellers that fall victim to the possibility of the sale. Some do a good job of providing leads to the advertising owners and do offer forms to use in the sale; however, they would be stepping over the licensing boundary if they give you advice about how to fill them out or assist with the negotiation.
Only a professional real estate representative can handle the complexity in all the details to complete a timeshare resale transaction which differs greatly from that offered by an unlicensed entity. This is the current situation in the USA. It would be hard to get genuine Stroman timeshare resale services from a website alone regardless of the country where the reseller operates. The use of look-a-like services can frustrate buyers and sellers to the timeshare resale process and can cause loss of time and money that could have been saved. If you use an alternative reseller because you want to save money, you may find that there is no savings in time or money because many of these companies prey on unsuspecting owners wanting to sell. Further, if a buyer visits one of these sites to purchase a timeshare and finds that the site does not have the proper infrastructure to get the sale done, the buyer can become so frustrated that they end up not buying at all.
Sometimes owners get a phone call or a letter from someone claiming to have a buyer for their property. All they need is a sizeable payment to cover closing costs - and they pressure you to pay immediately before the buyer gets away. Frequently these companies make a bundle, quickly close up their shops and move their business to another state or country to avoid prosecution. If they are not licensed, they very likely may not be legitimate. Brokers and representatives generally get the sale commission at the finalization of sale closing and the funding of the proceeds to the owner. If you get such a call, report them to the regulatory authorities in your state or country. Need I say more?
Service offerings for resales are often copied very convincingly and/or the fraud is often difficult to detect visually. If you suspect the company is unlicensed and providing real estate services of negotiation or contracting, get all the information and report them to the regulatory authorities. If you suspect they are not legitimately in the business of finding buyers for timeshare properties, report them to the regulatory authorities. If you get a call from someone who wants to sit down with you and give you information about your resort, call your resort and your exchange company to find out if there is something going on that you need to know about before you go to or attend a presentation. Even if they say they are with the resort where you own, call your resort at the numbers on your paperwork to confirm any legitimate offering.