At this point, Resort Escrow Exchange is presented as the company that will provide the escrow services for the transaction. According to consumer reports, Resort Escrow Exchange representatives (commonly “Terry McFarland”) indicate that Resort Escrow Exchange doesn’t have to be licensed to perform escrow services because “it does business internationally.” This statement is incorrect: Washington State law requires that “any person [engaging] in business as an escrow agent by performing escrows or any functions of the escrow agent” must be licensed by the Department. RCW 18.44.021
At this point, the timeshare owner is told that a “title search fee” of approximately $1,000 is due, which Resort Escrow Exchange claims is required by the Mexican government. Following the consumer’s payment of this “fee”, further problems blamed on the “Mexican government” occur, requiring payment of more fees. If the consumer resists, International Event Coordinators offers to pay a portion of the fee “owed” to the “Mexican government,” or indicates that it will be split between the “seller” (the consumer) and the “buying party”, which is usually presented as a large, multi-national corporation. In some instances, consumers report sending many thousands of dollars via international bank wire or credit card draft. One consumer was able to stop an attempted credit card withdrawal for over $30,000 by alerting his credit card company in a timely manner. The money from the consumers is typically sent to a bank in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Some consumers have reported that, once they express concern about the out-of-pocket fees which they are paying, they receive an assurance from Terry McFarland that “no further fees will be charged to this account.” Resort Escrow Exchange and International Event Coordinators also assure the consumer that their final payout is just days away, but may note that the Mexican authorities are waiting for some last administrative hurdle. One consumer received a letter from Resort Escrow Exchange that had been “notarized”; this letter confirmed that the payout would be within 10 days of the “final” wire transfer date. The final payout is not received by the consumer.
At some point, the consumer becomes unable to directly contact International Event Coordinators or Resort Escrow Exchange regarding the disbursement of funds due them under the contract. DFI has received no verified reports of consumers actually receiving a payout from International Event Coordinators or Resort Escrow Exchange.
The Better Business Bureau of Eastern Washington, North Idaho and Montana issued a BBB Alert regarding International Event Coordinators and Resort Escrow Exchange. This alert documents the BBB’s efforts to determine the veracity of any information presented by International Event Coordinators and Resort Escrow Exchange. The BBB reports that neither business is, or ever has been, located at the address is gives as its business address. The BBB alert also discusses the mechanics of this apparent scam in great detail.
The full warning from DFI can be read HERE.
The BBB alert can be read HERE.