CHARLESTON – Responding to an uptick in consumer complaints against several companies, West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw is warning the state’s consumers to beware of bogus timeshare sale scams.
Timeshare-owning consumers have filed complaints with Attorney General McGraw’s office indicating that these companies have called them promising to sell their timeshare and charging $1,200 up to $2,500 in advance fees for this service.
Typically, the scammers send a legitimate-looking contract to be signed and faxed or e-mailed back. Many times the contract and transaction are executed through an online website. The companies fraudulently claim the fees are for advertising, closing, inspection, and transaction costs and require an immediate payment through a credit card or debit card transaction.
"Do not agree to pay an advance fee in order to sell your timeshare," Attorney General McGraw warned. "Legitimate timeshare sellers do not require an up-front fee."
The Attorney General reminds West Virginia consumers that timeshare sellers are required to register with the West Virginia Securities Commission of the State Auditor’s Office. Before agreeing to buy or sell a timeshare, consumers should contact the Auditor’s Office at 1-888-368-9507.
Using stall tactics and deceptive terminology in their contracts, the scammers have been successful in preventing consumers from obtaining refunds through their credit card banks. "Federal law provides consumers a remedy for obtaining refunds for fraudulent credit card transactions," McGraw said. "However, consumers must be diligent in disputing the charge with their credit card company within 60 days, and they must do so in writing."
To report a scam or file a complaint, West Virginians can reach the Attorney General’s Office online at www.wvago.gov or by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-368-8808. For regular consumer news updates and tips, follow "AGWestV" on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.