Timeshare owners across the country allege losing thousands of dollars to a Phoenix-based company that claims to have buyers ready to purchase their timeshares.
Consumers have reported to Better Business Bureau Serving Central, Northern and Western Arizona (BBB) that Phoenix-based company, Great West Funding, Inc. (GWF), contacts timeshare owners allegedly claiming they have buyers ready to purchase the owners’ timeshares. Consumers allege that GWF representatives assert the company will arrange for the sale of the property, but that an upfront fee, usually $2,175, is required to begin the process. Consumers allege that after they sent the money to GWF, sales were not completed as promised. Some consumers maintain that GWF representatives again contacted them, claiming that the timeshare sale will not be completed unless they send additional funds.
“Timeshare owners should be wary of unsolicited callers claiming they have a buyer for their timeshare,” said Matthew Fehling, BBB President/CEO. “Dishonest timeshare resellers are taking advantage of the situation by misleading timeshare owners into paying thousands of dollars in the hopes of unloading their timeshares quickly.”
Since January 2012, BBB has received 2,201 inquiries on Great West Funding, Inc., and closed 39 complaints against the company, which has an “F” rating. BBB has experienced difficulty in contacting the company. Since April 2012, the US postal service has returned mail sent to GWF at the address the company provided. BBB has learned that the business office on 1 East Washington, Suite 500 in Phoenix has been vacated and no forwarding contact information is available. The telephone numbers provided to BBB by the company have been disconnected since mid-April 2012.
In February 2012, Better Business Bureau confirmed that neither Great West Funding, Inc. nor its principal have obtained a real estate broker’s license from the Arizona Department of Real Estate and that such license is required in the State of Arizona for businesses offering to assist or direct the negotiation of any transaction intended to result in the sale of timeshare interests.
BBB offers the following tips for those who seek assistance in selling a timeshare:
● Be cautious of unsolicited calls. When a company calls and claims they have a buyer for your timeshare, don’t agree to anything over the phone or provide your credit or debit card information until you have researched the company and the offer.
● Use a business you can trust. Research the timeshare resellers by obtaining their BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org.
● Confirm licensing requirements. Some timeshare resellers will use fake addresses or PO boxes in order to mislead consumers. Confirm where the company is located and in what state it does business. Ask if the company's salespeople are licensed to sell real estate where the company and the timeshare are located. Verify this with the appropriate real estate licensing boards.
To verify licensing requirements for timeshare resellers locally, visit the Arizona Department of Real Estate at www.re.state.az.us.
● Get the facts. Find out if the business charges a commission or if they charge an up-front listing or advertising fee. Ask about the coverage or refund you are entitled to if a sale does not go through.
● Be wary of upfront fees. Many complainants to BBB regarding timeshare reselling mentioned companies charging advance fees for services or were told that they just had to pay closing costs and the timeshare would be taken off their hands. Consider hiring a company that charges a fee after the timeshare is sold.
● Ask for references. Request contact information from the company for other consumers who have used their services.
● Use caution with “too good to be true” offers. Ask the salesperson to send you written materials; take the time to think it over and don’t be pressured. Unscrupulous timeshare resellers may claim that your property is in demand and they can sell it immediately; unfortunately, these promises are often empty.
For more information on timeshare resale guidelines contact the American Resort Development Association at www.arda.org.
If consumers believe they are victims of a timeshare reselling scheme, contact your BBB at www.arizonabbb.org or 602-264-1721; the Office of the Arizona Attorney General at www.azag.gov or 602-542-5763; and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov or 1-877-382-4357.
About BBB Serving Central, Northern & Western Arizona
BBB is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. Incorporated locally in 1938, today your BBB serves communities in Central, Northern and Western Arizona, supported by over 9,600 BBB Accredited Businesses. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Business ReviewsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.