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The FTC and state consumer protection agencies have shut down dishonest timeshare resellers for bilking timeshare owners out of millions of dollars. If you’re selling a timeshare, listen carefully for the promise of lots of money quickly and a request for an upfront fee. Those are two key signs of timeshare resale scam — and someone you don’t want to do business with.     

In one recent case, Vacation Property Services claimed to represent big-name companies eager to buy timeshares for business travel and events. The company guaranteed timeshare owners hefty returns if they moved quickly on the offer. But first, the company said the owner had to pay from $500 to $2,000, via credit card, in “registration” and other fees to seal the deal.

Timeshare Resale Scams Infographic

Timeshare Resale Scams
Infographic

The company’s promises of ready buyers, fast sales, big profits and money-back guarantees turned out to be lies. What’s more, the timeshare owners were stuck with debt on their credit cards from paying the “fee” after the company told them that the sale would be complete — and that they’d have their money — by the time the credit card bill came.

If you own a timeshare, question any offers to help you resell it. Be skeptical of companies that:

  • claim the market in your area is “hot” and that they’re “overwhelmed” with buyer requests
  • say they have buyers ready to purchase your timeshare — or promise to sell your timeshare within a specific time
  • guarantee you’ll get big returns on your resale
  • require you to pay fees upfront — even if there’s the promise of a “money-back guarantee”
  • don’t provide a contract — or provide a contract that doesn’t accurately reflect conversations you had   

Read about buying and selling a timeshare, or check out our infographic to see how timeshare resale scams typically work.

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2,345 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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FTC Staff
June 05, 2017

In reply to by Peter D

Thank you for reporting this to the FTC. When you file a complaint at FTC.gov/complaint, the information goes into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

woken
June 15, 2017

In reply to by Peter D

been dealing with the same thing for six weeks. We need to thank our bank Washington Federal for the heads up when we went to do the wire transfer.
very concerned
June 23, 2017

In reply to by woken

did you get paid the agreed amount or did you pull out?
angel
July 06, 2017

In reply to by Peter D

Hi peter, did you file the complaint against these people and company? If so, who do you contact? I was contacted by same company and different names, I think this is fraud.
floridagal
June 05, 2017
Don't deal with David Bronson of Bright Vacation Rentals or Michael Anderson of 360 Title Agency. Both out of Ohio. Cost me $1900.00 They are no where to be found now. Scam, Scam
SAC
June 06, 2017
Received calls on my landline and cell plus email with offer that was 3x the purchase price. Followed the old adage "If sounds to good to be true......." Wouldn't mind selling at that price.
Htr
June 07, 2017
Just got a call from one of the Looney tunes from 'IRC' from a new number, 773-867-1117, that seems to be a landline at 4665 N Manor Ave. , Chicago. Until now, all calls have been from 866-879-1025.
FTC Staff
June 08, 2017

In reply to by Htr

You can help law enforcement by reporting this new information. Go to FTC.gov/complaint and report what you've learned. The information will go into a secure database that law enforcement agencies nationwide use for investigations. Thank you.

Big D
June 14, 2017
Fellas, this is all the same scam. No worthwhile agent would do any of these acts!! ITS A SCAM, BIG TIME!! Do not wire money to any of them. I checked on "Nationa Federal Holdins, no real estate license, contracts have all kinds of legal and ethical problems. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS!!!
Awilltosing
June 21, 2017
Has anyone heard of, or delta with Winterfeild Funding? Located in Fort Worth Texas.
very concerned
June 23, 2017
I was contacted by International Realty Corporation, Inc and an offer was made to purchase my timeshare (La Herencia, play del carmen Mexico). The offer is about double the value. We signed letter of intent. Afterwards West United Services LLC to set up an escrow account in our name. . I researched both companies, along with Gary Beckman and William F. Reilly of international Realty and couldn't locate much of anything.. we get calls me from 866-879-1025. Still trying to verify if this is a scam or not.
Dave-dean
July 17, 2017

In reply to by very concerned

We are in the same process for the same place with the same people. Also trying to verify;)
Concerned2
July 17, 2017

In reply to by very concerned

I am in same position right now...have you proceeded? I've halted as I'm not thinking this is legit.
Concerned2
July 17, 2017

In reply to by Concerned2

Same number. Different 'broker' name. When you call, there is no switchboard. Def not proceeding.
cr
July 21, 2017

In reply to by Concerned2

Anyone have any new info re: international realty and west united? anyone have success? seems very legit but I am thinking of backing out due to postings and requests for additional funds- I, too, already sent them money.
MadWoman
August 04, 2017

In reply to by cr

They got me too I lost thousand STOP sending them money after the custom clearance number they will still asking for more money for the insurance bond
AngryDupe
July 22, 2017

In reply to by very concerned

This is a very sophisticated and complicated SCAM. Unfortunately, we fell for it. Here is our story: International Realty Corporation, Inc., (IRC), Chicago/Skokie, IL, contacted us that they had a Buyer interested in purchasing our timeshare from Club Sunset/Hacienda Tres Rios aka La Herencia Residence Club at Tres Rios-Riveria Maya, Mexico. IRC told us that all we had to do was pay, via wire transfer, for a Mexican federal tax ID number so the Buyer could pay the federal tax for the sale. An escrow account was be set up in our names at CITIBANAMEX in Mexico City, Mexico. We were given an initial closing date for the beginning of June 2017. West United Services, LLC, (Joliet, IL)was the escrow agent handling all wire transfer instructions, sending of receipts, and notices. IRC promised that all upfront fees we paid would be refunded to us by the Buyer through escrow at the close of the sale. All paperwork looked very official with letterheads and stamps from the Mexican S.A.T. (same as the IRS in the U.S.). As well as statements from the bank showing funds being held in escrow for each transaction. The closing date kept getting extended out week by week as additional money was requested for more taxes and fees.These included state tax for Quintana Roo and a federal recording fee. Finally there was a notice the escrow funds were SEIZED by the Mexican authorities because of the large amount of the money involved. These would not be released w/o a customs clearance number. Unfortunately, the last wire for the customs clearance number was "lost." IRC claimed the money never got to their beneficiary. My bank was able to do a wire trace and obtained a reference number that indicated the money was indeed deposited into their designated beneficiary's account. IRC also claimed that they even sent an investigator to Mexico, at their own expense, to try and "find" the missing funds. However, now that the investigator had left Mexico, they had no one else to interact with bank and customs authorities. At this point, IRC wanted us to send another wire transfer to cover the customs clearance number.They said that we HAD to come up with the additional money or the deal would fall through and we would FORFEIT all our money. Donald M. Johnson, managing partner at IRC, suggested borrowing the money from friends or family, loan from the bank or IRA; getting a cash advance from a credit card, even pawning my car. He said we could easily the money back once the deal closed..approx. 72hrs..and we were disbursed the money held in escrow. Additionally, he would give us back the extra money we sent for the customs clearance number from his personal Chase account to help us out ONCE THE DEAL CLOSED. As their latest deadline loomed and their Buyer was getting "anxious," Mr. Johnson had a conference call with us involving their attorney. They offered to put us in a special category wherein they would take a huge tax deductible "loss" just to close this deal. We just had to fund the customs clearance number. They even offered to DOUBLE the funds we had already put out so far. We finally wised up (too late) after several thousand dollars gone. Doubt we will ever recover the money. Now we are just trying to warn others. There are several of these complicated scams going around. They may all come out of the same paper mill. We accidentally got sent an email to someone else with the same money details. This other company is purported to be IBEX, Inc., 2646 Compass Road, Glenview, IL 60028; 866-978-5102 x471. BEWARE.
AngryDupe
July 24, 2017

In reply to by AngryDupe

UPDATE: Paperwork from INTERNATIONAL REALTY CORP., used INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE SOLUTIONS, INC. interchangeably. Think they are one and the same even though they may show different addresses on their letterhead. The different name didn't initially ring a warning bell because the names are so similar. I have the two addresses for International Realty Corporation as 300 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 4200, Chicago, IL 60606 and 8424 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL 60077. When I called the building manager in Chicago for this building, they said that there was no such company there and they had been getting a lot of calls regarding them. When I asked Don Johnson about the Wacker Drive address, he said that letterhead must have been old, because they had moved to the Skokie Boulevard address some 7 years ago. He claimed that when my paperwork was prepared, they had temps working because they were so busy. However, ALL my paperwork had the Wacker Drive address. This was over a period of 2 months! They must have generated all my paperwork the SAME day? and just kept stringing me along. Yup, this dupe kept paying for a long time.
JKB
July 29, 2017

In reply to by AngryDupe

We also have property at Hacienda Tres Rios and fell for this same scam. We have also lost a fair amount of funds before we finally decided enough. Same exact story. We are also going to pursue every avenue we can, assuming we will never see thee funds again, but not going down without at least a fight.
tanny
July 24, 2017

In reply to by AngryDupe

They are good,soft spoken SCAMMERS, both International estate solutions(Andrew Fox/Donald Johnson,James Long) and West United Services(Bryan Montes)..They got me too,we were in the same situation!!!
AngryDupe
July 27, 2017

In reply to by AngryDupe

UPDATE: You bet I am reporting this to every place I can. I have prepared documents for the FTC, Oregon State Atty., and Illinois, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation/Division of Real Estate. I am going to look into sending this same complaint to the Illinois State Attorney as well making a complaint with the Illinois Better Business Bureau. Any other suggestions?
out the money
July 30, 2017

In reply to by AngryDupe

I could have been reading my own story here. it is the same as angrydupe, but not as far along. I did research as best I could all the info. they are very complete on follow thru and detailed. they got me for some money. spread the word it is a SCAM. i think the sales person at the resort is in on it, as they had mentioned to me before i even got the call " that one of the partners in the ownership may buy out members" then two months later i got the call from IRC. it is a well planned out. Don't believe a word from them.
FTC Staff
July 31, 2017

In reply to by out the money

Please report your experience to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Law enforcement needs to hear from people. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

You can also report to the state Attorney General

in your home state and the state where the business is operating.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

AngryDupe
August 01, 2017

In reply to by out the money

I THINK YOU ARE RIGHT!! When I spoke to the FTC rep. in my state, he mentioned that same thing. I was trying to sell my timeshare at Hacienda Tres Rios and before I got around to getting anything done on that, I got snagged. I will go ahead and started the process of trying to sell it through the resort now. I have read on this blog that that is not easy either. When I contacted the resort, about cancelling my membership, they said they had other programs. If they are not comparable to what my other timeshare has, I am out of there. Not gonna give them another dime. It was such a "dog" to use. I have other timeshares with points and I can use the points for other travel than just accommodations---air travel, car rental, events, etc.
reginalya
August 03, 2017

In reply to by very concerned

Unfortunately I gut in the same situation,when International Realty corporation contacted me,everything seemed very easy,but then,,they were asking more and more money for all kinds of leagall fees.After paying thousands of dollars,they requested moor,blaming Mexican government.I can provide phones # with extantions and names Kevin Bell (773)867-1117 ext241broker agent Anthony Garcia (866)879-1025ext 234 Sr.Broker John Lopez didn't give me his extention,his Mexico # +52(55)7425 4070 Ryan Adan Kincaid "legall department ext 244 Donald Johnson Nanaging Partner Thomas Henderson Legal Department Something has to be done ,so they don't get involved moor ppl in their scam Now after all this scam,they have a nurves to blame me for brbteach of contract
AngryDupe
August 04, 2017

In reply to by reginalya

Be the one to report it. I have filed complaints with the FTC, Better Business Bureau, State Attorney Generals in Illinois, and my home state, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations--Real Estate (licenses). I also posted on Facebook and intend to contact AARP. Let's get together an get these guys out of business--at least put a black mark next to their names!!
Close Call
June 23, 2017
I've been talking to IRC and West United for two months. They knew my name, address, phone, email, DoB, time share location and status. All was right. The only confusion was we let a friend use the time share one time and they thought they were partners. They offered 2k over what we paid and that seemed reasonable. I have talked to at least four people from the two companies and it seamed legitimate until they wanted me to wire $2,992.00 for a Mexican tax number. At that point I stopped talking to them a week ago. Today I received a cancelation letter with a bill for half the commission (3%)demanding payment in 5 days or they will pursue legal action.
Are IRC and We…
June 27, 2017

In reply to by Close Call

Have you found out any more about who these people are? I've been getting the same phone calls and emails, and everything seems legit - and also too good to be true. I've tried looking into this every way I can, but can't quite figure out the best way to get honest information.
beerjudy
July 11, 2017

In reply to by Close Call

We are at the same place you were. Do they have any "legal recourse" if we don't wire them the funds?
JoeC
June 27, 2017
I've also been in discussion with a "Dana Allen" from IRC and they're setting me up with an escrow account at a Mexican bank. I haven't filled out the paperwork yet, thinking that 1) that's the point where they're likely going to ask me for money, and 2) I don't want to give them even more personal information than they already have. My questions to this group: A) is there anyone out there who has experience showing that this is really legit, or are all of these scenarios just scams, and B) has anyone reported this particular one to the FTC or other local, state, or federal authorities? I've researched the companies involved, and even the broker, and things seem to be on the up and up - Chicago address, legit looking website, BBB rating (and I even discussed what I found with the broker), broker's background and active real estate license (I stopped short of reaching out to the person I found to check if it's really her or if someone stole her identity as I've seen reported elsewhere - I'm afraid that it might just be a created identity). Anyone have advice on how else I can confirm whether it's legit before continuing? I know - if it walks like a duck and talk like a duck.....but I'd sure love to find out if this is real or not.
reginalyan7
August 21, 2017

In reply to by JoeC

Joe C,from my experience with IRC and WU,this is very good quality scam. Don't even think to get involved.
JoeC
June 27, 2017
Update: I just added a comment, but it's not posted yet - just wanted to provide an update on what else I just found: apparently enough people became aware that the previously provided address for IRC was not a real one, so they updated their address on their website. Apparently they "moved" into the same building as a chiropractor, at 8424 Skokie Blvd. Skokie, IL. That's the same address as Skokie Chiropractic & Sports Injury Center.
AngryDupe
July 22, 2017

In reply to by JoeC

When I checked out the building on Bizapedia, there were 47 other businesses at that site, lots of medical offices. It is a big building.
Dana Allen (th…
June 27, 2017
I am Dana Allen a Realtor in Staunton IL and these scammers are using My name, my bio information and my Real Estate License number to scam people out of money. Don't send any money up front! These are not legitimate. I have been contacted by four people so far because they took the time to look me up on Facebook or online. If you are dealing with someone from Illinois and she uses the name Dana Allen-IT IS A SCAM! I don't sell or buy timeshares & I am the only Realtor with this name in Illinois. Don't send them money!
trackeye0313
July 31, 2017
We have been contacted by International Real Estate Solutions with the same premise (might be the same company as IRC). We contacted our resort and the customer service rep said they had just finished talking to someone who was scammed out of $3500 from the exact same company.
Bcmmh
June 30, 2017
Has anyone heard of a Grant Resorts out of Tucson, AZ. My husband is compnvinced they are legit, me not so much, we were told we had twelve days to consider an offer and now three days later they need to know right away. Gentlemen are Michael Tollins and Brandon Fowler.
Ceci and Raul
July 06, 2017
We have also been contacted by International Real Estate Solutions to purchase VIP weeks we own at time shares in Mexico for a very generous price. Too good to be true, leaving us guarded. We have reviewed a contract proposal as well as statements of escrow deposits sent by West United Services. We will be charged a 7% commission of the entire sale price to IRES but have not been asked yet to pay it up front. Everything appears quite legitimate as do the websites for both IRES and WUS. Comments made above give us doubts. Does anyone know for sure whether these folks are scams or not and/or who do we contact to verify the legitimacy of these businesses.
Parada
July 10, 2017

In reply to by Ceci and Raul

CeCi and Raul, I have the exact same scenario you mentioned in play as we speak. I have only signed a acceptance letter to move forward with discussions. One thing the did mentioned is that they are buying for Topsun International trading company LLC. They did mentioned that Westr United Services as the escrow holder and the location is in Juliet, Illinois. My representative is barry Quinn? Have you moved forward? If so do you mind sharing your outcome?
AngryDupe
July 22, 2017

In reply to by Ceci and Raul

Think International Real Estate Solutions, Inc. (IRES) was/is also operating under the name of International Realty Corporation (IRC). See my story under AngryDupe July 21, 2017. IRES filed to be listed in the Chicago BBB 5-16-17; IRC filed 5-25-17 It is a SCAM. Do not fall for it, they will bleed you dry!
lballen
July 06, 2017
Anyone been contacted my MIDWEST PROPERTIES INVESTMENT LLC 131 Park Ave Oklahoma City? Offering to buy Grand Mayan timeshare in Playa del Carmen area of Mexico? Claim no upfront money but say required transfer fees will be reimbursed. Sounds fishy as I received a call a week earlier from a Seattle co using the exact same words in their pitch.
David
July 24, 2017

In reply to by lballen

I have been contacted as well. Not sure what is up. I googled the address and its a condo building.
David
July 26, 2017

In reply to by lballen

I spoke with Howard Smith. He gave me his broker number but I'm not sure he is actually Howard Smith. The company address has no suite number. I googled the building and its a highrise condo. The company website looks like a template that could be made in minutes. He wants me to wire money and get reimbursed. Sounds like a scam. Beware!
David
July 26, 2017

In reply to by lballen

Howard Smith has a license with Oklahoma. When I looked up the reported address, it was a PO Box at UPS. Major red flag.
Androkos
December 04, 2017

In reply to by lballen

I got contacted by the same MIDWEST PROPERTIES INVESTMENT any news?
Jrosas
December 04, 2017

In reply to by lballen

I was recently contacted by them making an upfront offer for a timeshare. First got an email from a representative in Mexico City, when I tried the central office contact number got an email from a different company called Adviser Enterprise Proprerties LLC located at 101 W Ohio St, Indianapolis, IN 46204, USA literally saying Midwest Properties Investment LLC is the umbrella company for Adviser Enterprise Properties LLC. For legal purposes we must send you the offer under the name since the tax benefit is obtaining will be managed by them At this point I stopped any further communications
foolish
July 07, 2017
International Real Estate Solutions, Inc. Charlie Miller contacted me than Don Johnson took over for him. They are not legitimate. They are scammers and good scammers. Run and run as far aways as possible. They are very detailed and elaporate scammers.
MimiLinna
July 07, 2017
We fell for International Real Estate Solutions and West United Services. Sent 4200.00 for a Mexican Tax ID number 6/17