Vacation Smart International
Be Wary of Brokers Who Call Out of the Blue
(May 1, 2013 - Nashville, Tennessee) BBB warns consumers of a vacation timeshare scam operated by a company named Vacation Smart International claiming to be located at 150 Fourth Ave. North, Nashville, TN.
This company came to the attention of BBB in March 2013 due numerous consumer inquiries. Consumers report receiving unsolicited phone calls from a broker claiming to be with Vacation Smart International with a resale offer for the consumer's timeshare. The caller claimed to have a buyer for the property, and told the consumer he/she must pay an ownership transfer fee ranging from $2000 - $3000 to a third party called Groupo Mayan prior to completion of the agreement. Some consumers allege Vacation Smart International also requested an annual maintenance fee varying between $3000 - $5000. The broker then advised this was a requirement of the resort and refundable when the sale fully “closed” and funds were disbursed. In both instances where money was requested, the consumer was asked to wire the funds via Western Union.
BBB visited the address where Vacation Smart International claims to be located (150 Fourth Ave N, Nashville TN), and was informed there is no such business at that address. In addition, BBB called the advertised phone numbers 615.866.3203 and 615.866.5188 to inquire about the company's physical location; however, the company representative immediately hung up.
BBB advises timeshare owners to be wary of brokers who call out of the blue, ask for advance fees, and say they have prospective buyers. Many times, consumers pay the fees and never hear back from the company. In addition:
- Use a Business You Can Trust - Make sure the timeshare reseller has a good reputation and a positive BBB rating.
- Confirm Licensing Requirements - Some timeshare resellers will use fake addresses or PO boxes in order to mislead timeshare owners. Confirm where the company is located and in what states it does business. Ask if the salespeople are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located, and verify this with the licensing board.
- Check the Facts/Figures and Get Everything in Writing - Find out if the business charges a commission. Do they handle the entire closing and provide escrow services? Do they charge an up-front listing or advertising fee? What does it cover and is it refundable?
- Be Wary of Upfront Fees - Many complainants to BBB were burned by companies charging an advanced fee for services or were told that they just had to pay closing costs and that the timeshare would be taken off their hands. Consider opting for a company that offers to sell for a fee only AFTER the timeshare is sold.
- Don't fall for the Hard Sell or for an Offer That Sounds Too Good To Be True! - Don't agree to anything over the phone, but instead ask the salesperson to send you written materials. Always 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 are often empty promises.
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