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Another Timeshare Scammer Caught

Another success story of scam defeat can be told as of last Friday, November 19, in Green Bay-area, Wisconsin.

Photo Curtesy of the Green Bay Press Gazette

Photo Curtesy of the Green Bay Press Gazette

A federal judge ruled to sentence scam show-runner Mark Parks to nine years in prison after he and a crew of collaborators stole almost $2.5 million from elderly timeshare owners.

The scheme, committed in the Green Bay-area, defrauded more than 3,000 victims in all 50 states and Canada out of about $2.5 million through a number of fraudulent companies ran by Mark Parks and his wife Mindy Parks, who will be sentenced on January 5. Six other conspirators will be sentenced through December and January.

Although this is a success story, it’s also full of tragedy for the 3,000 victims of Parks and his schemers. Employees have testified, saying that they were given scripts that lied to property owners about having buyers, they received commission on up front fees, and they even lied about their names so that disgruntled victims couldn’t call back and reach the “agent” that proposed the initial deal.

These tactics are nothing new. In fact, it’s shocking that timeshare owners are still falling for these age-old tricks. Parks’ scheme focused on elderly owners, which is partially why they were so successful. The owners rarely had any outside knowledge about the dangers of timeshare scams and were unable to do sufficient research or stop by the company’s “office.”

We warn our readers about NEVER PAYING UPFRONT FEES all the time, but there are other ways timeshare owners can protect themselves against fraud.

bag o cashDoing your research is an important tip that will save you a lot of heartbreak. You should not only thoroughly research the companies website before making any deals, but research the company on the Better Business Bureau’s website. You should also research the selling or buying agent you’re working with. Never sign a contract or pay a fee without going through a licensed agent.

These simple tips could have saved thousands of people from losing millions of dollars. In Parks’ scheme, victims were asked to pay hundreds of even thousands of dollars up front to secure the fake buyer. Remember, you should NEVER PAY UPFRONT FEES.

Premier Timeshare Resale will never ask for an upfront fee and does not get paid commission until you do. Our agents are licensed real estate agents, working under a licensed broker, and we bare it all out front so you can see before even contacting us.

One of our missions at Premier Timeshare Resale is to promote safe timeshare shopping and selling, as well as work to legitimize the industry. Our trained team of experts is ready and willing to help, and through the process we hope to save thousands of timeshare owners from falling into timeshare scams and fraud. This is why we encourage satisfied customers to volunteer their testimony on our website and Facebook page. PTR aims to be a beacon of hope in the timeshare industry.

Source: www.greenbaypressgazette.com

How to Survive a Timeshare Presentation

timeshare-sale-resaleWhether you’re a timeshare owner or simply staying at a timeshare resort property, the chances are close to 100% that you’ll be herded into a timeshare sales presentation. Sometimes they don’t appear to be a sales presentation, but retail timeshare tricksters are sly and will smooth talk you into one, almost every time. It usually happens soon after check in, when the phone in your room rings, and a polite but firmly insistent voice on the other line will attempt to schedule you for one and won’t take no for an answer. Don’t worry if you get roped in to attending a timeshare presentation—it happens to most everyone staying at a timeshare resort property. Here are some tips on how to survive it:

 

1-      Understand the need for researching your options. Timeshare salespeople will offer you a new unit, upgrades on your current ownership, more points to add flexibility to your travel, trade-ins for your timeshare in exchange for a “newer, better, bigger one.” While these may all be things you want to consider, the presentation eliminates your options to do so. The pressure of agreeing to purchase something on the spot deprives you of your right to research that will help you make informed, educated and measured decisions. Hold this thought in your mind throughout the 90 minutes (sometimes more!)

2-      Remembering to look beyond the urgency. Timeshare sales presenters are very good at creating a sense of urgency—buy now or forever hold your peace. They can do this by saying the deal they are offering is one-time only; this is false. If you went home politely without buying anything, and 2 months later contacted the resort, the salespeople would jump through the phone lines to offer you the same package. The reason they do presentations at the beginning of the vacation is an attempt to get you to purchase is the contract usually has a cancellation period (Right to Rescission) anywhere from 3-10 days. They don’t want you going home, doing your research and realizing how much you’ve overpaid!

3-      When talking to the salesperson, try to call their bluff. Timeshare presenters will often say several half-truths in an attempt to create that urgency. And they’re so self-assured and slippery and persuasive we want to believe them! But anytime you get a sticky feeling that what they’re saying might not be true: ask them to write it into the contract. Asking a salesperson to detail exactly what benefits would be lost by purchasing on the resale market, for example, would force them to itemize the paltry and limited perks that they offer to new owners (such as limo rides to and from the airport—while that sounds great, is it worth the $10,000 inflated price for purchasing a new timeshare vs. the same unit on the resale market?). Especially when you ask them to write it on the contract, they start to backpedal. Try it, it’s almost fun to watch!

 

Oftentimes, no matter how confident you are in your “no” walking into the presentation, the timeshare salespeople are more confident in getting you to say yes. They do this every day and have come into contact with every kind of response from travelers, likely having a creative rebuttal to each one. But you wouldn’t walk into a real estate agent’s office and purchase a house without doing extensive research, financial comparisons, neighborhood evaluations, etc. before making such a financial commitment, and there is no reason you to buy a timeshare without doing research either. Some final words about when you shouldn’t sign a contract for a new timeshare:

 

buy-timeshare-resale

If you are uncomfortable, have questions or concerns at ANY time, don’t sign.

 

If you are unable to confirm in writing IN THE CONTRACT everything the salesperson has said, don’t sign.

 

If you are unable to do research in the resale market, don’t sign.

 

Tell the timeshare presenter any of these reasons, and stick to your guns about it. It IS possible to walk away from a timeshare presentation empty handed. And even if you decide to go back and purchase a timeshare, you deserve to be an informed and educated customer.

 

Ethical Travel: Top Ten Destinations

At Premier Timeshare Resale, we are concerned not only with making the timeshare industry a legitimate one, but using our personal and professional resources to serve and support others. One of the ways we can do this is to promote responsible and ethical travel. Fortunately for PTR, Earth Island Journal does just that.

 

Each year, the Ethical Traveler (an Earth Island Institute Project) researches and publishes a list of ten destinations in the developing world that best represent policies and actions protecting both human rights and the environment. The goal in publishing this list is to encourage these developing nations to continue in their efforts through the reward of tourism spending. Volunteer researchers evaluate each country for its performance in the areas of human rights, social welfare, and environmental protection, as well as its appeal as a travel destination.

 

The number one country was the Bahamas, with its recent implementations to reduce human trafficking and significantly expand national parks and marine protected areas. Chile was another top ten destination, with its increased gender equality measures, ambitious environmental initiatives and a program to move logging workers into tourism. The Dominican Republic was also a favorite for its improved social welfare and a plan to become carbon negative by 2020.

 

The other destinations in the top ten ethical travel spots are listed here with links to timeshare resale properties within the country, when applicable: Barbados, Cape Verde, Latvia, Lithuania, Mauritius, Palau, and Uruguay.

 

Interestingly, some of the destinations voted as winners in 2013’s ethical travel spots are falling off the list. Costa Rica continues to be a hub for child sex trafficking, and Ghana, another 2013 winner, is found to have active discrimination against same-sex couples. Samoa also lost its spot due to unsustainable logging and unimproved women’s rights.

 

For some, and definitely for the folks at Premier Timeshare Resale, it matters where we go and how we get there. We are grateful for the Earth Island Journal for reporting this valuable information, and encourage you to read their full report here, if you are interested.

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