Over the past several years this column has told you about the nightmares that timeshare owners lived through, both when first purchasing — often under physical and mental duress—and then when attempting to get themselves out of their contracts.
I never said, “Don’t ever buy a timeshare!”
But no more. I now believe that because of the nature of timeshare contracts — and sales practices — they are the most dangerous purchase anyone can make. I urge federal action to nullify provisions in existing contracts which keep buyers on the hook for thousands of dollars in yearly fees glued to a contract they can’t walk away from — even after years of paying for something they no longer use or are able to use.
Great vacation! We’ll all come back here every year
Picture yourself on vacation with your family — in Florida, Las Vegas, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico or other tourist destinations, staying in a lovely, spacious condominium-type unit in a beautiful resort.
It truly is lovely, you are all having the time of your lives, and are told, “For a one-time payment (which we can finance) of $15,000 plus modest yearly maintenance fees, you will have the right to come back, with your family, year after year.”
It would be far cheaper to pay as you go, but you don’t do the math, nor do you run this decision by your accountant or lawyer as you are convinced of how economical a decision it is.
Maybe for a few years your family uses the property, and then the kids grow up and there are no more family vacations.
Or, your wife gets cancer.
But the yearly maintenance bills keep on coming, first hundreds, and then thousands of dollars out the window.
As is the case with every person who as contacted this column, after asking to be let out of the contract, to please just take the thing back … refused.
The singular, diabolical feature of timeshare contracts is that they last in perpetuity. The contract permits no way out. And unless your heirs reject this inheritance, they will also be burdened with this monstrosity!
It is the only such contract like this I have ever seen. And timeshares — because of maintenance fees — are almost impossible to sell. You will find them offered online for one dollar!
We have a buyer for your Mexican timeshare
In 2017, Joe Corriveau of Lynchburg, Virginia, purchased a timeshare at the Villa del Palmar in Cancun, Mexico for slightly over $14,000.
In early March of this year, he received a $25,000 offer from Travel Pirates Mexico to buy it and a few days later, was contacted by the Eric H. Anderson Law Group. In reality, there is no buyer, only an appeal to greed, and “sellers” are required to wire thousands of dollars for various fees for what is a nonexistent purchase.
“I researched the Eric H. Anderson Law Group based out of San Jose, CA. Their website is very professional looking, but I could not find the actual Eric H. Anderson in San Jose, CA. I only found him in Palo Alto, CA, but could not locate a phone number. I came across your article online ‘Beware of the Mexican timeshare resale scam’ and called you.”
His research led to the discovery of a new Mexican Timeshare Resale Scam which became obvious when, on a conference call with him, I tried to reach attorney Eric Anderson. Coming on the line was a nasty-sounding guy who claimed to be an attorney, yet would provide no name or other identifying information and when learning that I am a journalist researching Mexican timeshare scams, he hung up!
My calls to the “Eric Anderson Law Group” yielded 30 minutes on hold, and a refusal to connect me with anyone. Further research showed that Anderson was working for the Baker McKenzie law firm in Palo Alto, but they had never heard of him. The California State Bar shows such an attorney, but no telephone number is listed.
Rips off U.S. attorneys’ names
To Scott Morse, chief operating officer of Rockford, Illinois-based Resort Release — an A+ BBB rated company that legitimately helps to get people out of timeshares:
“This scam has been refined over many years. They rip off the name of a real U.S. attorney, and create a fake website. The average person would have no idea how to quickly spot the scam, so I applaud your reader’s intuition for sensing that something was just not right.”
Morse is a great detective and discovered:
1) The images on andersonlawgroup were stolen from a law firm in North Carolina.
2) The website was set up on March 3, 2019, making it, literally, just a few days old.
3) The footer of the website states, “Anderson Law Group, Inc.” yet it’s a “PC” (Professional Corporation.) That’s a small detail, but one a lawyer would never get wrong.
Scott provides this advice to anyone contacted by these cons:
“These guys are the worst of the worst. Don’t respond to them, don’t call them, don’t answer them … . Block their number with your telephone provider. If you have provided them ANY Banking information — change it immediately.”