Better Business Bureau: Be wary of time share scam


CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Better Business Bureau Serving Central SC and Charleston (BBB) is warning consumers about a company using a Columbia address that's reportedly contacting timeshare owners across the country, claiming to have a buyer for their property.

The company, Columbia Resort Sales, claims to be located at 4710 Forest Drive in Columbia, according to its website. However, McAlister's Deli is located at that address.

Consumers report that Columbia Resort Sales calls them claiming to be a property locating service that caters to the needs of people who are looking to buy timeshares. It offers the timeshare owner up to double what they originally paid for their timeshare, and requests payment of roughly $280.00 be sent via wire transfer to cover "transfer fees and closing costs."

And then, as time went on and no sales were made, victims tried reaching back out to the companies, but their phone calls and e-mails went unanswered.

Columbia Resort Sales has an "F" grade with the BBB, the lowest grade possible.

The BBB opened its file in August and is receiving numerous inquiries every day from consumers across the country. Columbia Resort Sales has not responded to the BBB's requests for standard business information.

The BBB recommends never sending payment via wire transfer to any unknown company or individual and offers the following tips regarding timeshare resale:

- Ask the salesperson for all information in writing.

- Ask if the reseller's agents are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located (verify this with the state's real estate commission), and get references.

- Ask how the reseller will advertise and promote the timeshare unit. Will you get progress reports? How often?

- Ask about fees and timing. It's preferable to do business with a reseller that takes its fee after the timeshare is sold, but if you must pay a fee in advance, get refund policies and promises in writing.

- If you want an idea of the current value of the timeshare, consider using a licensed timeshare appraisal service.

- Before you sign any sort of contract, make sure you get the details of its terms and conditions. It should include the services the reseller will perform; the fees, commissions, and other costs you must pay and when you must pay them; whether you can rent or sell the timeshare on your own at the same time the reseller is trying to sell your unit; the length or term of the contract to sell your timeshare; and who is responsible for documenting and closing the sale.

For more information or further inquiries, contact the BBB at or 803 254-2525 (Columbia), 843-766-9616 (Charleston), 800 892-3584 Toll-Free.