The following is about some new pitfalls with selling your time share but could also work with buying a time share as well, and with life in general.
The Better Business Bureau, or BBB. Now here’s an organization that a lot of folks are confused about. Great organization and we’ve been with them for many years both here in Florida and when we were in Maryland many years ago. And we’re proud of the A + rating we’ve had with them for a long time now. But there are things you need to know about how some unscrupulous companies will work the BBB to make it appear they’re a legitimate company when in fact they are about to scam you.
First, who is the BBB? What they are NOT is a government agency. Many folks think they are. They are not. They have no power to force a business to do anything at all. You can file a complaint with them about a business, but it’s up to the business to decide to try to solve the complaint, work with you on a compromise, or to even respond to the complaint at all. So what good is the BBB?
They’re of great value if you understand what you’re looking at. You can check out a business by going to the appropriate BBB web site. The BBB is not just one office but very many. In Florida alone there is the Western Florida BBB (the one we belong to), the Central Florida BBB, the North East Florida BBB, etc. Once on their web site you can type in the name of the company, or the phone number or the web address and look at a report. First thing you’ll see is a letter grade that goes from A+ to F. But you need to look further at the report. One thing you want to see is how long they have been with the BBB. This is important and here’s why.
We’ve reported to you before about how the scam artists who call you at night to get you to give them money upfront to sell your time share seem to have no end to them. They don’t. As reported before, one scam company may have 10 or more trade names all working out of the same address. If one “company” doesn’t get you, the next “company” calls you with a different pitch to see if you’ll fall for a different story. So what if you start believing Story # 18? Aha! The con artist has a whole selection of tools to pick from to convince you that you’re doing the right thing in handing over your money to someone on the phone! One just might be their high BBB rating! They’ll direct you to their web site where you can check out the BBB rating yourself! So let’s say you do and you see that, yes, they do indeed have an A or A+ rating. So they must be legit, right? Maybe…..
First, we’re assuming the link they have to the BBB is a legitimate link and not one that they put together themselves to fool you into thinking you’re on the BBB web site when in fact you’re not (con artists think of everything!). If the rating is good, look down the page a bit more to see how long they’ve been with the BBB. Around a year, more or less? Possibly could be a red flag.
Think of the following scenario: Butch “Killer” McCowlick owns the company of Dewey, Cheatham and Lots, Inc (Dewey, Cheatam and Howe went out of business, as you’ll see). Dewey and Co. have been with the BBB for the past 2 years and are now getting a bunch of complaints from folks who gave Butch money upfront to sell their time share and have finally figured out they got ripped off. Butch has a small problem. Soon his A rating with the BBB is going to sink. How will he be able to tell new customers (marks) that he runs a proper business? But good ole’ Butch has thought of that already. You see, he already owns 10 other business names that’s he’s never used. So he registers the next name with the BBB, this name, of course, being spotless. Dewey & Co. closes down. New company: Eye M. Backformore, Inc. Not only does Eye & Co. have a clean record, but you now get a new phone call again from this new company with a new pitch. And of course you just KNOW that THIS company is much better than that terrible company who stole your money last year!
Now one thing we want you to understand is that just because a company has not been with the BBB for long does not make them bad. Obviously at some point we were new with the BBB also. But you also need to have a reality check when it comes to selling your time share. The BBB is an excellent organization but as with everything, don’t rely on just one factor to make your decision. Again, if the company is asking for money upfront and/or if they do not have a real estate license, hang up the phone.