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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 21072
Experience:  18+ years of NYS litigation experience.
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Starting over. I have a timeshare at the Gandview in Las Vegas

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Starting over. I have a timeshare at the Gandview in Las Vegas I want to sell. I get lots of calls and I know there are lots of scams. I got a call from a company called TrasnWetern Group located in Billings Montana. I think they might be real because they ask for a commission of 5% to be paid after I get the cash. They sent me a contract which I showed my lawyer and he wants changes in it and he's sleptical they can be trusted. They are not registered with the BBB and apparently thre address they give (you can find them on the inernet) may not exist. Also, the amount they quoted for my timeshare is much higher than I paid and that seemed strange in today's. My lawyer was away last week so before I ask him to spend anytime on the contract, I'd like to know if they are a real company that can be trusted. Can you find out. Thanks XXXXX
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 3 years ago.
Hello, Allan,

The timeshare resale and rental industry is heavily riddled with fraudsters. Times are bad and far too many people are looking to give up their timeshares. It's almost impossible to unload them, except at a loss, and all kind of dishonest and outright fraudulent resale/rental agencies are cold-calling people and offering them very attractive deals. That almost always means scam, and I am pleased to see that your anti-fraud radar picked that up.

While it's good that they don't appear to want an up front fee from you, the fact that your lawyer sees some things wrong with the contract is yet another bad sign. And they may yet require you to put the 5% fee into an escrow fund. While not a bad thing by itself, for every phony timeshare reseller, there is a bogus escrow company working together to steal money. Nobody who wants to unload a timeshare can afford to be defrauded.

So the best thing you can do for yourself is to make sure that whoever you deal with has some kind of track record in the industry other than what they say about themselves. TransWestern Group's online history is bad. They have most certainly made the radar screen of the Better Business Bureau, who has a caution alert about them. Not only did the BBB give the company an F rating, but they have independently verified with the US Postal service that their address does not exist. Additionally, they have looked at the Montana Secretary of State's Website to see if they were lawfully registered, and the site says that the company is inactive. (See link)

Further, they have information that TransWestern may be operatiing out of Mexico.

Don't touch this with a ten-foot pole. This is a business area which is loaded with scammers preying upon people who are desperate to get rid of a big drain on their finances at a tough economic time. The Federal Trade Commission has been warning consumers about the various scams in this area. They have a very helpful article where they help you ask the right questions and know when you're getting the right answers, when you are evaluating a company of this type. If you read this and familiarize yourself with what you have to know and do first before you contract with a timeshare reseller, you should come out of the deal okay. (see link for article) You need to be 100% certain of who and what you are dealing with. Otherwise, it's safer and saner to pass it up.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the informaton. I called them (a person qnamed Bill or Bob Wright) and he told me the BBB has little credibility (i'm sure they're not perfect) and that the address did exist and they are primarily a property management company who got the business of a large foreign company to buy a number of timeshare properities in Las Vagas. I know that story is full of holes. Have you found out enough about this company to be certain (within reason) to tell me, "Don't touch tem with a ten foot pole?" Do you mind if I forward your answer to my lawyer?

Thanks again,

Allan Gxxx
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 3 years ago.

I am aware that the Better Business Bureau is not perfect. You can get accredited if you pay them a fee, but that is separate and apart from their ratings, which can't be bought. Furthermore, they do remove their accreditation from businesses whose ethics are suspect.

I checked the Montana Secretary of State's register. If they were headquarted there they should be listed as a Montana Business. They are not there. I looked to cross-check Delaware, where they were first incorporated. The BBB did that and found that the business is no longer active. While I found that a TransWestern Group LLC was incorporated in Delaware in 1998, I also found that the state of Delaware charges a $10 or $20 fee to see whether a company is in good standing or not. I did not go that far, but what I did see, however, does not convince me that they are or were ever located in Montana. If you want to order their records for yourself, here's the link.

The BBB also details the nature of their scam, which they have learned from the many complaints they have received. TransWestern will claim that your time share was sold and send you a check for the sale. You deposit it and wire back their commission to someone out of the country. If they were legitimate they'd deduct that from what they sent you in the first place and give you the rest with no strings But they won't do that. So you can expect the check will probably be dishonored. And, since you have no real address for them at all, there will be nothing you can do to recover your funds.

I have no reason to believe that the BBB isn't spot on here. They are not prone to making extreme allegations, and I find nothing to make me think that they are unfair. I cannot in any way recommend them, I believe that you will likely get hurt if you do, and you can certainly tell that to whoever you like. TransWestern will deny it. But as your lawyer didn't like the contract or the company in the first place, somehow I don't think he will be all that surprised.

Good luck to you!

Zoey, JD, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 21072
Experience: 18+ years of NYS litigation experience.
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