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How to verify a Timeshare rental is Legit (when you are the renter)

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DeniseM

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How to confirm that a rental is legit:

First step - ALWAYS ask if they are renting an exchange. RCI* and II do not allow exchanges to be rented, and if you get caught, you can lose the rental and your $$$. You can tell if it is an exchange, when they send you a copy of their confirmation, because it will be a confirmation from the exchange company, not directly from the resort.

(See this sticky to see the rules for all the major exchange companies - Which Exchange Companies Allow Exchanges to be Rented? - some exchange companies DO allow exchanges to be rented.)

VERIFYING THE RESERVATION:

*Here are several different steps you can take to protect yourself - I'm not suggesting that you do ALL of them - just offering various alternatives.

1. Talk to the owner on the phone - get a feel for who they are.​
2. Request a rental contract.​
3. Ask the owner to email or Fax you a copy of their original reservation confirmation.​
4. Call the resort/resort reservations directly to confirm your reservation.​
5. Ask if you can pay a $100 deposit, get the confirmation in your name, and then pay the balance.​
6. Ask the owner to send you a copy of their deed, with their personal info. blacked out.​
7. Ask for references.​
8. Rent from a TUG member. (please note this does NOT mean you can ignore all of these other safeguards! I dont care where you find a rental, if the transaction smells fishy you should NOT send money!)

*I think #3 & 4 are the most critical.

COMMON RED FLAGS TO LOOK OUT FOR!

This section lists the common red flags that come up most often with rental scams! Even if you ignore the advice above, if you encounter any of these scenarios during the course of booking a timeshare rental, you should begin to worry!


    • Emails sent containing broken english or otherwise oddly worded comments and sentences
    • Owner wants you to contact, pay, or otherwise deal with a "3rd party" instead of them directly
    • Owner demands payment only with personal check or money order or wire transfer (especially if made out to a 3rd party)
    • Owners name/contact info is different from what is on the reservation or owner confirmation
    • Owner asks you to pay using "gift" option on paypal
    • Owner asks for a significant amount of the rental payment before providing any confirmation or details

Author note: This is by no means a list of every possible red flag, but these are certainly the most common, and great indications that you should avoid sending ANY money to the party in question.


ESCROW:
My suggestion - don't ask for escrow - it protects the renter, but not the owner, and using escrow means that the owner doesn't get their money until after the trip, and after they have had to pay their MF. The fact that the owner won't accept escrow doesn't mean they aren't completely legit - an owner with a popular week for rent will not accept escrow, because they can just move on to someone else, who doesn't ask for escrow, and get their money sooner. I do several rentals every year, and I would never agree to use escrow.

VERIFY RESORT FEES: When you call the resort to confirm your reservation, be sure you ask about any resort fees or taxes that you may be responsible for at check-out.
 
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TUGBrian

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TUGBrian

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bumping this as a friendly reminder to make sure your rental is legitimate before sending the balance!
 

TUGBrian

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and another friendly bump folks...PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use these steps to verify 100% before you send any money!

the link to this article is at the bottom of every single page in the marketplace!!!
 

TUGBrian

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and another bump again today.

Absolutely no reason not to follow these simple steps before sending a stranger hundreds or thousands of dollars!
 

TUGBrian

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and more bumps...clearly folks are not reading this article!

its linked on nearly EVERY page in the marketplace, and is linked on every single ad!!
 

TUGBrian

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and even more bumps, apparently im going to need to start bumping this more regularly.

folks, if a potential renter or rentee cant meet any or all of the suggested checklist items, you should not do business with that person!

note it is becoming increasingly more common for scammers to copy/paste a marriott/hilton/westin/yadda logo on top of their generic rental agreements, and sadly it is working.

folks you always always always need to contact the resort to confirm an owners reservation before sending money!
 
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Goofyhobbie

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Folks,

This is another BUMP. Read again the caveats provided by Denise.

You cannot be to careful when dealing with someone you do not know over the Internet.

Here are two additional caveats to consider:

1. Ask the RENTER to provide a physical street address that you can verify as being their business or home address. If the RENTER is not willing to identify his or her address that should raise a RED FLAG.

GOOGLE the address.

You do not want to do business with someone who provides an address that is an "EMPTY LOT" or a Building that you feel is not likely a real address for the RENTER.

2. Use a CREDIT CARD and pay through PAYPAL.

Recently it was reported that a Member of TUG in need of several rentals at the same Resort booked one UNIT from a member of TUG and then booked a second UNIT from a different website hosted by YAHOO.

The UNIT booked through TUG with a MEMBER of TUG was completed with no problem.

The UNIT booked through the Yahoo Group frequented by a scammer resulted in what appeared to be correct and verifiable documentation; but the RENTER, upon check-in was denied access because the documentation was a FRAUDULENT RESERVATION.

Check out this thread: http://http://tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=244782
 

TUGBrian

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another bump on this....since there is an upward trend of folks pretending to be people they arent...there is literally no excuse not to follow these rules to verify a rental before sending any money!!!

if an ad doesnt pass the sniff test, no matter how good the deal is...move on!
 

TUGBrian

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adding additional useful info!

We have encountered more and more scammers that ask you to click on links to "google docs" or otherwise innocent looking items that are intended to allow them to gain access to your personal email accounts (spyware/malware)...and once they have your personal email access they can access just about anything by requesting your password be sent/reset so your email.

this includes your tug/redweek/etc logins....banking account logins....and even them pretending to be you sending emails from your own private email account.

while clicking on links from strangers is not in any way something "new", pretending to be a renter or an owner is a new way for them to gain your trust when asking you to click on these links.

NEVER CLICK ON A LINK FROM A STRANGER IN AN EMAIL IF YOU CANNOT VERIFY 100% WHERE THAT LINK GOES!

Note: a very easy way to verify this is to right click on the link and choose "copy shortcut". this will allow you to paste the link in notepad or a new email and see exactly where it is taking you. (also many browsers allow you to hover your mouse over a link and display the actual destination if you leave your mouse there a few seconds)
 
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