Thinking of investing a Timeshare Property in Singapore? Caught by a Timeshare Scam in Singapore?
Overview: A blatant scam that has been in Singapore for more than a decade. Avoid at all cost because it will make your life miserable instead of making you happier or richer.
Timeshare Scam Singapore by Edmund
Personally, I am a victim of Timeshare way back in 2001 where I invested in a Timeshare property, thinking that I will “save money” in my future travel cost with my family to many exotic destinations around the world.
In the event I do not need it anymore, I can “resell” it in the Timeshare market to earn a profit as property price was deemed growing higher then.
Boy, how wrong was I then! A young 20+ years old who has just joined the “Society University” for not long, thinking far ahead of future.
As a Chinese saying goes, “The buffalo’s calf that has not met the Tiger yet”. I was mauled by the Timeshare Scam Tiger and got injured quite badly financially.
Until today, the year 2014, I still see Singaporean get scammed by unethical Timeshare Companies.
For those who have bought into one (I am one of them), until today they still receive many harassment calls from unethical Timeshare Reselling Companies wanting to help you “get your money back” despite the existence of Do Not Call Registry (DNC).
I hope by sharing my own experience here will help you:
1. Avoid the misery that those who have bought Timeshare in Singapore have to go through if are still thinking about it. Congrats!
2. If you bought one and still thinking within the mandatory cooling period imposed by the Singapore Government. Congrats too! Terminate it asap!
3. If you have bought one long ago. Seek Advice!
Timeshare Scam Singapore – The Trap is laid out nicely
Street Survey – You Won Something!
This was very common back in the early 2000s where there were many student street surveyors hanging along Orchard Road to pray on unsuspecting victims to fill in a Survey Form.
Once you completed the survey form, they will pass you a lucky scratch and win ticket and you will surely will a price on the spot! But on one condition, you have to sit through a 2 hours “seminar” before you can claim your price.
In the 2 hours seminar, they will try to “brainwash”, “hard sell” and “pressure sell” you to invest in their Timeshare Property.
Tactics commonly used are:
1. Paint you a very beautiful picture that you can travel to exotic places with huge long-term savings.
2. Sell you a very expensive property first, if you reject and want to leave, they immediately offer a cheaper alternative.
3. Hard selling, pestering, escort you to the toilet and prevent you from making a call to the family for a 2nd opinion.
4. When someone decided to invest into one, they will ring a bell loudly and announce to everyone in the “selling” room and applause to congrats the “victim”.
5. Escort you to ATM to draw money to pay the deposit.
Career – Recruitment
This is another tactic I heard of. If you answer their job advertisement and go for an interview. You will be “asked” to invest in a Timeshare property in order to earn commissions for leading the next victim to sit through the “brainwashing” seminar.
If you know more about this, please feel free to comment below to help others.
Upsell and Upsell – Owning more and more
If you already own one-time share property, the company salesman/woman will definitely call you sometime down the years to say that rules have changed for the property you own. Either you terminate it with a huge fee or trade the property in for a better one at a lower cost.
Be careful, you might end up with 2 properties if you gave in to the salesman/woman and decided to trade for the better one at a lower cost.
My advice is to weight the cost of terminating it and long term maintenance fee that you have to pay them. If can, terminate it and obtain all the black and white and ensure that they tear the contract in front of you.
I understand at this stage if the trade in offer is more reasonable long term wise to prevent you of losing more money. You might want to obtain all legal documents before signing to seek free legal advice first before you make any decision to trade in. This is to ensure that you will hold on to a single property only.
Most of the time, they will say the offer is on the spot that very day only. Resist the hard sell tactics and leave first. It’s better than ending up with another property contract that is going to haunt you for decades!
Timeshare Reselling Companies – Bloodsuckers!
Because the Timeshare Companies existed, Timeshare Reselling Companies come to existence.
The reason is very simple, the reselling companies knows that many “victims” of Timeshare wanted to offload the property by selling to another party.
In Europe, timeshare is more regulated than in Asia, thus many reselling companies claimed that they have potential customers in Europe looking to buy timeshares in Asia.
Again, do not fall for their sweet talk and promises. Most of the time, they want you to go down to sit through another hour of “brainwashing” to ask you invest into another Timeshare Property or another type of “Holiday product”.
Common tactics are:
1. Ask for a fee for the selling service. Then after a long long time, they called you and say they found a buyer in Thailand. They are willing to pay your air-ticket and lodging to fly to Thailand to sell your Timeshare. Friend, if you go there, they are going to hard-sell you another Timeshare in Thailand. You are in a foreign country, you are not protected by Singapore law if you do anything there.
2. Help you put up for sales FOC, earn only the commission from you if they manage to sell. (If you opt for this option, forget about selling it, it will never happen.)
3. Help you put up for sale with cash back. You buy into their new product first and with the sale of your Timeshare, you will get back the money plus the money you paid for their new product. The catch is the cash back is 3-6 years down the road. (Come on! You think I am a fool to wait for 3-6 years for the money I most sure I will not see and pay for another damn “product”? What if your company no longer exist? I look for who?)
4. Ask for your agreement to fight the case for you using their lawyer. If their lawyer wins the case, you pay them a percentage of the claimed amount. Sounds legitimate right? I guarantee that you will have to go through the dreaded brainwash to pay them some money by buying some product!
My advice is never ever to visit/listen to the reselling companies, you are bound to lose more money and waste your time.
Timeshare Scam Singapore – Where can I get help?
Timeshare Scam Singapore – Other Stories
Make Money by investing Timeshare Property?
If you are thinking about making money from Timeshare unless you are the unethical Timeshare company that sucks blood from our fellow Singaporean, never dream about it.
There are many ways to invest in a property and it is best to seek expert advice before you invest any money in property.
Singapore Government is very concern about the property bubble and in recent year has put in place many measures to curb property price grow to a big bubble.
A property is an asset that is not very liquidatable comparing to other investments such as stock or bonds. You have to be really careful with your money.
Final Piece of Advice
Avoid Timeshare Property at all cost, never give in to hard-sell or pressure sell tactics if you happen to be “invited” to sit through a “brain-washing” seminar.
Pick yourself up, leave the place, cool your thoughts and say to yourself, “Well done!”