If you feel trapped by a timeshare that you seldom use and are trying to get out from under annual maintenance fees, you are perfect bait for a timeshare resale scam.
Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland (BBB) has received complaints concerning Prime Alliance Holdings (Prime). Prime’s website (primeallianceholdings.com) lists its location as 600 Superior Ave. East Fifthy (sic) Third, Cleveland Ohio. The website is registered to Robert Seid with an address listed in Cabos, Mexico.
Testimonials displayed on the website use pictures of other people lifted from the internet. The photo portrayed as being Carl Moore and Jessica Siegel is actually Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift, a Canadian couple who quit their jobs to permanently travel the world. Peter Steinman turns out to be James Ridley, a Family Trips Leader for another business.
BBB is beginning to receive complaints from consumers who were offered an arrangement by Amadeus Vacations (Amadeus) to sell their timeshares. Prime is represented as being the marketing company that will handle the transaction with the buyer. A Florida couple believed Amadeus had sold their Cancun timeshare for $31,750. They paid $999 to Prime and were told their file was transferred to Columbus International Escrow (Columbus Escrow) to handle the rest of the sale. They were asked to wire 10% of the sale price, $3,175, to a bank in Mexico as a condition of the sale. To date, they have not received any funds from the sale and not getting any answers from Prime, Amadeus, or Columbus Escrow.
An Arizona man paid over $17,000 to have Amadeus and Prime handle the sale of his timeshare. The sale never materialized and he has been unable to get his money back.
A California couple lost $16,400 when Prime failed to find a buyer for their Mayan Palace Resort timeshare. White Mountain Holdings was supposed to handle the sale. White Mountain Holdings lists an Oregon address but is not licensed to conduct escrow services and has an “F” rating with BBB.
As an incentive to have Amadeus handle your resale, you are promised a 200 week membership in Amadeus Vacations with access to over 98,000 resort properties, condos and residences for a special price.
To date, BBB has not received any responses from Prime to consumer complaints. Prime, along with Amadeus Vacations and Columbus International Escrow, has an “F” rating with BBB due to unanswered complaints.
If you own a timeshare, BBB offers these tips:
- Don’t be tempted by businesses who solicit you and claim they already have a buyer or can sell your timeshare for a large amount of money in a small amount of time.
- Do not be pressured to sign a contract before you have reviewed it carefully and have taken time to research the business.
- Check bbb.org for grade ratings, customer complaints, and customer reviews on the reseller and any affiliated businesses involved in the sale.
- Google the name of the business as well as all email addresses and phone numbers used to see if others have filed negative reviews.
- Do not pay substantial advance fees. If you are required to pay any fees, be certain the contract explains the company’s refund policy.
- Ohio requires timeshare resellers to be licensed with the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Real Estate, regardless of where your timeshare is located. Go to /www.com.ohio.gov/real/ and use the “Lookup a License” tool.