|What is a "Viking Ship
A common scheme in the Timeshare Industry today that is currently the topic of much debate!
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Your Timeshare On A Viking Ship
No, it's not a real Viking ship. A Viking ship is the name given to a shell company, generally a company formed with no assets to it's name. Now, here's where your time share comes in.
You've heard the radio spots or gotten the phone call to come meet at a hotel or restaurant and be prepared for XYZ Company to make you an offer for your time share. It's a hoax. (wow, bet you didn't see that one coming did you??). When you get there, there is no offer to buy your time share. Instead, you're given a talking to designed to scare you. You're told that your time share is worthless (depending on what you own, that's extremely unlikely). You're told you'll never be able to sell it (that also is not true, otherwise we wouldn't be in business for the past 25 years!). You're told that your children will inherit the time share and be stuck with the never-ending maintenance fees (that also is not true). In other words, you're fed a line of bull designed to make you think you have a very serious problem. It's a problem you didn't know you had until just a few minutes ago!
Now why do they do this? Wanna make a guess there's some money in it for them? You'd be guessing right. These professional slime balls are now going to save you (again, what a surprise...). They will take over your time share from you so that you're no longer saddled with that awful monster. And all you have to do is pay them an upfront fee to do so.
So you've just signed over your perfectly good time share and also paid your hard earned money to do so! All because of a "problem" you didn't have just a few hours ago! So what happens to your time share and where's that Viking ship come in?
So you've just signed over your perfectly good time share and also paid between $500 and $5000 to do so! All because of a "problem" you didn't have just a few hours ago! So what happens to your time share and where's that Viking ship come in?
Well, let's assume first that they really did take the time share out of your name. You see, that's an assumption because many of these crooks take your money and then do nothing. Next January when you get your maintenance fee bill in they tell you that it was just a misunderstanding and to ignore the bill. Three months later you have a collection agency hounding you and you begin to realize what happened to you. When you call that company again, they're long gone.....with your money. Oh, did you not realize that the company did not have a real estate license, and so was not legally doing business?
So let's assume that they really did take the time share out of your name. The time share goes into the shell company, let's call it Viking Express Timeshares. When the maintenance fees come due again Viking Express gets the bill. And does nothing with it. Zero. And they never intended to do anything with it. After a while, the resort has to sue for foreclosure to get the time share back. In the meantime, no one has been paying the maintenance fees and the resort suffers for it. That, my friends, is a Viking ship. No assets so the company cannot be sued. It's normally an LLC so no real person can be sued. How big a problem is this? Thus far the estimate is about $8,000,000 in unpaid maintenance fees for the industry.
Why is this a bad thing?
This is a problem that's been plaguing the industry for the past few years and now something is being done about it. And it's a problem you want to be aware of should you ever decide to go down this road. Because many in the industry want to come after YOU! Recently legislation has been introduced in Florida (once Florida passes time share legislation it's common for other states to simply copy it and make it their law as well) that would hold YOU responsible if your time share ends up on a Viking ship. The proposed legislation states that you participated because you knew or should have known that the sale had fraudulent intentions. Thankfully, that part of the bill was stuck. A consumer cannot know that the sleazy con artist they're talking to has no intention of doing anything responsible with the time share. It would have put an undue burden on the consumer. But this is just one more reason why it's important that you do business ONLY with a licensed real estate company. A licensed company is under the watchful eyes of the state in which they're licensed. While it's not impossible for them to do the same thing, it's very unlikely.
So what are the resorts doing about this? Well, a major lawsuit was just filed in California which has the entire industry taking notice. This is the first time, that we're aware of, that the resorts are fighting back. Now, obviously one can't assume that everyone or anyone is guilty. That's for a judge or jury to decide. But this is something you want to be aware of. Best advice: Don't go to these meetings. Nothing good comes out of them. Here's a list of the players involved in the suit. Take a look and see if you've been in contact with any of them:
Americana Vacation Club vs Poy Developers LLC - TUGBBS Forum Discussion Thread about this Lawsuit
The Author of the above article is a Licensed Timeshare Real Estate broker (no upfront fees!) and can be contacted here:
Tom Tubbs, Broker, R.N.G.
Island Consulting Realty
800-809-6020 or 941-922-3808
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