Friday, May 15, 2009

Timeshares Resale | LGM | MaxMega

Timeshares Resale | LGM | MaxMega

The questionable timeshare resale deals related to LGM, Mexmega Group ( Colco Ventures ) was mentioned in Today Weekend Singapore issue, 16-17 May 2009 (page 4).

According to Today's report customers wanting, to avoid paying hefty maintenance fees, were promised timeshare contract termination. What they got instead was another "big hole in the pocket" contract (after coughing up absurd top up fees which promises to make the hapless timeshare owners' contract "valid" and eligible for "cashback").

In one case cited in the Today's article, a retiree Wong Liang Yong, 69, had spent close to $80,000 since 1996 when he bought two timeshare "investments" for $25,000. As he found the $1,000 maintenance fees costly to upkeep, he was agreeable to terminate his timeshares as LGM had promised him a "cashback" of around $25,000 within five years. The catch: pay LGM $10,000, which he did. Unfortunately, the deal was disallowed by MAS, according to sources.

Mr Wong went on to sign two more timeshare resale contracts. In February 2009, another timeshare firm, Maxmega Group promised him a cashback of $104,000 within 18 months, but he had to fork out $35,000 first, which he unfortunately did again.

Two weeks after signing the contracts, Maxmega told him that "they had problems with LGM as it had been suspended".

"They said Maxmega is an agent for Colco Ventures - a firm that has taken over all the timeshares all over the world, and it could not use LGM services. So it had to charge me some $200,000 liability for subscription fees," he said.

Mr Wong became upset when the company threatened to sue him if he did not pay. He then contacted other timeshare victims. On Friday, 8 May 2009, the 16 unhappy timeshare victims went to the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), but only six filed complaints against Maxmega.

They are hoping Case can help them recover the money paid to Max-mega. Case will be sending a Voluntary Compliance Agreement to Maxmega and will investigate whether Maxmega has breached the Consumer Protection Fair Trading Act. If so, Case will file an injunction against Maxmega.

If this fails to get back their money, the timeshare victims might consider "legal action" against Maxmega.

Since 2008, Case has received a total of 27 complaints against timeshare companies totaling $791,000 in value.

In recent months, according to my scam-watch sources, there have been an increase in the number of calls for newer companies claiming that they've got "a limited number of very serious immediate" buyers for your unwanted timeshare contracts. Run a company check of these companies via Registry of Companies (ROC) to make sure they are not a $2 (or even a $50,000) company.

These timeshare resale companies claim that they have cheques issued by reputable banks ready for your to collect upon the sale. Such claims should be verified with the banks concerned.

They will claim that they are a member of OTE (Organisation for Timeshare in Europe). Beware, OTE no longer exists by this name and anyone claiming they are member of OTE may not know what they are talking about or are deliberately misleading you. The OTE has changed its name to Resort Development Organisation (RDO) recently.

Many of these companies know, that in a bad economy, people will be desperate to sell their burdensome timeshares. Use extreme prejudice when dealing with these people. Do not be desperate or greedy. Walk in to such resellers invitations with your eyes wide open and have a healthy dose of skepticism. Don't sign any deals on the spot. You have the right to have your proposed contract validated by a lawyer. Get details and check around, especially forums.

My lawyers say that if it is a honest-to-goodness deal, it won't be a one-sided secretive deal that will disappear the moment you walk out the door. If it is, then be prepared to walk out of a room with your cash locked up inside - the moment you walk out of the door. That is the practice with most of the timeshare resale companies in Singapore right now. Who are the good guys? I don't know. Nobody knows. Do you think you will get lucky this time? Or do you want an legally binding deal? Your call.

If you asked me, I will prefer to cut loss on my initial timeshare investment of say, $30,000 rather than keep doubling up my losses to who-knows-what amount. With $30,000, I can put food in my pantry for the next 60 years or so in today's dollars. Why re-invest junk investments?

Update July 2009: MaxMega Timeshare Seller

Timeshares Resale | LGM | MaxMega

Related Must Read Article For Your Financial Well-Being: Why Can't I Sell My Timeshares?

© - Timeshares Resale | LGM | MaxMega


Anonymous said...

I notice that LGM is mentioned and wonder if anyone still has bad experiences with them.

Yesterday i found myself at i believe the old LGM offices in Ngee Ann City. This time its a new company Smiths and Barron selling not timeshare but members only travel service. Same selling techniques as LGM with "free" offers. Then the "investment" and its promise is wholesale discounted prices on air tickets, hotels, resorts etc. Claims to have 150,000 members worldwide and 15,000 in Singapore. Claims MPs, doctors, lawyers are members.

Same person behind it : Dwayne Hill. Anyone signed up - what is your experience? Are their wholesale prices legitimate?

I have 5 days to say NO.
Thanks Doubtful

comSG said...

Sorry for the belated reply. Been very busy lately and did not check the blog recently.

As mentioned in my other articles on timeshares, here is a summary of previous tips on what to do at timeshare presentations:

1. there is no time expiry on timeshare / vacation plans. This is a high pressure tactic to get you to sign up before you had time to think and check out their claims. They will always welcome your business whether it is one week or one year after the offer, assuming they will be in business that long.

2. take no claims by them at face value. Always ask for ways you can verify their claims through independent means (third party sources).

3. Always ask yourself these questions throughout the presentation:

a) Do I really need this? If so, why?
b) Are there alternative means for me to achieve these objectives? (eg in this case, what's wrong with the service provided by the regular registered travel agents?)
c) Am I really saving money with this plan? (Do the maths)
d) How reliable and long-life is this company for me to make such a long term (lifetime) commitment?
e) Be in control of the presentation. Ask lots of questions and then leave without making any commitment. Check all facts before you even remotely consider making a commitment.
f) Ask them for documentation outlining their plans / offer. If they don't put their claims on paper, you don't have any legal recourse if you are unhappy with their service in future.
h) If you desperately want to buy their plan, ask them to show you their "cooling off period" clause in the contract. If there is none, you are on your own, buddy. All legal timeshares contracts in Singapore require a cooling off period stipulated in the contract (CASE).

Unknown said...

My mum got into a timeshare thing with Garraway, who is now closed down.

Now theres a timeshare reseller Landmark & Deloitte that is proposing to get back the market value of the timeshare, provided we fork out half of it which consists of legal fees. I find this dodgy, is there a way to not pay off the legal fees?
I don't want to have anything to do with this timeshare business anymore; as they threaten that my mum has to pay off yearly maintenance fees.