Phoenix (Friday, March 8, 2013) – As part of Consumer Protection Week, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is offering tips and resources related to home buying, timeshare scams and a consumer’s rights when facing foreclosure.
“During tough economic times, many consumer issues arise related to the property we own,” said Attorney General Horne. “Whether you’re purchasing a home, selling a timeshare or facing foreclosure, be sure to do your homework and research your options to ensure a smooth transaction, no matter the business you are conducting.”
Information, including resources and contact information that may be helpful, includes:
Purchasing a Home: Studies have shown that getting pre-purchase housing counseling from a HUD-approved housing counselor reduces the risk of a future foreclosure. A housing counselor can help you assess your financial situation and provide guidance before you take the leap into homeownership. You can visit http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD to find a housing counselor in your area.
Selling a Timeshare: Timeshare scams are becoming a real problem throughout the country. During tough economic times, when timeshare owners may decide they can no longer afford their vacation rentals, fraudulent and deceptive schemes pop up claiming they can help owners sell their timeshares for a fee. Once consumers pay the fee, their timeshares are not sold and telephone calls and emails to the business go unanswered.
Unfortunately, the scam doesn’t always stop there. A second business may then contact the owner offering to help recover the money they lost in the first scam for yet another fee. Much like the first scam, no money is recovered and telephone calls and emails are not answered.
Be sure to check with the Arizona Department of Real Estate www.re.state.az.us to ensure the person or company offering to sell the timeshare is registered in Arizona.
Facing Foreclosure. In addition to contacting the lender, there are low or no-cost housing counselors available to help home owners understand the complexities of the process. Visit http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD to find a housing counselor or if it becomes necessary to file a complaint about a lender, consumers can visit https://www.azag.gov/foreclosure/resources or www.consumerfinance.gov.
- Don’t agree to purchase a service over the phone and request all information in writing.
- Before signing a contract or agreement, read the terms and conditions carefully.
- Beware of equity skimming scams. Don’t sign the deed to your home or timeshare over to anyone without researching the company.
- Ask for details about how your timeshare will be advertised.
- Before paying a business to file a complaint or claim on your behalf, check whether you can complete any forms on your own. If the complaint or claim will be filed with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, call (602) 542-5763 in Phoenix, (520) 628-6504 in Tucson, or toll-free (800) 352-8431. People are also encouraged to visit https://www.azag.gov/consumer for more information.