Posted: 5/11/2017

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Dean Howard Properties (DHP) is making the rounds, offering to sell their timeshares to timeshare owners with property in Mexico. The company makes offers that are more than ideal and some owners are enticed to sign contracts with DHP. They initially claim owners will have no out-of-pocket expenses. But DHP shortly thereafter begins asking for various fees, including transfer fees, taxes, maintenance fees, etc., which quickly add up to thousands of dollars. Sadly, DHP doesn’t want to help owners’ resell their property—they are really out to steal their money.

Dean Howard Properties

Here’s the Catch:  Dean Howard Properties (DHP) is making the rounds, offering to sell their timeshares to timeshare owners with property in Mexico. The company makes offers that are more than ideal and some owners are enticed to sign contracts with DHP. They initially claim owners will have no out-of-pocket expenses. But DHP shortly thereafter begins asking for various fees, including transfer fees, taxes, maintenance fees, etc., which quickly add up to thousands of dollars. Sadly, DHP doesn’t want to help owners’ resell their property—they are really out to steal their money.

DHP’s website touts, “No empty promises or inflated expectations…” Some owners that have trusted DHP to fulfill its agreement disagree. A Wyoming couple was duped into wiring over $6,000 to the company, but soon became suspicious of the offer when they were asked for more and more money. The couple was approached with an offer to purchase their timeshare in Mexico for over $24,000. Initially they were told no fees or expenses would be incurred. However, they were then told they needed to pay for unpaid maintenance fees and a fee to the timeshare company for selling the property. The request seemed legitimate and money was transferred to a holding company, Gains & Holdings Equity, LLC, an affiliate of DHP. Although they were told this was all they would have to pay, DHP then “discovered” the Mexican government wanted tax money from the sale in the amount of $7,000. When the couple explained they did not have the money to pay the taxes and instead wanted to cancel the deal, DHP was suddenly able to get the so called “buyers” to pay the taxes.

Thinking that everything was satisfactory, the couple agreed to proceed with the sale and awaited their payment. The couple was then informed that needed to pay DHP’s commission up-front, plus a new closing fee which they just found out about. This was enough to make the couple pause and look more closely into things. Instead of sending more money, they contacted their timeshare company and confirmed they didn’t even know who DHP was. They also had never heard of the Mexican government collecting taxes and warned the couple not to pay them any money. Unfortunately, they were already out of $6,000, but at least they weren’t conned into sending more. They have since filed a complaint against DHP and Gain’s & Howard Equity, LLC, which is also believed to be a fraudulent operation.

Other victims have regrettably lost more money to DHP. One victim contacted Business Consumer Alliance to alert the public that the company is a scam and that they lost over $30,000. Others have also left comments stating the same thing about DHP on BCA’s Ask the Experts forum.

The company claims to be licensed and states they have 12 years of experience in the timeshare industry. We were unable to verify this information. Their sales representatives claim to be licensed brokers and even give false information, claiming the identity of real licensed brokers in an effort to appear legitimate. After conducting research and contacting the brokers named by DHP, we find they are not affiliated with DHP or their offer.

Kim’s advice:  Timeshare resale scams have been around for some time. It is vital to always do your research before agreeing to any contract for service. Check out the business thoroughly by obtaining a BCA report where you can find consumer reviews, complaints, and other valuable information about a business, as well as advice about the industry. Several consumers utilized the Ask the Experts forum to inquire about Dean Howard Properties after they received calls from their representatives. Check the Internet for other information on the business that could tip you off to a scam or potential problems. It pays—or in this case saves—to do as much research as possible.

Many of these types of scams set up appealing websites to persuade consumers to do business with them. You can often find that some of the scams use the same information across various websites promoting their services. While researching information on DHP, I conducted a Google search of portions of the company’s website and found other websites with the same verbiage, offering similar services that were reported as scams.

While there are legitimate companies that offer timeshare sales, brokering, and transfer services, you have to be careful that the business and representatives are abiding by local laws. Timeshare sales, brokers, and reseller laws vary by state, so check with your local authority to verify that the business is operating legally. If the company claims to be incorporated or licensed, verify the information.

Before signing a contract with a reseller, review the terms and conditions and make sure you agree with them. If the deal isn't what you expected or wanted, don't sign the contract. Negotiate changes or find another reseller. The contract should include the services the reseller will perform; the fees, commissions, and other costs you must pay and when; whether you can rent or sell the timeshare on your own at the same time the reseller is trying to sell your unit; the length or term of the contract to sell your timeshare; and who is responsible for documenting and closing the sale. Consider using a licensed timeshare appraisal service to get an idea of the value of the timeshare you're selling.  

For more tips and information to identify resale scams, check out BCA’s report on Dean Howard Properties. Remember, fraud can happen to anyone, even if precautions are taken. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

About Business Consumer Alliance

Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.

Tags: Kim's Catch, scam, Dean Howard Properties, timeshares

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