The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning those getting rid of timeshare properties of timeshare scams.

According to the BBB, complaints about the timeshare industry are up by more than 40%, based on 2010 estimates. They said that timeshare owners who are desperate to sell their timeshare vacation property, and get out of their timeshare contract and maintenance fees, are being targeted by companies that say they have buyers.

These companies will require a seller to pay up front fees, up to several thousands of dollars. After the payment, the companies disappear and are never heard from again.

BBB Spokesman Alison Southwick said “Because of the economy, many timeshare owners want to cash out now but no one is buying. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous timeshare resellers are taking advantage of the situation by misleading timeshare owners into paying thousands of dollars in the hopes of unloading their timeshare quickly.”

In a release from the BBB, they named several companies which have earned F ratings. They said the following companies convinced timeshare owners that they had an interested buyer. But after thousands in upfront fees and closing costs were charged to the owner, the timeshare property remains unsold. The companies named in the release are:  Resorts Condo Management, Creative Vacation Solutions, Platinum Property Exchange and Premier Timeshare Solutions.

In the release, the BBB said that sellers should: Use a business you can trust (check the businesses reliability rating at Confirm licensing requirements (confirm addresses, what state it does business in, learn whether staff is licensed to sell real estate where timeshare property is located, and verify this information with state licensing board). Get facts on the figures (including commissions, escrows, charges for advertising or up front listing, and what is refundable). Be wary of upfront fees (consider opting for a company that offers to sell for a fee only after the timeshare is sold). And don’t fall for a hardsell or a deal that sounds to good to believe (don’t agree to anything over the phone, ask for written materials, take the time to think it over and don’t be pressured).