Many aspiring travelers can’t afford luxurious getaways and the timeshare industry speaks to them well. Upon purchase, most are led to believe they’re receiving a bargain. But down the road, they realize it’s not that great of a deal after all. While plenty of vacationers enjoy fractional ownership, it’s not for everyone. The problem is, it’s rather difficult to get out from under timeshare contracts. Will Sims, from Pickens County, Alabama can now attest to this. He’s currently working with an attorney after failing to receive the timeshare refund he was promised.
Sims came across the timeshare opportunity while he and his newly-wedded wife were checking into a Florida hotel prior to sailing off on a cruise for their honeymoon. But he wasn’t necessarily intrigued by the resort’s initial pitch. Matter of fact, Sims wasn’t given much of a choice but to tune into their Pompano Beach timeshare offer. “Before we could go to the hotel, we had to go to a meeting,” he recalled.
How the Timeshare Company Basically Forced the Couple to Buy
Even though the couple was abruptly forced to attend the timeshare presentation, Will and his wife didn’t want to start their trip off with conflict. They figured they’d be able to take a peak and walk away after being courteous. All they wanted to do was check into their hotel and enjoy the waking hours of their marriage. Little did they know that the inconsiderate approach was a sign for what was to come.
After telling the timeshare salesmen that fractional ownership just wasn’t for them, Sims started to notice the aggressive nature of the sale. The high pressure tactics continued even after he told them he couldn’t afford it. Sims started to realize that the only way he and his wife would get any alone time was if he were to say, “Yes.” What inevitably gave him peace of mind was the salesman’s ploy that he could process a timeshare refund within 10 days.
The buyer’s right to rescind their contract is a big reason why a majority of new fractional owners give in after long hours at the presentation. In hindsight, Sims now sees that the inconvenience really played to the timeshare’s advantage. Holding people hostage at the start of their vacation is “probably the easiest time for them to make this kind of stuff happen,” he said. “During that time I was more susceptible, I guess, to what happened.”
A Timeshare Refund Wasn’t Given During the Rescission Period.
When their honeymoon was over, Will had a chance to review the contract with family and friends. After minimal thought, he decided to dump the timeshare instead of keeping it. But the rescission process wasn’t anything like the timeshare reps made it out to be. “I tried several times to get a hold of them in that 10-day window and the only people I got a hold of told me that I got to call somebody else back. It was a very painful process,” said Sims. Although he followed the cancellation instructions to a “T,” the timeshare refund failed.
To date, Sims claims he’s already paid the resort over $12K. Now that he has legal representation, he’s trying to pursue the best course of action. At the same time, you can easily see he’s on the verge of paying his Lawyer a lot more money for no resolve. Instead of simply terminating the agreement, he’s set on making the timeshare company pay for his inconvenience. “I’d like to see me being the last one that this ever happens to,” Sims said.
Scams Are Overwhelming in the Timeshare Relief Market.
For the most part, timeshare ownership is believed to be a cost-saving, enjoyable purchase that’s fruitful year after year. Nobody signing the dotted line expects anything less. While a satisfactory experience does play out for some buyers, the exact opposite occurs for others. When disgruntled owners give us a call to talk about their regret, a common question they ask is if they should file bankruptcy to eliminate timeshare debt. While we believe this is an irrational take, we have to understand why they’re willing to take such desperate measures to get out of a timeshare agreement.
How would you feel if you thought you bought a $20,000 timeshare then later found out at the time of the mortgage maturity it was actually going to cost $55,000 due to annual fees, interest and taxes? What would you say after realizing your annual payment obligations continued for life, even after you paid off the timeshare mortgage? How would you feel if you couldn’t book your desired location, time or even something comparable to what you thought you were paying for? Let’s just say emotions run pretty high once buyers recognize the ploys. What makes matters worse is the simple fact that a majority of solutions are meant to keep timeshare owners trapped in their contract.
We Want to Help Fractional Owners Avoid Bankruptcy.
Aside from a number of devastating financial blows, these real-life experiences cause some timeshare owners to believe extreme measures are necessary. Because of what they’ve been through and all of the relief scams that flood the market, timeshare cancellation is rarely viewed as the logical solution. But it most certainly is. They just have to put the time in to find a company that actually knows how to get out of timeshare contracts and cares about their quality of life. This starts with an ability to identify scams and unfavorable outcomes, like bankruptcy.
Knowing that some fractional owners file for bankruptcy with the hopes of escaping the clutches of timeshare ownership is disheartening. Consumers should never have to think about taking such a blow just to eliminate their sense of hopelessness. But you can’t really blame them. Even though most owners aren’t interested in legally canceling their agreement, we want to help them understand why they shouldn’t file bankruptcy to eliminate timeshare debt.
If we can reach one person on the verge of making a life-altering decision, it’ll be worth it.
Is Filing Bankruptcy Over a Timeshare Worth it?
When a fractional owner starts throwing around the term “bankruptcy,” it’s pretty obvious they’ve gotten in over their head. It’s not something that’s commonly brought up in the timeshare industry until threats of a foreclosure are involved. Based on the conversations we’ve had, financial hardship is rarely the reasoning. It’s the feeling of entrapment and mistrust that provokes their desperation to get out from under the timeshare constraint.
Many don’t even know if they would qualify to wipe out the existing debt of the purchase. They simply want to stick it to the resort. While speaking to a lawyer about the legal process could be helpful, expecting a legal teams to consider your best interest is risky. If timeshare owners were to take the time to really think about the decision, would they really file bankruptcy to eliminate timeshare debt? Are they willing to deal with possible embarrassment and endure purchase limitations for the next 7-10 years?
Most people wouldn’t deem this a viable solution if they knew the facts surrounding a quality timeshare exit strategy. This is why it’s so important that you speak to legal counsel with experience with timesharing. Our timeshare cancellation services aren’t temporary fixes, we use an attorney based process that actually terminates your future obligations. It’s important to understand that bankruptcy could potentially be a temporary fix as it only eliminates past debt, not future debt. After speaking with a few of our contracted attorneys, we’ve compiled some additional reasons why it’s a bad idea to file bankruptcy to eliminate timeshare debt.
Real Attorneys with Real Outcomes for Timeshare Bankruptcy
Diving off the deep end before you know how to swim or what’s in the water is a bad idea. Educating yourself on the actualities of filing for bankruptcy is an important step that should be completed before consideration presumes. There’s no need to waste time on the pursuit of a bankruptcy claim if it’s clearly unrewarding. With that being said, here are some questions our partners wanted timeshare owners to chew on:
Do you want to accept the risk of having an inability to obtain a loan for the next 7-10 years because you filed for bankruptcy? Your ability to finance a home, motor vehicle or even a computer can be hindered due to this decision. If you’re willing to endure anything to get rid of a timeshare then there’s no reason cancellation methods should be out of the question. If you’re being stubborn due to an unfortunate encounter with an ineffective exit team, then ask yourself if protecting your pride and limiting your credit is more important than moving on for good.
Does your income even allow you to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? A lot of time and money can be wasted on a claim if you’re not even sure you can wipe out the timeshare purchase. By proceeding with the process uninformed, you may find out that you only qualify for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. This requires you to pay all or a partial amount of the debt over the next 3-5 years. Undesirable results can be the result if stubbornness is involved.
If you decide to proceed with a Chapter 7 filing and you don’t have a structured payment plan such as Chapter 13, will any of your assets be at risk? While you might successfully file bankruptcy to eliminate timeshare debt, your failure to make payments can be rather detrimental. Is there a chance you could lose your home with equity? If so, is this worth the risk to you?
Escaping a timeshare contract with a bankruptcy claim may seem advantageous to you, but it’s not as simple as you might think. While many people use bankruptcy as a way to start over, their decision usually surrounds a large failed business investment. Most people in this position aren’t left with much of a choice. Hitting the financial reset button because you feel trapped in your timeshare and are determined to get out is never a good enough reason. Especially when there are professional companies out there that truly care about helping you move on with your life.
Our Contracted Attorneys Have Additional Timeshare Advice.
While the above questions should really help you determine if you should file bankruptcy to eliminate timeshare debt, our legal partners mentioned a few more things you need to know.
Filing bankruptcy does allow you to wipe out old debt with the timeshare company, but you’re still responsible for future contractual obligations. In other words, your future debt will not be discharged and you may be required to pay for annual maintenance fees, taxes and other special assessments that accrue.
Timeshare bankruptcies will stop collection attempts and the harassment from the resort for old debt, however we provide an alternative option that inevitably blocks your timeshare company as well as third parties. Terminating the contract with a timeshare cancellation company like ours allows you to cease and desist communication while eliminating future obligations.
While bankruptcy may solve your current problems, there is a chance your heirs may run into inconveniences. Again, since the contract is perpetual (forever binding), it’s hard to tell who the timeshare company will come after for their losses.
Eliminating Timeshare Debt Doesn’t Have to be Complicated.
At VOC, we take pride in offering professional services that consider the owner’s experience leading up to their decision to contact us. Unlike most exit companies in the timeshare industry, we make sure potential clients don’t feel pressured to get rid of timeshares. There are always additional ways to try to work things out with the resort.
If you feel as though you’ve tried everything and you’re ready to cancel your timeshare, we’d be more than happy to offer you a free consultation. In the meantime, we hope this article helped you understand why you should never file bankruptcy to eliminate timeshare debt. In the end, terminating the agreement for good will inevitably help you move on.
In recent years, consumer-focused websites and programs have expanded their investigative efforts on timeshare fraud. Timeshare relief has deservedly received special attention. Although a decrease in criminal activity within the industry will take time, a strong message is being sent. In the past, it’s taken a multitude of complaints to bring attention to a typical timeshare property resale scam. But today, different platforms are working together, for the consumer by studying complaint trends that help lead them to misconduct.
2019 has been a busy year for the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in this regard. They’ve made it a priority to act on the complaints they receive, especially from timeshare owners. We just published a news article covering the Bureau’s plan to target relief agencies in southwest Missouri. It’s apparent the BBB now understands just how troublesome and costly owning a timeshare can be. Like us, they too want owners to learn about deception before it’s experienced.
Portland-Area Company Fails at Selling Timeshares
At the end of May, the Northwest Pacific BBB had an alert to share with consumers as well. They’ve officially categorized M&T Property Management as an operational timeshare scam in Portland, Oregon. After investigating the agency and analyzing the lack of their rebuttals, the BBB determined M&T is simply acting as a timeshare property resale company. There’s essentially no evidence showing the company actually knows how to help timeshare owners sell their property or offload their contract.
According to the report, M&T has gone above and beyond to make their company seem real. Their website and other online profiles are full of misleading statements, inaccurate business information and phony credentials. Come to find out, the operation doesn’t even have proper licensing for property management, real estate, escrow and construction in the state of Oregon. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The BBB confirmed that M&T also stole the identity of a recently closed company in Oregon in order to deceive victims.
Even the Oregon Real Estate Agency attempted to contact M&T with no prevail. After further research, investigators believe the timeshare property resale scam is also connected to another fraudulent operation in Seattle by the name of Beach Property Management. They’re purportedly utilizing the same verbiage that M&T used on their website and in their contracts. At this point, it’s hard to tell how many co-conspirators are actually involved.
The BBB clearly wants the public to know how misleading timeshare exit fraud can be. Not every business claiming to offer real estate investment or brokerage services can actually help you. No matter how good the solution sounds, you have to be sure before handing over thousands of dollars for something you know little about. M&T Property Management hasn’t even been in business one year and their customers are already screaming fraud. With almost $37K in total losses already reported, it’s a shame so many people fell for the timeshare property resale scam.
You Can Easily Avoid Timeshare Resale Fraud.
Even when a website seems official, there are always telling signs when it comes to identifying fraud. A majority of the fractional owners that fell for this scam had some sort of interaction with the company online. If they would have looked at the online registry for the business or it’s online domain (web address), they would have found that M&T barely got started in August of 2018. Since the company didn’t possess a proven reputation for reselling timeshare properties, consumers should have already been skeptical.
No one has to be a victim of timeshare resale fraud. But consumers need to take the time to research their options before they attempt to resell a timeshare property. By doing your homework, you’ll easily find out that most timeshares are un-sellable anyways. The non-existent market should tell you all you need to know about businesses claiming to be experts at selling timeshare properties.
As of late, companies that legally terminate timeshare contracts have been placed under the microscope. More and more fractional owners are becoming wary of these types of businesses and rightfully so. While a good number of them insist on trekking forward with unethical intentions, our approach to timeshare termination has remained the same. Instead of investing in pressure-filled tactics that persuade unhappy buyers to cancel their agreements, we’ve committed to educating consumers on what they can expect from vacation ownership.
More often than not, timeshare owners are sold on resort solutions and exit services that just don’t provide them with any value. An emphasis selling and closing has become more important than customer satisfaction and the buyer’s experience. This has caused quite a bit of bitterness and distrust throughout the travel industry. Justification and finger-pointing-sessions have left owners without much to believe in. It’s one of the many reasons the outlook of timesharing remains in a constant flux.
While the inconsistency of the purchase has travelers looking elsewhere for vacations, the unpredictability of timeshare termination has owners looking to legal teams for relief. Once the purchase is deemed a mistake, many buyers immediately believe that hiring a litigation attorney is their most logical solution. But as we discussed in our last article, embarking on a legal battle can be devastating if you’re claims are vague. Suing the timeshare is extremely risky when you don’t have a bounty of evidence and a lawyer that specializes in timeshare litigation. But all hope shouldn’t be lost if you can’t stick it to the resort with a lawsuit. There’s nothing wrong with legally walking away and moving on.
Ultimately, your ability to successfully get out of a timeshare depends on who you choose to help you. If you find yourself trapped in vacation ownership, the best thing you can do is hire a proven company that takes pride in providing quality timeshare termination services. But in order to find a business of integrity, you have to know how to look.
Since the thought of navigating timeshare exit fraud can be intimidating, we thought it’d be beneficial to expand on the characteristics of quality timeshare relief. Once you understand the advantages of hiring an attorney based company, like ours, you’ll realize the choice to legally terminate timeshare contracts isn’t all it’s made out to be.
1. Receive Full Disclosure Regarding Timeshare Relief.
When it comes to defining a quality relief program, disclosure is the most valuable trait. Quality operations take pride in explaining all of the options fractional owners have at their fingertips prior to reviewing the timeshare termination process. At VOC, we believe potential clients deserve to know there are opportunities to work things out with the timeshare company. But they need to know how to exhaust their efforts or they could end up making things worse.
Proven companies make time to educate owners on things the resort may pitch as a solution. They don’t smear or discredit other 3rd party services. Those with integrity simply explain the facts. Educating potential clients on all relief options, as well as past and present scams, helps them understand the pros and cons of every choice. Aside from providing clarity amidst their distress, quality termination companies are transparent with owners which allows them to build rapport. At the end of the day, we’re all on the same team and have the same goal.
At VOC, it’s important that unhappy buyers feel comfortable talking to us about their purchase. We want to ensure they can trust that we’re not going to pressure them into terminating the timeshare agreement prematurely. If they have a desire to cancel, the have to be confident in our process and the staff that manages it. Trusting the end result is a lot easier when doubt is eliminated on the front end. Establishing and sustaining a positive relationship throughout the experience is a huge advantage for not just the owner, but everyone involved.
2. Timeshare Termination Experience is Invaluable.
Over the years, we’ve been able to relate well with timeshare owners because of the amount of time we’ve spent getting to know previous clients. Often times, there’s an element of misinformation or deceit that has affected the buyer. Learning more about how they’ve been persuaded in the past helps us present them with ways they can avoid further letdown. Asking the right questions and organizing the facts also helps us paint a clear picture that points to the best escape route. But an intimate understanding of where our clients are isn’t the only thing proven organizations should bring to the table.
The timeshare industry is always evolving. Buyouts, bankruptcies and mergers can be confusing for many owners. These changes, for the most part, come at the buyer’s expense. While some people just need help navigating the arena, others have found their timeshare to be useless after pastime enjoyment. Not every relief company has the knowledge to provide assistance in these situations. Since owners are continuously mocked by timeshare representatives while their fees increase, they deserve an experienced outlet to turn to.
Some Companies Claim to Legally Terminate Timeshares But Never Stop Selling.
A proven company will never shy away from putting their experience on display. Their credibility is important to them and it should be to you. Inexperienced operations tend to specialize in excitement and disillusion. While establishing rapport may be easy for scam artists, validating their reliability is another story. This is why we like to put our experience to work for the consumer.
Think of it like hiring a tax specialist instead of preparing and filing taxes on your own. People in this profession eat, sleep and breathe their competency. It’s what they’re best at. Families and businesses often become susceptible to tax penalties or realize money’s been left on the table after filing themselves. Using a CPA can save them an awful lot of time, money and even grief. While any tax professional is an improvement over DIY, their level of experience is always considered during the selection process. After talking to different CPA’s, you can usually tell who’s more experienced. If the price was the same, why would you ever go with the inexperienced option?
The same should be considered when selecting a timeshare cancellation company. Our founding partners came from the travel industry and used to specialize in providing a travel solution that was in direct competition to the timeshare industry. They saw first hand how timeshare companies were taking advantage of buyers and developed a passion for helping them. The driving force behind VOC has never been money.
If you analyze our company makeup, all legal processes and documentation derive from real estate litigation and class action success in the timeshare realm. Each of our contracted attorneys also has extensive litigation experience within the timeshare industry. We believe this proves to consumers that we’re competent and reliable in our ability to legally terminate timeshare contracts. It’s important to us. We only care about creating advantages for fractional owners and we’re not interested in additional revenue streams that take away from our client’s experience. Hiring a company with this level of experience and standards is invaluable.
3. Be Prepared for the Aftermath of Your Decision to Cancel.
Many people don’t realize how overwhelming terminating a timeshare contract can be. But it’s not always because exit companies are aggressive and demanding. The backlash from the timeshare itself often bombards those looking to get rid of the purchase. Scare tactics are commonly used by the resort so timeshare owners will change their mind or second guess their judgement. The abolishment of a perpetual agreement that’s set to pay them tens of thousands of dollars over the next few years isn’t something they take lightly.
If a timeshare owner isn’t prepared, they can easily be swayed back into the prison cell of their agreement. Sadly, many on the verge of timeshare freedom are sucked back in by another “can’t miss” offer that inevitably falls apart. Keeping clients focused on the end goal is a big responsibility for timeshare exit companies. The good ones are able to guide owners through the muddy waters.
Once the resort knows one of their owners is working with a reputable termination company, they’ll likely do what they can to make the process difficult for you. Timeshare employees have even been known to make threats for the sole purpose of earning a commission to retain a disgruntled owner and keep them in compliance with paying mandated, increasing fees. Collection attempts and judgement claims can be a big distraction to owners. The ability to anticipate deceit and block malicious attempts is extremely beneficial to those looking to cancel.
Aside from full disclosure on the front end, we focus on legally protecting our client’s rights while battling anticipated harassment from the get go. Not only do we communicate with those looking to further mislead them, we react to the backlash of the overpowering resort. Any company that says they can legally terminate timeshares should be able to do the same. The aftermath of the decision to cancel can be disheartening when owners are forced to face it alone. Communicating what they can expect and shielding them from the abuse is a pivotal characteristic of a quality relief company. Who wouldn’t want assistance here?
4. Proven Companies Have an Abundance of Resources.
A number of resources are required when it comes to successfully terminating timeshare agreements. It’s why so many exit companies fail. Competing with timeshare conglomerates is tough to do when you’re a small operation or start up business. Tools, in the form of technology, processes and strategic partnerships, play a big role in a company’s ability to legally terminate timeshare contracts. While it may be difficult for fractional owners to determine who actually has superior systems in place, blogs like these should help them ask the right questions.
Over the past half decade, we’ve spent a lot of time building an ironclad process that specifically services our clients in difficult timeshare situations. We only utilize proven methods and don’t offer “a mirage of hope” like other operations do. Consumers need to understand that you can’t just make the decision to cancel fractional ownership with anyone. An inexperienced company may have a cheaper price tag, but the end result is rarely favorable. While an attorney’s high price tag may lead you to believe the service is high-quality, that’s not always the case.
Although a majority of 3rd party agencies do a great job of masking their deficiencies, there are ways to pinpoint deceit. Understanding how to identify scams while discovering competence can drastically enhance your overall experience. The last thing you probably want is added regret to your current remorse.
If you’re ready to move on from the hard truth of your purchase, then consider finding a company with the above benefits. Full disclosure and access to an experienced company that cares about you provides you with everything you need to legally terminate a timeshare contract. If you’d like to visit with our staff or learn more about how we get out of timeshares, you can always schedule a free consultation or proceed with the qualification form below. In the end, we hope you’re able to enjoy vacationing the way you always envisioned. Ask us how we can assist with your future travel needs as well, our goal is to build a long term relationship with our clients.
After a failed attempt to muster up some business with Vacation Consulting Services, it looks as though Brian Scroggs is already ruffling additional feathers. His newest venture, Real Travel, LLC, recently received notice that a consumer protection lawsuit has been filed against them by Arkansas Attorney General (AG). According to Leslie Rutledge and her office, Scroggs and his partner Bart Bowe violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act while operating out of Bentonville, Arkansas.
After receiving over a dozen complaints regarding failed cancellation services, the AG believes Real Travel duped their customers out of nearly $140K by means of aggressive sales tactics and disturbing levels of deception. Her conclusion alleges, “Real Travel preyed on consumers who were desperate to get rid of timeshares that they no longer wanted or could not afford.”
This is a common practice in the timeshare exit realm. Every month, thousands of buyers are led to believe that canceling their timeshare is an easy transaction – it’s not. But not everyone knows how to legally get out of timeshare contracts. Inexperienced companies full of empty guarantees only add to the loss of a failed timeshare purchase. Real Travel is just another relief program creating negative headlines for the industry. This is unfortunate as it discourages those dealing with a difficult situation from seeking legitimate help.
Once the operation was able to hook potential prospects with an enticing offer, they went in for the kill. According to consumer complaints and the lawsuit itself, Real Travel told their victims they could transfer, void or legally cancel their unsavory timeshare for a price that ranged from $5-18K. While we’re unsure of how the pricing was formulated, many scams use premeditated questions to elicit information from consumers. This allows them to maximize their offers. They know how to find out how much money you’re willing to spend on cancellation. If you tell them you have $10K laying around, predators will more than likely ask for $12K.
This is why timeshare owners need to know how to prepare for these types of situations. Fraudulent operations will use anything and everything against the consumer. But sometimes they don’t have to. In this scenario, Real Travel stuck to the simple approach of over promising and under delivering. Scroggs’s experience supplied the operation with a strong sales pitch while their 100% guarantees established a layer of trust – even if it wasn’t real.
In the end, Real Travel didn’t even come close to honoring their promises with some clients. While it’s common to have a few disgruntled customers here and there, a multitude of people claiming the same thing screams misconduct. To date, companies led by Brian Scroggs have left dozens of fractional owners with the burden of their timeshare after promising them a way out of their contract.
Victims Still Waiting to be Repaid for Their Timeshare Expenses.
Not only have owners failed to receive any type of restitution or refund for the failed cancellation, they’ve also been stuck with additional penalties from the resort. Maintenance costs and late fees have only added salt to their wounds. Attempts to contact Real Travel and resolve disputes have had no prevail.
The Attorney General is asking the court to impose civil penalties on Bowe and Scroggs while requiring them to repay victims for legal fees and the cost of doing business with Real Travel. She’d also like to permanently prohibit them from performing any timeshare related services in the state of Arkansas.
When asked about her reasoning, Rutledge said, “Sadly, good people were left with unwanted timeshares and thousands of dollars in fees for services not provided.” Since Scroggs is known for his public rebuttals, it’ll be interesting to see what he has to say about his latest battle with the law.