The Acadia Village Resort is Leasing Back Timeshare Intervals From the City of Ellsworth.

The Acadia Village Resort is Leasing Back Timeshare Intervals From the City of Ellsworth.

When vacation owners walk away from resort obligations or legally cancel the contract altogether, most don’t realize the impact it has on the city in which the interval is hosted. A number of towns across our country have suffered from the inadequacies of timeshare travel. In recent years, the Acadia Village Resort, a once coveted property that’s located just south of Graham Lake in Maine, has not only struggled to retain timeshare owners, but attract them as well. This has caused the city of Ellsworth to seriously consider chasing timeshare companies out of town. 

Timeshares Can Make or Break the Economy in Small Towns.

But before explaining their reasoning or what’s been proposed, we have to understand how bad business by timeshare companies can handicap an economy. When it comes to The Acadia Village’s timeshare structure, each week (interval) that’s sold for every condo is considered its own individual property. Since the resort was constructed with 39 timeshare units, that means there are over 2,000 available weekly intervals. Each of which comes with their own tax bills and deeds. When these aren’t filled or being fulfilled, municipalities are left with years of unpaid taxes. 

In Ellsworth, city officials have been facing hundreds of foreclosures after acting as realtors just to acquire the abandoned, dwindling timeshare units. They’re tired of cleaning up the mess and simply want to revitalize tourism in the area by providing travelers with quality lodging that makes sense. “We own upwards of 300 timeshare units,” said City Manager David Cole. “This is not our business to be in. We’ve found ourselves marketing them on the city website and the scroll. We’re trying to figure out ways to move these units. The primary objective is getting them back on the tax rolls.” Now that they have a little leverage in the situation, the city is contemplating what to do with it.

The Community Wants to Get it Right.

In their most recent meeting, the city’s councilors listened to a number of testimonies by some of the resort’s owners and staff. Here, they confirmed they can’t hold dissatisfied timeshare owners responsible when they feel as though they’ve been scammed. So, they wanted to figure out how everyone could win. Even though the city of Ellsworth could have easily implemented an ordinance that held the timeshare company liable for the tax burden, they unanimously approved a plan to lease the foreclosed units back to Acadia Village in exchange for an agreed share of profits. 

While the community thinks the Resort is holding the town back, they believe Acadia Village can help them get tourists back so the bustling economy returns. “You’d still be engaging in the foreclosure process; the management of the units, however, would still be transferred over to Acadia Village,” says John Hamer, the attorney representing Ellsworth. 

He continued, “If one of the units were to be sublet, Acadia Village would keep 25 percent of the proceeds while the rest would be remitted to the city. That split would be “50/50 in the case of a sale,” he said. “This would be a long-term type of lease to see whether Acadia Village is able to do better marketing, perhaps, than the city. It’s the marketing effort that’s most important to the city.” Since city officials aren’t equipped to successfully market the weekly intervals, they’re counting on the timeshare resort to step up their game.

“If they’re able to collect enough taxes, enough money to cover all the taxes, then everyone’s happy, the taxes are paid,” said Hamer. “Unfortunately, if there’s a case where they’re not able to collect the total amount of taxes due for all the timeshare units, the managing entity would be required to make up the difference.” We’ll keep you posted on how it all plays out. But if history continues to repeat itself, the city of Ellsworth could be in a worse position than when they started. Sounds an awful lot like most fractional owners.

4 Timeshare Lies That Resorts Commonly Tell Potential Buyers.

4 Timeshare Lies That Resorts Commonly Tell Potential Buyers.

For those that have bought a timeshare, the ownership experience can carry quite the mixed bag of emotions. People either enjoy it or they regret the decision. Truth be told, it all starts with the sales presentation. When buyers are fully aware of all the purchase entails, it makes it easier to find contentment. But when they’re sold on false hopes, then higher costs and minimal availability, regret tends to be the result. When a salesman from the timeshare lies about the reality of the product while leaving out pertinent information about the contract, buyers feel rather forsaken to say the least.

When you think about it, buying a timeshare is no different than any other large purchase. An informed decision that matches expectations will be a satisfactory one. An expensive, impulse decision that was too good to be true would leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. While it’s never a good idea to make an uninformed purchase of this magnitude (interest, fees and mortgage usually exceeds $40K), it’s hard to fault the consumer when the timeshare lies.

Misleading Consumers is Extremely Damaging.

When a retailer has the ability to lock uneducated buyers into perpetual (lifetime) agreements, a higher level of responsibility needs to be expected. If the travel opportunity is so great, then selling people on the concept shouldn’t be difficult. You shouldn’t need to lie or hide details in order to close a deal. Some people have no business owning a weekly timeshare interval. The simple fact that consumers are pressured into buying something they’re not even seeking out – for a misleading price – is downright criminal.

One unexpected expense can easily push most people over their budget and into financial hardship. So in order to help them avoid haste, we thought it was a good idea to break down four ways timeshare companies convince potential customers with lies. If you’re not aware of the strategy behind this, you could be easily swayed into a disastrous situation. No matter what the resort tells you, the signed contract terms are the only thing they’re legally bound to. Broken promises happen frequently here and if you’re unaware of common timeshare lies, misconduct is extremely difficult to prove.

aging man with beard looking borderline angry after finding out news about potential lie

Why Lies About Timeshare Travel are Common.

Timeshare sales teams know that once the rescission period (a trial period that lasts 5-7 days in most states) is over, new owners are officially bound to whatever they signed that was in writing. Any undocumented guarantees, hypothetical scenarios or suggested possibilities cease to exist. This gives customer service teams a chance to position up-sales as solutions. When the timeshare salesperson lies and the owner can’t prove it, they’re often forced to spend more money just to make the purchase worth it

When they can’t use the property the way they envisioned, many find themselves at the mercy of the resort. It’s hard for them to say “No” even when they don’t have the money because thousands of dollars are already going to waste. Pride and hope often gets in the way here. So, preventing a bad decision starts with asking the right questions. Once you know how and why the salesman of a timeshare lies to you, it’ll be easier for you to identify deceit, confidently say “no” and walk away. Hopefully this article equips you to act accordingly.

Lie #1: Cheap Travel Options Are Available.

When it comes to assessing the sales strategies in the timeshare marketplace, the ideal target audience is pretty clear. Resorts usually crave to speak to those who rarely even think about traveling or lavish vacations. These groups of people tend to be 35 and older with an average annual income of $50K. Most of which aren’t privy to the history of timeshare travel and don’t have a lot of extra funds laying around for a nice family vacation every year. 

So why do they target people with limited funds and zero travel aspirations? Because the timeshare lies about the product being an affordable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that isn’t actually out of reach. They know how to make it seem like it’s a deal not worth passing up by leaving out potential limitations, costs and fees. But first, they have to gain their victim’s trust by showing them a smashing good time.

senior citizens jumping up in the air on rocks by seashore vacation front lured by timeshare lies throwing hat in air

Creating Appeal Before the Deal

Every year, timeshare companies advertise free gifts in order to lure hundreds of thousands of ideal customers to their destination resorts. The only thing they require is that each guest attends (or endures) a “brief” timeshare presentation. Wining and dining consumers that rarely experience a pampered lifestyle creates an uncommon sense of euphoria. 

This opens a consumer’s mind to possibilities. It’s like getting your spouse drunk to elicit a reaction that benefits you. By the time attendees are told an affordable getaway is at their fingertips, the excitement of the new experience blinds them from their intuition. In the midst of bliss, escaping for a week all of a sudden becomes appealing.

Undisclosed Dollar Amounts.

In reality, buying a timeshare is rarely what it seems. Far too many people end up finding this out the hard way. During the sale, specific number amounts are normally highlighted or pointed out in order to mislead the buyer. What tends to be left out are annual maintenance fees, potential special assessments, interest and even taxes. What was said to be $359/month all of a sudden becomes $525/month after the first year is all said and done. That’s $6,500 and an unknown liability cost for mediocre accommodations for a week. Does that sound like an affordable travel alternative to you? Since maintenance fees rise every year and special assessments are spontaneous, there’s no telling how much the overall cost will be. 

When the purchase sends a buyer into financial hardship, additional costs and penalties can devastate their livelihood. Something that was sold as a way to bring the family closer together can end up tearing them apart. Even if the timeshare lies and claims the total cost won’t exceed $19K, most vacation owners end up paying close to $41K by the time they’re repayment term ends. This is assuming all payments were made on time. It also doesn’t consider the simple fact buyers are on the hook for maintenance and assessment costs for life. So, the true “all in cost” (at maturity) is closer to $56K.

Timeshare Lies Prove to be Costly.

When it’s all said and done, forking over six figures for an annual trip isn’t unrealistic. Even for a median income household. This is crazy to think when far cheaper options are available. If buyers knew the cost would play out this way, it’s safe to say most would have walked away. But since they were told they could afford it and lied to about the financial commitment, many are forced to adapt to a financially handicapped situation. All for the sake of a few thousand dollars in commissions paid to a sales representative with no conscience.

pointing fingers like guns sales teams for timeshare companies confidently lie about sales packages to consumers

Lie #2: Timeshares Are Investment Opportunities.

Since we’ve discussed this a number of times in other articles, we’re going to keep this short and to the point. A timeshare is not an asset, it’s a liability. Think of it like leasing a car. You can’t resell the vehicle and it’s only costing you money to use it. There isn’t much that’s advantageous about it from an investor’s standpoint. The fact of the matter is, timeshares hold zero resale value – now and in the foreseeable future. If anything, they’re depreciating faster than ever before due to improved travel options and other advancements that the timeshare industry is failing to adapt to.

Buying a vacation interval isn’t even comparable to the purchase of a new car that depreciates when you drive it off the lot. It never carries any value. The market is so dense and competitive that it’s nearly impossible to ever even get in front of someone looking to rent or buy one. So when the timeshare lies and mentions resale or rental as a fallback or investment option, don’t believe it. A weekly interval should never be mistaken for a business opportunity.

Supplemental Pipe Dreams.

The resort wants you to believe that the more you buy the more you’ll be able to make. The low risk, high reward sales pitch works when people think they can earn supplemental income while vacationing for free. Especially those with limited incomes and not a lot of spare change. It’s extremely appealing to them and often used to combat their initial remorse. But a mediocre interval during a limited week will never be able to compete with timeshare marketing strategies or premium vacation homes that are visibly listed on AirBnB or similar.

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Lie #3: Booking Priority and Convenient Availability.

One of the biggest lies timeshare companies tell involves availability. Nearly every day, we talk to someone that was told a specific week or destination was going to be available and it wasn’t. It’s just another way sales teams use verbal affirmations to get people to sign the dotted line. Buyers that are on the fence about the purchase usually want certain guarantees before agreeing to the deal. When they’re able to lock in a date that the entire family would appreciate, the pot becomes too sweet to pass up.

But the Actual Deal is Usually Sour.

In reality, first dibs for bookings almost always go to third party online travel retailers like Expedia and Priceline. Although new owners may have been led to believe they had priority booking, it’s highly unlikely. You’d have to make a substantial investment to guarantee a specific date – at which point you are drastically overpaying for something you can reserve through one of the aforementioned third parties. Resorts profit far more from retail travelers during peak seasons. They’re not going to hand over these dates to clients that are already obligated to pay.

If the buyer doesn’t figure this out within the first week, the trial period will end and they’ll be stuck with limited dates and destinations for good. Misleading statements and guarantees about availability can really put a damper on the entire experience for the consumer. Especially when the scheduling department for the timeshare lies further by claiming another vacation owner booked the week first. Ironically, this sets the resort up nicely to pitch an upgrade for the desired dates.

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Lie #4: “Beneficial Interests” Add to the Family Legacy.

If you stay at a timeshare presentation long enough, sales teams know how to start tugging on your heart strings. After a few hours they start trying to make attendees feel as though they’re letting loved ones down by passing up an amazing opportunity they may never come across again. Whether they’re referring to children, extended family members or a close group of friends; the timeshare company knows how to pull information out of you and use it against you.

A Legacy Pitch is a Red Flag.

Telling a proud father that his kids deserve an annual trip is a good way to chip away at the sale. One of the more famous ways they go about doing this is what’s called a “legacy pitch.” This leads potential buyers to believe they’ll be able to leave their kids a piece of vacation property (otherwise known as “beneficial interest”) for future use once they pass away. This tends to be pretty convincing for aging couples nearing the end of their lives.

Unfortunately, it’s just another way the timeshare lies about the actualities of the bargain. While the offer is normally sold as a points program through a trust, in most cases, the contract language states the owner doesn’t actually own anything at all. The trust owned by the timeshare does. However, the owner is on the hook for the mortgage, maintenance and assessment fees. What ends up happening is, the children of the deceased buyer end up absorbing the burden down the road and the resort begins requesting liability payments from them.

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Avoid the Lies and Focus on the Facts.

At the end of the day, the only reason a timeshare should be purchased is for the travel experience. However, participating in minimal research and simple comparisons will show this to be a poor financial decision. While the purchase is sold as an affordable expedition with ideal dates that are too good to pass up – you must understand that you’re paying a premium to vacation this way. Nothing is guaranteed unless it is in writing. If you feel as though your emotions and personal relationships are being used to leverage your decision, it’s always best to walk away.

The truth is, it’s very hard to identify timeshare lies and deception at the point of sale. But when you know what to ask and how to confirm pertinent details, you’ll always be able to make a confident decision. The last thing you should want is to enter a never-ending sales cycle that continues to prey on your desperation with false hopes. If you’re stuck in an unfavorable agreement, we’d love to help you exhaust your options with the resort before helping you find a favorable outcome. We provide free consultations that explain how to get out of a timeshare or you can begin the qualification process below.

Default Resort Leader Embezzled Timeshare Owners for $2 Million.

Default Resort Leader Embezzled Timeshare Owners for $2 Million.

Over the years, one might say that timeshare travel has gotten a little out of control. Because regulations weren’t an initial priority, many resorts operated at their own will. Perpetual agreements not only give hospitality conglomerates total control, but it also empowers the little guy too. When greed drives the organization, consumers usually pay the price. We know because we’ve helped hundreds of embezzled timeshare owners. This was especially true at the Caribbean Service Group (CSG), starting back in 2009 when the original owner passed away. 

The timeshare company, which was located in Georgia, was responsible for managing The Woodbourne Estates Resort in Freeport, Bahamas. Since the deceased owner had no concrete plans for his exit, CSG’s operation was held up in probate. After spending the previous 6 years with the company, Katherine Tice Craig, a close employee of the late owner, took it upon herself to begin managing the day to day activities of the business. While her initiative may have drawn admiration at first, her ambition was eventually exposed.

How Resort Manager Embezzled Timeshare Owner Funds.

By early 2012, Craig, also known as Kathy Tice, had fully immersed herself in a leadership role with the Caribbean timeshare retailer. After getting rather comfortable as the head honcho, the U.S. Attorney Pak claims she began embezzling money from the business for herself. For the next 7 years, Katherine went on to steal an excess of $2 million from more than 1,000 of her employer’s customers without blinking twice.

Like many scam artists in the timeshare realm, Craig used a variety of techniques to line her pockets. “Most of these victims were elderly,” said Attorney Byung Pak. Targeting vulnerable users increased her chances. Investigators found that Craig had deposited more than $1.2 million of GSC’s profits into her own bank account and even wrote over $300K in company checks to pay off her credit cards. But the misconduct didn’t only involve simple reallocations. Craig also contacted several timeshare owners and talked them into paying cash instead of writing checks. This allowed her to skim another $450K from the business. 

“She allegedly collected and spent the fees owed to the company on gambling and trips for herself,” said Pak. Some of the purchases included large quantities of lottery tickets and numerous stops at a Biloxi, Mississippi Casino called The Beau Rivage. Rather than focusing on honoring her paying guests and managing the resort efficiently, Craig decided embezzling the money for these types of guilty pleasures was a better idea.

Covering Up the Timeshare Embezzlement.

In order to make up for the stolen money, Katherine eventually began participating in unethical attempts to cut costs. Aside from avoiding casualty insurance (a requirement of the lease agreements she sold), Craig also refused to maintain the property. After years of neglect, mother nature ran its course and the resort began to fall apart. By December of 2015, she made the decision to halt all financial support. 

At this point, The Woodbourne Estates Resort was in such bad shape that timeshare owners weren’t even allowed to visit the property anymore. But Craig continued billing them, adding excessive maintenance fees to their tabs. When owners refused to pay because availability didn’t exist, she threatened to send them to collections. In the meantime, she approved multiple transfers, continued avoiding insurance and even recruited new owners with false promises.

Craig Has Yet to Be Charged for Mail Fraud.

After Craig was arraigned on federal charges of mail fraud, she was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 7th of this year. U.S. Magistrate Judge Justin S. Arnold will oversee the case and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service has also taken an interest. The inspector-in-charge, David McGinnis, had this to say about the indictment. “[We take] great pride in protecting the American public, especially our vulnerable older Americans. Those seeking to defraud and take advantage of our postal customers should know they will not go undetected and will be held accountable.” 

Hopefully this type of criminal activity within the timeshare marketplace ends soon. Until then, take the time to research your rights and the companies you do business with so you can avoid scams in the timeshare industry.

The Truth About Sales Strategies in the Timeshare Exit Marketplace | Part 2

The Truth About Sales Strategies in the Timeshare Exit Marketplace | Part 2

As we continue the discussion about the sales practices of the timeshare exit marketplace, keep in mind that not all products and services here are bad. Often times, the narrative surrounding companies like ours is negative, resulting in a skewed perception. So we thought now was a good time to remind you that there are businesses out there that genuinely care about your vacational bliss. While it is rather disappointing to acknowledge the deceitful tactics many individuals choose to partake in, it’s also quite refreshing to know that a little research will go a long way. There are a multitude of ways fraudulent companies lie to fractional owners. But understanding what’s actually true will help you make intelligent, confident decisions regarding your timeshare. 

As a vacation owner of an expensive property, you have to realize that there is all kinds of public misinformation about the purchase. It’s very difficult to come across accurate data or unbiased articles and reviews. Even when you’re lied to, there’s always some online user willing to back up the deception. In most cases, they’re compensated or rewarded for their involvement. If you own a weekly interval on a perpetual term, finding a resource that’s only interesting in outlining the facts should be a priority of yours. 

By discussing the trickery of the timeshare exit marketplace, we hope it allows you to avoid pitfalls and trust our advice. At the end of the day, we’re not interested in harassing you to cancel your agreement. We’d rather guide you towards an ideal and reasonable solution. In the meantime, here are some additional ways that illegitimate cancellation companies mislead potential customers.

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The Sales Pitch Never Actually Scratches the Itch.

Similar to the acquisition strategies of destination resorts, the timeshare exit marketplace views the initial sale as the most important step of the transaction. Once you’ve proceeded with an agreement, they now have all the leverage. Whether you’re attempting to resell the property or cancel the mortgage, the downpayment is never cheap. Owners that commit to an exit strategy usually stick with it for too long because the initial investment forces them to remain hopeful. While it may seem like an ignorant thing to do, any uninformed owner would do the same thing. Especially when promises are made during the sale.

1. Unexpected Outcomes and Charges Add up.

The problem is, every level of assurance given during the pitch typically leads into another sales opportunity that surfaces when things don’t pan out. We recently published a news article that explained how phony resellers in the timeshare exit marketplace claim to have eager buyers, but they disappear before the sale goes through. This gives the resale company an opportunity to sell advertising and other add ons to “improve results.” Thousands of dollars can be collected before the timeshare owner even realizes that selling the property was a bad idea. All of which transpired because they were led to believe willing buyers were readily available. 

A similar approach is often used by fraudulent companies claiming they can help owners legally get rid of agreements. Once a commitment has been made, they continue asking paying customers for more time and money in order to work with the resort. Sometimes, they even throw in unexpected complications to collect even more. Since the cancellation process is known to take a while to conclude, scam artists are able to invoice desperate owners for a long time before abruptly abandoning them by abolishing the business or filing for bankruptcy.

distraught-african-american-woman-duped-into-contracts-by-relief-companies-stole-her-money-with-no-resolve

2. Service Limitations Are Rarely Disclosed.

We believe it’s safe to say that none of the fractional owners taken advantage of by scams in the timeshare exit marketplace saw it coming. They counted on the company selling them relief to come through. Unfortunately, most services in this realm will tell you anything to get the ball rolling, we call this the “hope” pitch. Another way they victimize fractional owners to their benefit is avoiding full disclosure. For example, canceling a timeshare agreement doesn’t always eliminate the financial responsibility you have to a bank. Many relief programs don’t advertise this, but they can’t do anything with monetary amounts that are financed through a third party. 

Unless the timeshare loan is borrowed through timeshare affiliates or the resort itself, most of these operations aren’t properly equipped to terminate an agreement. Timeshare owners rarely think to ask if third party financed amounts are covered. Any level of understanding here would save them from making an ill-advised decision. When disclosure isn’t requested, it’s very easy for crafty businesses to collect payments from owners then protect themselves by blaming the resort or a third party for a failed cancelation.

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3. Worthless Solutions Waste Time and Money.

Recently, a growing number of companies in the timeshare exit marketplace have marketed an ability to overcome third party loans. Even though they say they can get people’s money back, there’s no way that guarantees like these can be made. Unless they assess the contract and loan itself, there’s no way of knowing what can transpire. These types of services are simply charging people to contact the bank in an attempt to persuade them that the timeshare expense wasn’t authorized or agreed to. If the timeshare responds to the claim with proof of your signed contract, then the dispute will be denied.

If you’ve ever filed a complaint like this with your bank, then you know that it can sometimes take a few months to conclude. There’s no telling what a greedy cancellation ploy will charge you for in the meantime. The evolution of these “businesses” usually derive from those that failed in the past. Like we mentioned before, our industry is known to recycle customers with new offers that cater to previous disappointments. This is just another example. The point is, the sales pitch can be extremely deceiving. They know exactly what you want and need to hear.  If you don’t know what to ask and you’re uneducated on the purchase, it’s best to wait until you’re better informed before buying in.

Random charges like closing costs, transfer fees, and legal expenses are often used to increase the total amount due at any given time. No matter how much reassurance is given, regarding the maximum price you’ll pay, a lack of evidence should compel you to walk away. Listening to, getting excited about, and buying into a sales pitch will only get you into trouble. No matter how compelling the presentation is, you have to be able to look at the facts. If they’re unwilling to guarantee a specific outcome in writing, then nothing about the service should produce any type of optimism.

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Qualification Shortcomings Lead to Disappointment. 

For anyone helping fractional owners escape perpetual contracts, we believe the single most important step is qualifying them for the service. Far too many businesses in the timeshare exit marketplace predicate their success on conversion rates. In other words, their objective is to acquire as many paying customers as they can, whether they can help them or not. This is extremely short-sighted and one of the main reasons why the reputation of the industry has been consistently bad. It’s extremely irresponsible for companies to collect payments before assessing the situation.

1. What Some Fractional Owners Need to Hear.

Often times, timeshare owners don’t even know the resort has them under multiple contracts with differing agreements. During our qualification process, we frequently stumble across additional financed amounts or credit lines that the buyer had never seen before. Some owners simply have no basis for cancellation while others could easily work things out with the resort. If there is only a year or two left on a right-to-use contract, waiting it out might be more ideal. When there is a reasonable offer on the table, most people just need to hear “take it” from a trustworthy source. Unfortunately, it’s more convenient for them to pay someone to tell them what they want to hear.

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Companies that lead people to assume their process is the best option – when it’s not – are doing the timeshare exit marketplace a huge disservice. People deserve full disclosure. If fractional owners are not prepared or equipped to handle backlash or further consequence from the resort, then they have no business paying to get out of the agreement. Despite high failure rates, many exit services just don’t care. They’re in business because they’ve been able to consistently persuade desperate people.

2. Eventual Costs Are Rarely Presented.

Selling hope pitches or failed promises, just like the timeshare, convinces unhappy buyers that they need to act now. Even if it doesn’t work out, they still get paid. Unethical companies in the timeshare exit marketplace know they can charge more when additional contracts or credit lines are found. Instead of allocating everything on the front end and presenting an accurate proposal, they slowly send invoices and rarely follow through. The more complicated a timeshare owner’s situation is, the easier it is for the exit company to cash in without fully completing the job. This generally leaves owners worse off than they were before.

For this reason, consumers should never be drawn to price in the timeshare exit marketplace. Unless you’re able to break down the entirety of your agreement before shopping around, it’s naive to assume anyone will give you an accurate quote. This is why we take pride in offering free consultations before the details of our service are even presented. Vacation owners deserve a chance to see the reality of their situation so they know what it’s going to take to get out of it. While we believe this to be extremely valuable, some owners still allow themselves to be sold by appealing offers. Sadly, many of them return to VOC with even more debt.

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What to Ask, Why Compare and How to Know?

When looking for a way to get rid of a timeshare, your first question should never be “what is the cost?” It should be “what is your process, how does it work and what can I realistically expect as a successful outcome?” Remember, low prices are always deceiving. This is why it’s important to participate in as many interviews as possible. Be prepared to hear “today only deals” and don’t let incentivized deals influence your decision. In most cases, you’ll be able to tell who’s really interested in helping you based on the interaction. A lack of professionalism or an aggressive nature should be a good preview of what’s to come.

Either way, no matter how good the sales pitch is, you have to take the time to research the business itself. On the surface, many scams do a great job with legitimacy – but in reality, it’s all a mirage. Those willing to investigate leadership, employee reviews, past partnerships and the validity of the business as a whole are usually glad they did so. Nearly every scam could have been avoided with a little effort.

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At VOC, we’ve committed to doing some of the legwork for you. While the reputation of the timeshare exit marketplace may make it difficult to trust our intentions, we want you to know we care. At the end of the day, our goal isn’t to acquire as many customers as we can and mislead them along the way. We’re only interested in helping struggling vacation owners find a resolution they can hang their hat on. For more information on our attorney based process or to speak to one of our representatives, you can schedule a free consultation or proceed with the qualification form below. 

$18 Million in Timeshare Resale Fees Stolen From Vacation Owners

$18 Million in Timeshare Resale Fees Stolen From Vacation Owners

If you’re a frustrated timeshare owner, then you’re probably looking for a way to get out of the contract. At the same time, it can be hard to know where to turn for relief. While competent timeshare cancellation companies exist, the public narrative of the exit industry can be deterring. Because of this, desperate vacation owners eagerly pay timeshare resale fees instead. It’s an easy decision when they don’t know the resale market doesn’t exist and they’re led to believe they can actually recoup some of their losses.

Corrine Adams, an 83 years old widow, learned this the hard way. After purchasing a Hawaiian interval with her husband nearly 30 years prior, she decided it was time to move on from the expensive purchase. Her primary reason was the increased cost of maintenance fees. Once she hadn’t been able to travel to the resort for a few years, she grew tired of the unnecessary expense and didn’t want her kids to acquire the burden.

What Convinced Her Resale Was a Viable Option?

Shortly after this realization, she was contacted by a saleswoman from a company called Pro Timeshare Resale. During the phone conversation, the reseller told Corrine that they had a bundle of buyers willing to buy her the property in Hawaii. All she had to do was make a payment that was just over $1500 to get started. From here, Pro Timeshare would engage with one of the potential buyers and process the paperwork for the sale.

Since Mrs. Adams was led to believe the transaction was that simple, she proceeded with the payment. But it wasn’t that simple at all. Over the course of two years, the senior citizen spent $10K on timeshare resale fees without even the slightest scent of a sale. At that point, she became extremely suspicious and began looking into restitution through the FTC. She eventually became a key witness in the consumer protection agency’s lawsuit against Pro Timeshare Resale in 2016.

Brian McDowell, an attorney and partner at Holland and Knight, was a major participant in the FTC’s action against the fraudulent reseller. During the trial, he acknowledged, “It is virtually impossible to sell most timeshares for the price you paid.” But Corrine had no idea they were defrauding her. “They were so persuasive; they always had someone about to sign. Every few months they’d come back saying they needed a little more time, and more money,” she said.

Phony Timeshare Resale Fees Result in Legal Settlement.

Luckily for Corrine, she wasn’t the only vacation owner paying timeshare resale fees to the phony reseller. The FTC found that thousands of disgruntled buyers had processed over $18 million dollars worth of transactions. None of which actually sold their timeshare, leading Pro Timeshare to eventually settle. The FTC began issuing limited refunds in late 2019.

Unethical Timeshare Resellers Are Prevalent Today.

Collecting vague timeshare resale fees has been a common practice for a long time. Crafty con artists know how to drag out the deception and maximize earnings. What may seem like a measly investment can turn into tens of thousands of dollars lost as the scam unfolds. We recently did a story on an Arizona realtor who lost everything chasing the sale. The BBB in St. Louis found a ton of resale deceit in Springfield, Missouri alone. “These companies know there is a vulnerable population of people to prey upon,” says the BBB’s CEO, Michelle Corey.

What seems to be the culprit is unexpected timeshare costs coupled with usability issues. Some timeshare maintenance fees in Las Vegas have even reportedly exceeded $2K in recent months. “As these properties age, the costs of maintaining them go up,” said another attorney involved in the case. The demand for relief is real. But the consumer’s ability to find it is as difficult as ever. The idea of paying a few thousand dollars in timeshare resale fees in order to walk away from annual fees is worth it to most. At least initially. 

In the end, we hope Corrine’s story helps unhappy owners avoid similar mistakes.

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