How Some Timeshare Exit Services Harrass Vacation Owners

How Some Timeshare Exit Services Harrass Vacation Owners

Over the years, we’ve been able to grow our business because of the commitment we’ve made to the consumer. While many timeshare exit services focus on marketing budgets, persuasive tactics and even fraud, we’ve relied on a guaranteed method of cancellation. Since 2014, we’ve saved quite a bit of time and money by qualifying every applicant. The reality is, contract cancellation doesn’t make sense for everyone.

Some people have signed multiple contracts and upgrades that have furthered their acknowledgement of the purchase and it’s terms. Explaining to unhappy timeshare owners what their actual options are helps them save quite a bit of time and money themselves. The last thing we want to do is provide another financial setback that adds to the regret of their purchase.

Our Free consultations aren’t geared towards selling you on cancellation. We have to know everything about your situation and confirm your eligibility before doing anything. Especially when an attorney is the most expensive element of the process. No timeshare exit strategy is the same. But not every company offering timeshare exit services believes in this approach.

They think the same aggressive pitch that sold you during the timeshare presentation will work to their advantage. Taking time to identify roadblocks or look into your situation beforehand doesn’t interest them. They simply use a quantitative method that focuses on pressuring unhappy timeshare owners to take action. Even when their chances of exiting the agreement are slim to none.

Some people ask how we know this. Others may assume we’re just trying to smear our competition. But in reality, tens of thousands of timeshare owners frequently relay their frustration with timeshare relief programs. You can find evidence of this on nearly every local news website. Whether people have bought into resale or legal representation, the results are rarely favorable.

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Timeshare Pressure Sales Target Consumer Desperation.

When a relief program fails, the owner’s fate ends up back in the hands of the timeshare company. Upgrades and add ons (like points programs) keep buyers hoping for the best but usually expecting the worst. Most of them really have no choice. By the time they’ve become aware of cancellation services, they’re afraid to trust anything else.

Remember, keeping fractional owners under contract is the sole purpose of the timeshare industry. Forcing owners to pay and recommending misleading relief programs is how their profits remain high. Even though this has not been very fruitful for buyers. For them, trying to get rid of a timeshare or make it worthwhile can be devastatingly costly. When owners start to feel trapped, desperation tends to set in. This is where many timeshare exit services use an aggressive approach to persuade them.

Instead of asking you to look up consumer complaints or read news articles to prove our point, we wanted to show you how some exit programs go about harassing vacation owners. Aside from creating grief, they’re currently shedding a lot of negative light on the cancellation industry. It’s important you understand that, unlike VOC, not everyone is going to show you empathy. You also have to realize that many of these exit specialists are con artists. Their lifestyle depends on their ability to get you to say “yes.”

Use Caution When Contacting Timeshare Exit Services.

In order to expose the harassing nature of some of these companies, we contacted one of our major competitors to see how they went about selling their timeshare exit services. Although we won’t name the company (in order to protect ours), we hope our experience proves to you that pressure-filled tactics can be very convincing – even if you don’t qualify. But prior to contacting a timeshare exit service, you must understand what you’re getting yourself into.

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Before Submitting Information About You and Your Timeshare..

Searching around for timeshare relief shouldn’t be treated like most large purchases. Negotiating or trying to leverage your options just isn’t feasible in this realm. It’s not like searching for the best insurance quote or the best interest rate for a private loan. For the most part, your privacy is protected in those cases. Handing over personal data to 3rd party companies can make you dangerously susceptible to harassment and other forms of spam. Not to mention fraudulent activity.

Exit programs, whether they’re legitimate or not, know you have to share private information with them in order to proceed. Unfortunately, some don’t know how to keep a secret. When they can’t persuade you to give them money, they sell your data to other 3rd party companies or make an exchange for some sort of financial gain. Data can include other members of your family, payment specifics, purchase history, social security numbers and even items on your credit. Submitting personal information to businesses that have no business with it is why so many of us are solicited over the phone and email on a regular basis. Not many people understand this.

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When you’re researching your options, it’s imperative that you do your best to sift through the nonsense before reaching out. Many companies will seem legit, but they’re nothing close to it. Finding a way to avoid the harassment and the overwhelming number of the scams altogether is key. All you have to do is overcome your desperation and focus on logic. Listening to the best deal or falling for the best pitch is the best way to miss the best solution. It’s important that you learn from the mistakes you’ve made up to this point. Once you know what to look for and understand your own tendencies, it’ll be easier for your to make an informed decision.

To keep you from wasting more time than you need to, we actually created a checklist to help you identify timeshare fraud. Qualifying your options increases your chances of doing business with someone that values integrity. Shopping around and expecting relief programs to tolerate your haggling can leave you surprised to say the least. So take the time to thoroughly research companies before sharing private information. Let awareness, diligence and intuition be your guide this time.

What to Expect From Aggressive Timeshare Exit Services

A few months ago, we shopped a major player in the timeshare exit industry using a fake online persona. This included a unique email address (gmail account) and phone number (Google Voice) strictly for this test. Upon our request, the company immediately reached out to via phone and email to pitch the benefits of their program. Without knowing if we qualified, they quickly asked us to proceed.

Knowing the tendencies of these types of companies allowed us to pick up on quite a few nuances they use to deceive timeshare owners. It’s pretty disturbing to listen to when you know the truth behind their statements. The fact our inquiry wasn’t genuine made it easy for us to refuse their offer. But this didn’t discourage them from turning up the pressure.

After our firm “no,” they pulled out one of the oldest tricks in the bag: the limited time offer. We were informed that their proposal would only be good during the phone call. That the “deal of a lifetime” that would solve all my problems would vanish into thin air if we didn’t take advantage of it right now. Keep in mind, they still haven’t seen the contract we want to cancel. They know nothing about the details of our agreement. They made it seem like exiting a timeshare would be easy-peasy for them. This was very intriguing to us.

If we didn’t know any better, we might feel compelled to trust a company providing reassurement. But most timeshare exit services aren’t much different than the timeshare itself. They’ll say whatever to get some form of commitment. Once you’re bought in, they know there’s a higher probability of you spending more to proceed. This allows them to prolong the process and maximize their revenues. Pressuring timeshare owners to take action right away is a huge red flag.

Pressure Doesn’t Cease Upon Your Request.

Even though we told them “no” once again, they relentlessly emailed us every day. The follow-up phone calls and pressure-filled lingo was just as annoying. Within a few days of us requesting more information, the quantitative approach was in full swing.

Immediately after we were finally able to discontinue their harassing solicitations, a new service came out of the ashes. Multiple timeshare resale companies began contacting us the same way. In other words, once the timeshare exit service realized no means no, they sold our account to another tactful operation. One that might appeal to us more or persuade us easier. It’s a vicious cycle if you ever happen to become intertwined.

The company we reached out to knew that if we failed to sell the timeshare (because there is no resale market for them), we’d more than likely crawl back with our tails between our legs, begging for timeshare exit services. This is real-life stuff, folks. Far too many fall for the trap.

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VOC is Committed to Helping You Find Resolve.

Sadly a majority of relief programs aren’t in business to be your advocate. They started their operation with one goal and that’s to make money. They can’t see past tomorrow. They’ll never understand how we were able to build a reputable company by consistently advocating for timeshare owners. Referring owners to listing agencies or selling their information to 3rd parties tells us they’re not really interested in helping people effectively get out of timeshare contracts.

Since this is a multi-million dollar operation within the cancellation industry, we encourage you to take notice. At the end of the day, you deserve to know that quality, guaranteed timeshare exit services do exist. To discuss our qualification process, you can fill out the form below or schedule a Free Consultation to learn more.

Differentiating Right to Use Timeshares, Travel Clubs and Fractional Ownership

Differentiating Right to Use Timeshares, Travel Clubs and Fractional Ownership

Thousands of travelers across the country are continuously searching for riveting, cost effective vacation packages to explore. In today’s online marketplace, there are numerous options for them to choose from. But when you’re searching for the best deal, nearly every advertisement claims to provide the best escape for you. While the nomadic culture might be able to navigate these options effectively, people new to the travel landscape can easily become overwhelmed. Over promises, deceiving prices and enticing offers can eventually place many aspiring travelers in a financial hole that detours their travel plans. Fractional ownership, point certificates, travel clubs and right to use timeshares all have their flaws.

After talking to thousands of fractional owners about their financial burden, we’ve realized that many of them never even knew what their contract entailed. Instead of asking an experienced voyager for guidance, they allowed a salesman with commission breath to persuade them on an option that isn’t mutually beneficial. Blaming the buyer may seem fair, but a lack of disclosure plays a big role in their inability to make an informed decision. People deserve the right to know  what they’re buying.

Since fraud is a normality in the timeshare industry, educating people on the terminology behind fractional ownership is really the only way to address the problem. When you think about it, most people that attend a timeshare presentation have no intention of buying. They simply show up for the free stuff. But it’s hard for some to say no when a “can’t miss deal” is right in front of them. Especially when traveling hasn’t been a big part of their lifestyle.

Because of this, we’ve shifted our focus to helping aspiring travelers navigate the vacation arena. Even though our cancellation company is funded by bad decisions, we want to play a bigger role in eliminating hardship and regret. You can’t count on the timeshare company to point you towards the best vacation package. Getting you locked into an agreement is their only concern. Each of our clients wish they would have taken the time to consider their choices before committing to something they knew little about. Regardless, helping you understand the differences between right to use timeshares and other travel packages will hopefully help you make informed decisions moving forward. Today we’re going to talk about travel clubs.

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Travel Clubs – Discounts Without Much Obligation.

This form of travel derives from an established consortium of corporations and individuals that work together to develop an affiliation of wholesale travel packages. The stakeholders running the show typically come from the travel and customer service industries. Because of this, it’s easy for them to market to their ideal customers. It also gives their sales teams quite a bit of ammunition when it comes to signing people up. While new acquisition strategies sometimes mirror those of the timeshare industry, the product itself is quite different.

Travel clubs provide their members with access to discounted travel packages in exchange for a fee. The payment obligation normally includes a one-time enrollment fee along with a monthly or annual renewal. The extent of travel club discounts vary and are largely based on availability, capability (vendors) and exchange programs. If you travel a lot, rewards or loyalty programs can easily turn a nominal investment into a worthwhile return. But members aren’t the only groups of people that benefit from the travel clubs.

Unlike fractional ownership, travel clubs have two types of customers: users and vendors. Travel agents, resorts, hotels and even airlines use the platform to market an array of travel products and deals to a pool of travel-eager customers. Although retail prices will always be more attractive to vendors, travel clubs allow them to position discounts to frequent, in-market travelers. This gives them a higher probability of selling last minute deals.

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The more users a travel club has, the more appealing it is to potential vendors. In order to attract members, travels clubs typically target a specific demographic. A majority of travel clubs have some sort of theme and members usually have certain preferences that their club caters to. Although the coordination of professional travel (speakers, CEO’s, teachers, doctors, athletes, etc..) is one of the main reasons travel clubs exist, there are other partialities that certain travelers value. Golfers, disabled travelers, veterans, skiers, singles, families and even women’s groups can join travel clubs tailored to their interests.

The main benefit of a travel club is that memberships aren’t forever binding (perpetual). If at any point you’re dissatisfied with the service, you’re not obligated to renew. You’ll never own a timeshare deed like fractional ownership does. If you’re told otherwise, then you’re probably invested into a timeshare point certificates program. These are basically travel club memberships with perpetual contracts.

Similar to fractional ownership, you have to be careful who you’re giving your money to. The travel industry is riddled with scams, especially when internet and phone transactions are involved. If you’re considering a travel club, make sure it’s right for you. There are plenty of options for you to choose from. If you’re able to find something cheap and memberships grow over time, you could be in for some amazing offers.

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Right to Use Contracts – Timesharing Without Perpetuity.

If there’s one thing you should remember about true (deeded) timeshare ownership, it’s that your obligation lasts forever. It’s important that you truly understand what perpetual means. No matter how much you pay towards the property, the ceasing of payments is not on the horizon. Those that shy away from perpetuity commonly view “right to use” (RTU) timeshares as a more favorable option. But for the most part, they’re pretty much the same. Just because buyers aren’t locked into a lifetime of payments doesn’t necessarily make the experience that much better.

When a consumer chooses “right to use” over fractional ownership, they’re basically saying they need a way to get out of the contract if something were to go wrong. It’s essentially the timeshare industry’s solution to combating skepticism. This travel option essentially gives travelers the “right to use” a timeshare during an agreed-to period of time. The length of the contract can be anywhere from 15-99 years and normally involves a local property management company or resort development firm. The main difference between a deeded purchase and an RTU is the lessor never actually owns the property. The property manager or developer retains deeded ownership. Instead of paying on a mortgage, buyers lease the timeshare with the same responsibilities fractional owners have. Taxes, maintenance fees and assessments are still their obligation.

But not every detail is the same. There do happen to be a few perks. Accelerated programs allow RTU timeshares to be a little more flexible. Because these agreements assign a specific number of usage units, lessors don’t have to be limited to annual or bi-annual trips. They can book three vacations per year, every three years if they want to. Also, during their “right to use” period, buyers can transfer, rent or dump the remaining years of their lease. Some users also have an option to make exchanges.

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RTU agreements typically give buyers access to exclusive resorts in destinations that frown on deeded ownership. In other words, not many global hospitality chains invest their time and money into temporary agreements that users can terminate. This can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. While RTU contracts may help you avoid the harassing sales tactics of major travel corporations, you still might be left wanting more. Even if you really want to experience timeshare travel without the perpetual commitment, don’t force the decision until you’re confident in it. Like any other travel option, scams are lurking with persuasive sales pitches. Twenty years may not be a lifetime, but it can still do some financial damage.

Get Out of Timeshares and Travel How You Want To.

Although right to use timeshares can be appealing, limited travel options aren’t for everyone. While travel clubs have their perks, some people can find amazing deals on their own. Either way, don’t let some salesman sway your choice. If you’re considering one of these travel options but realize you’re a part of an aggressive sales pitch, it’s always best that you walk away. Like we mentioned before, the travel industry is full of bad decisions waiting to be made. Plenty of things will catch your eye or seem “good enough.” You know that you don’t want to throw away your hard-earned money. Take the time to make an informed decision and ensure your vacations are worthwhile.

In the meantime, if you or someone you know has an unwanted timeshare contract, we’d love to point them in the right direction. Far too many people spend far too much money trying to sell or get out of a timeshare agreement. Over time, it can be difficult to trust any relief program, let alone a 3rd party cancellation service. At the same time, we’re committed to helping you find a free and clear way to escape your contract. We even created a checklist to help you avoid the deceit of the industry. At the end of the day, you can always expect to speak with someone that genuinely cares at VOC.

Identify Fraudulent Timeshare Exit Companies + Other Scams.

Identify Fraudulent Timeshare Exit Companies + Other Scams.

Unfortunately, the timeshare industry is full of scams that prey on desperate vacation owners looking to escape their perpetual purchase. While negotiations with the timeshare company can be quite the struggle, many owners don’t realize how bad it can get once they venture into the realm of 3rd party relief. But you can’t blame them for seeking outside help. Over time, users become tired of the broken promises and disadvantageous upgrades or points programs. Although they’re told to avoid external solutions due to misconduct, it’s easy for them to lose faith in the legitimacy of the timeshare’s in-house advice. In turn, judgement can be clouded when it comes to recognizing fraudulent timeshare exit companies or scams.

Trusting the misleading messages of 3rd party programs is more common when consumer regret brews with desperation. A majority of resale and cancellation services know this and use it to their advantage. Targeting unhappy buyers with an empathetic pitch allows them to persuade some to pay a lot of money towards bogus offers. This causes misfortune to repeatedly rear its ugly head and timeshare owners continue to end up right back where they started.

If you follow our blog, you’ll come to realize most of our content is geared towards helping fractional owners avoid regret by making logical decisions. We’ve kind of taken it upon ourselves to expand on the deceit within the industry. Hopefully, overwhelming the market with educational material helps more people find the relief they deserve. With that being said, let’s look at some ways you can identify fraudulent timeshare exit companies and other relief scams.

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Understand How Fraudulent Timeshare Relief Programs Operate.

Before uncovering timeshare scams, you have to understand how fraudulent operations go about their business. The fact of the matter is, no one sees a scam coming. If they did, then they wouldn’t have been scammed. Realize that these conglomerates operate in an uncommon way. Unless you’re a criminal, it’s very difficult to identify manipulation.

The average consumer doesn’t want to assume the worst. We’d like to think scams are slowly deteriorating; but the crack down only causes fraudulent activity to become more complex. Therefore, you have to try to get inside the mind of a criminal and understand the psychological tactics they’re taking towards persuasion. While services may seem legit at first glance, there’s always a chance there’s more than what meets the eye.

Online Cancellation Companies May be a Mirage.

Proficient scams know how to make themselves appear reputable. Regarding timeshare relief programs, looking beneath the surface of the sales pitch is essential. Before you even listen to the offer, the validity of the company needs to be confirmed. There are a number of ways scam artists manipulate storefronts, especially online. Many people don’t realize fraudulent timeshare exit companies and co-conspirators can operate from anywhere in the country when they have a digital presence. Since many of us Google everything, all they need to do is establish some form of credibility.

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The easiest way they appear real is by stealing another company’s online identity. Fraudulent operations do this by claiming to represent a business (commonly a lesser known LLC) and building a phony website around their branding. All they need to do is link to credible review platforms to come across as credible (more about this below). Using an actual business also allows them to appear as though they’ve been in business for quite some time. While this may seem like it would be easy to figure out, you’d be surprised.

Even when another company’s identity isn’t being used, it’s just as easy for predatory agencies to create a fake business. Their approach really depends on how much capital they have for “start up costs.” Some scams even go as far as quickly changing their name and services in order to retarget victims once the initial plan runs its course.

How Phony Timeshare Exit Companies Further Mislead Consumers.

In today’s digital world, nearly any piece of information can be manipulated. Practically every scam involves some sort of documentation that isn’t real. Several of our clients have been persuaded by cohesive letterheads and email signatures alone. Most of them didn’t even consider how easily that type of stuff can be created. Assuming a company is real because their logo is the same on invoices and paperwork is very risky. This is one of the psychological tactics that fraudulent timeshare exit companies use. Some fractional owners subconsciously believe they can trust the scam because of consistent branding and a physical address.

Telecommunication Strategies.

But physical appearance isn’t always enough. In order to get people to fall deeper into their pit, scam artists make sure they leave no room for skepticism. Phone calls from area codes where the business claims to be located makes things even more believable. Some scams even go as far as creating customer service hotlines with re-routed phone numbers. People value being able to speak to someone with a name and title. Subtle tactics like, “Hello my name is Jan and I’m the customer service manager at X,” really carries weight to most consumers. Some scammers study the weather in certain locations just to prepare for skepticism.

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Fraudulent timeshare exit companies also rely on influence to deceive their victims. Thoughtful scams will spend thousands of dollars for phony publications or paid promotions to make themselves seem real. One article or recommendation from a credible source (even if they’re tricked themselves) can also carry a lot of credibility. But review platforms are where they really do the most damage. Someone on the fence can be easily persuaded by a handful of “satisfied” customers.

Phony Review Services.

Even though stealing another business’s 5 star rating is easier, some would rather take the “safer” route. There are other ways to misrepresent the customer experience. Believe it or not, marketing services geared towards unethical review generation do exist. Pools of online profiles are ready and willing to leave fake 5 star reviews in exchange for money! There isn’t really a known platform that regulates insight effectively. Yelp claims to disallow phony feedback – but in reality, they don’t. Ironically, fake profiles with thousands of reviews are deemed credible there. You’d be surprised to learn how the Better Business Bureau goes about hiding consumer complaints. Even TrustPilot gives their users an opportunity to alter reviews. While this may be disheartening to say the least, we created a checklist with some great ways to identify this type of misconduct. 

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Be Prepared For Cunning Responses and Question Everything.

No matter what concerns or drawbacks you have, fraudulent operations will always know how to keep you engaged. They’ve practiced and prepared for your push back. Once they’ve got your attention, there’s normally a script they follow to gain your trust. Presenting you with the above information is their effort to establish credibility with you – whether it’s real or not. When it comes to getting out of a timeshare, you have to be critical. You need to assume the worst and take some time before pursuing relief. Any company that aggressively rushes your decision doesn’t really have your best interest at heart.

Listen, it’s not the first rodeo for many of these criminals. For the most part, they’re very intelligent people. Instead of working hard for their money, they’d rather steal. It doesn’t mean they’re stupid, it just means they’re selfish and greedy. These types of people will do anything to make pay. Like we said before, the surface can be very deceiving. Understanding their capabilities and how they go about conning you will help you avoid what can be a devastating transaction – or set of transactions moving forward. 

Since 2014, our company has provided 100% success rates and satisfied every customer along the way. You can view our checklist for avoiding fraudulent timeshare exit companies or proceed with our qualification form below.

Why You Should Dump Timeshare Contracts Instead of Upgrading Packages

Why You Should Dump Timeshare Contracts Instead of Upgrading Packages

What many people don’t realize about timeshare ownership is that the sale doesn’t end after they’ve signed the contract. Timeshare companies know that once you’re locked into a perpetual agreement they can pretty much dictate where your travel dollars go. Aside from a high pressured approach during the initial presentation, they take additional measures to persuade their users to spend more money over time. Because of this, we believe it is highly beneficial for owners to dump timeshare contracts before they’re persuaded into buying upgrade options.

Before solidifying this claim, it’s important we understand how fractional owners got to this point in the first place. What exactly causes them to believe they need to take action? What element of the experience has them contemplating spending more money or dumping the expense altogether? Whether you believe our perspective is bias or not, many timeshare owners are plagued with this decision. Every day, we talk to dozens of disgruntled buyers looking for guidance or insight on their options.

Why Dumping Timeshares Is Smarter Than Upgrading Condos.

While it may seem like both decisions are irrational, you have to understand a majority of buyers have no desire to stay where they are. They’re seeking timeshare relief because they don’t believe they’re getting what they paid for. Although the first impression of vacation ownership typically involves excitement and anticipation, the level of enthusiasm normally dwindles over time. Anything from availability frustrations to unacceptable accommodations can leave timeshare owners in a pool of regret – instead of by the pool without worries. Aside from expectations not being met, they feel taken advantage of and vulnerable. They’re not sure who to trust or what the actuality of their timeshare really is.

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Enduring a purchase that hasn’t aligned with expectations forces many to hope for the best. Especially when they’re at the mercy of a perpetual agreement. Buying a timeshare costs a lot of money. For some, it’s easier to spend a little more to get what they want instead of throwing away the entire purchase. Let’s face it, some people just have the money to blow. While it’s easy for these types of people to swallow their pride a little, others become more prideful and refuse to give into obvious tactics that devalue buyers. But it doesn’t mean they won’t cave once a deal with appeal comes across the table.

No matter how upset owners become, customer service reps (CSR, AKA sales reps) are trained to deflect grief and connect with their owners. Most sales operations make their living off an ability to combat dissatisfaction. In some cases, timeshare owners are led to believe that the poor experience is their fault. That they bought a cheap package or that agreeing to additional options during the contract signing would have improved availability and enjoyment.

When reverse psychology doesn’t work, CSR’s have a number of tricks up their sleeves to reassure their users. Without going into too much detail, timeshare companies are equipped to force your hand. When the initial purchase flops, they basically dare you to cancel the timeshare while teasing you with intriguing deals and upgrade scenarios. Why wouldn’t they choose something they’ve already invested thousands into? Especially when timeshare cancellation companies are suspect themselves. CSR’s know the latter is risky so they’re willing to wait on you. You signed the contract and they owe you nothing, but will sell you anything.

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Like we said, signing the contract is only the beginning of a never-ending ales cycle. Any type of relief can turn into many forms of grief. It’s the way of the industry. Although your experience thus far might be forgettable, who’s to say it’ll get better when you pay more? Caving may seem like your only option, but is it a responsible one? While analyzing how timeshare owners got to this point provides us with substance, the real reason you should dump timeshare contracts lies in the aftermath of an upgrade. Let’s look at three consequences that solidify our stance on termination.

1. Saying “Yes” to Upgrades Puts a Target on Your Back

If you’ve worked in any type of sales environment before, you’ve probably heard the common saying, “take 3 no’s before giving up on a yes.” But what many fractional owners don’t realize is this rule doesn’t apply to them. Once someone has agreed to the timeshare contract, they’ve become susceptible to a lifetime of misleading, persuasive abuse. While the initial presentation can be overwhelming, the pressure to take advantage of discounts and special offers is limitless. If they can persuade people to pay $20-40K unexpectedly, they can easily add a few thousand along the way.

Some people don’t possess the ability to say “no” and they end up racking up all kinds of expenses because of it. Moreover, once they agree to an upgrade, the vultures start to circle. Incentivized sales teams know who the most gullible owners are. The worst part is that many of these “upgrades” don’t add much value or resolution to fractional ownership. If you’re constantly being harassed to upgrade your points program, understand it’s only a bidding war on secondary inventory that the general public doesn’t want. The goal isn’t to improve your experience, rather increase your annual donation so the salesman can go on vacation and the timeshare’s margins increase.

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2. Upgrades Won’t Resolve Your Complaints.

Have you ever confronted someone and they responded by offering you something? Although you really want to remain upset about the situation, the idea of being treated can be compelling. Sometimes, it’s enough to cause you to apologize for your holding a grudge or being mad. You might even forget about the problem or concern altogether – at least until they wrong you again.

Aside from maximizing revenues from fractional owners, timeshare companies know how to execute this “bait and switch” tactic as well. Instead of actually listening to your concerns and providing you with a solution, they’ll make you feel like the repayment was worth the inexperience. The relief doesn’t last, headaches resume and the resort is able to keep you from dumping the timeshare contract for a few more months until things unravel again.

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3. Dumping Timeshare Contracts Isn’t As Costly.

What many owners don’t realize is they end up paying more for the same problem. Instead of going with their gut, they give the timeshare another chance to deliver on something they promised. In their mind, they’re still owed. In the resort’s mind, they just want to remain in the driver’s seat. They know their obligated customer isn’t going anywhere. All they have to do is pretend they care and offer something to make you go away.

Aside from complaints not getting resolved, the cost of ownership rises significantly when you agree to new terms. The simple fact that additional contracts are being signed is often overlooked during the upgrade process. As agreements stack up, it becomes more and more difficult to dump timeshare ownership. In turn, legally exiting the timeshare becomes more expensive. Continuing to sign new contracts proves you’re responsible for your decisions. This gives the timeshare quite a bit of leverage. Remember, you have the ability to say, “No.”

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Understand Upgrades Before Agreeing to Them.

When you think about it, timeshare companies sell “what could be’s” instead of actualities throughout the entire process. After a few rounds of this, many owners realize dumping the timeshare contract is their only option. We’re simply here to tell you that you can legally walk away now and avoid the heartache. Thousands of people are reeled back into ownership every year and hundreds of thousands of dollars continues to go towards something that never improves. It’s how the industry has been able to thrive in a market full of alternative, convenient travel options.

Don’t be a statistic and get rid of your timeshare for good. Especially if you’re having second thoughts about the purchase. Over time, your decision can become extremely costly. Dumping your obligation and pursuing a sensible vacation can be one of the best things to ever happen to you. Even if you have to deal with the regret for a few years. For more information on VOC, you can schedule a FREE consultation or proceed with a qualification form below.

If You Want to Get Out of Your Timeshare, Watch Out for This Resale Scam

If You Want to Get Out of Your Timeshare, Watch Out for This Resale Scam

Timeshare ownership can be a difficult road to navigate. Once you’ve become immersed in the purchase, misconduct typically appears from all directions. It can be quite overwhelming, especially if you’re unaware of the actual intentions behind a majority of “can’t miss” offers. Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time educating timeshare owners (or those considering the purchase) on the possibilities of resort life. No matter how many hypothetical situations we express, we’ve found that actual stories resonate best. While most people don’t want to believe they’re being duped, listening to someone else’s bad experience tends to heighten awareness.

While it can be difficult for the average consumer to point out crafty misconduct, it’s important that they understand what other timeshare owners have gone through. The fact of the matter is, not everyone has had a bad timeshare experience. At the same time, many owners are left reeling when the purchase doesn’t work out. Dissatisfaction can easily lead to further mistakes that put them in a deeper hole financially. Some decisions can be life changing and even psychologically draining. In order to help you understand how, let’s take a look at Darren Kittleson’s story.

How The Experienced Realtor Was Scammed

When it comes to timeshare scams, even people that know real estate can be easily taken advantage of. This was proven when a savvy realtor was led to believe he could make money on his timeshare property. After being robbed of more than $24,000 for trying to sell his Garza Blanca Resort property in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Darren is now speaking up about his experience. He still can’t believe he didn’t see the scam for what it was. Despite 30+ years in realty, he was fooled during a real estate transaction. Even though he repeatedly did his due diligence throughout the scam, he wasn’t able to uncover anything that worried him. If you take anything from this article, we hope it’s how good the modern day pickpockets are.

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While losing that much money was tough, he views it as a learning experience. Now that he has closure, his goal is to help other timeshare owners avoid similar losses while spreading awareness on the deceptive practices of predatory resellers. In an interview with AZ Central, he touched on how he thought everything was 100% real by saying, “They were so sophisticated in how they did it.” No matter how many times he rekindles the experience, he can’t get over how “stupid” the whole thing makes him feel.

Sadly, many consumers are led to believe in timeshare solutions that don’t exist. The complexity of some of today’s scams are disturbing. The worst part is that relief-seeking timeshare owners are eagerly trying to get out of timeshare contracts when they’re bamboozled. Instead of finding resolve, they increase their loss. In Darren’s interaction with the phony reseller, everything seemed to add up perfectly. No matter his level of skepticism, the salesperson was always able to (shrewdly) reassure him that everything was going to work out in his favor. What’s sad is, he’s not alone. Fraudulent cases like this one tend to have a detailed plan throughout.

The Initial Phone Call and Supporting Misconduct

When Kittleson was first contacted by the scammers, they claimed to represent Westwood Realty in Phoenix, Arizona. They knew everything about his upcoming reservations and offered to buy the dates he booked. When he researched the company, the credibility of the Arizona business and brokerage seemed legit. At first glance, nothing stood out to him. Even their licensing was up to date. The manipulation that went into this first impression was crucial for the scam to work.

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What Kittleson didn’t consider was the simple fact that the caller did not actually represent Westwood Realty. It’s hard for most people to understand how easy it is to create a fake online business presence. Moreover, most law-abiding citizens can’t even begin to think like a criminal. No matter the level of deception, the average consumer is already at a disadvantage. What “they don’t know” is normally used against them. Since the scammers knew about Darren’s travel plans, it was easy for him to assume a con wasn’t in place. His ability to easily find company information and reviews only added to his confidence. A fraudulent company wouldn’t post their information online, would they?

Scammers Know How to Eliminate Disbelief.

Despite the persuasiveness of the phony broker’s business presentation, it wasn’t the only thing that gave Darren (and other timeshare owners) peace of mind. They even went as far as providing timeshare owners with bank statements that included real company letterheads and contact information. It’s almost as if they mastered the mistakes of other scams. Even phone numbers included area codes that validated the company’s level of congruence.

Once he was able to confirm that Westwood had a local brick and mortar location and zero complaints dating back to the 80’s, Darren was hooked – for a lot of money. According to Kittleson, he thought he was doing everything he needed to “in order to verify, verify, verify,” He even went as far as setting up a Google news alert for Westwood Realty in case something went sideways.

The internet has been a huge boon to unethical companies preying on timeshare owners. What many people don’t realize is, the lifespan of these fraudsters doesn’t have to last long. Once enough money is collected, they tear everything down and wait for the dust to settle before rebuilding the scam under a different brand name. It’s a scary thing to ponder. In Kittleson’s case, the scammer didn’t even go this far. They were simply using the credibility of an actual business to manipulate the sale. Westwood was nothing more than a bystander. In the end, there was nothing to tear down.

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If an Offer Seems too Good to be True, Don’t Take it.

Once the scammers established a level of trust with Kittleson and other targets, they made an aggressive proposal that was basically irrefusable. What many owners don’t realize, is the resale market for timeshares is basically non-existent. It’s hard to understand this until you experience it for yourself. While some resorts will tell you that you can always resell or rent your property (if it doesn’t work out), it doesn’t mean it’s true. Diamond Resorts actually got in a heap of trouble for selling prospects on this during presentations. Far too many fractional owners learn this reality the hard way. An unexpected, amazing resale opportunity should be the first sign that you’re involved in a scam.

Instead of continuing to shop for a reseller, Darren was absolutely thrilled with the price he was given. It was nearly 60-70% higher than what he actually paid for the property. Since the beachfront hotel in Puerto Vallarta had grown in popularity, he didn’t even think twice about the offer. “It didn’t seem far off,” he said. Not only was he talking to people whom he thought represented Westwood, he also believed in the best deal he’d received up to this point. Since he was called about his bookings, nothing really drew a red flag.

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How the Scammers Continued Leading Him On..

As the complexity of scams continues to be underestimated by Americans, Darren’s experience helps us highlight how deep the deception can go. When it comes to scams that rob people of tens of thousands of dollars, a simple bait and switch wasn’t going to be enough to pull it off. Once Kittleson signed a letter of intent with what he thought to be a local broker, he received a call from an escrow company in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At this point, he was informed that a Mexican bank would be working with them to deposit his funds from the timeshare sale.

The logistics of these transactions caused some doubt to surface for the realtor – but after researching both companies, he came away relieved again. What he didn’t know was the scammers were using the same tactic they used with Westwood to proceed with the transaction. Confirmations and communication also seemed legitimate and Darren was eager to put timeshare ownership behind him.

Additional Documentation Provided Peace of Mind

“All of a sudden, I get an email with a bank statement that looks like any bank statement here in the U.S. showing the funds have been deposited,” he said. Even when he called the phone number on the statement to double check, an actual person answered in Spanish, giving him the company name and their title. From his perspective, he was so close to receiving closure.

Although the anticipation was real, a few weeks passed and he still didn’t receive a payment. Amidst frustrations, he continued to pursue the resolution when he was told by a “company rep” that he needed to get a Mexican tax identification in order for the sale to go through. This forced him to make another payment via a wire transfer to an attorney the scammers referred in Mexico city. “I went online and looked at the Mexican consulate website, and it had this form they needed. It made sense,” Kittleson said.

Scammers Appear to be “Helpful” During Manipulation

Once again, he was relieved and the process wasn’t too far from ordinary. Shortly after, a document with a formal-looking government stamp arrived in the mail. This included what he thought to be his new tax ID. When the sale and his payment still wasn’t being processed, the scammers told him he needed to pay his taxes and the buyer would reimburse him. He was concerned, but his experience in real estate trumped his doubts. “I was nervous, but I thought, ‘OK, this is the first time I’ve done a property transfer in Mexico.” He even went as far as researching Mexican taxes online. He felt good about it and wired over more money. But the stalling continued when he was told he needed to pay additional taxes in the state of Jalisco.

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In order to feel good about making another payment, Kittleson initially wanted to fly down to Jalisco and make the payment himself. But he was informed that it wouldn’t be necessary. “They said, ‘It’s not like the U.S. You can come down, but nothing will happen for you,'” said Kittleson. Since he’d paid so much already (and had all the bank statements), he agreed. At this point it was almost as if he trusted the scammers and valued their opinion. This is how deep he had gotten into the scam. Money spent and documentation blinded him from the harsh reality. Because of the confidence in the deal, he didn’t even consider saving money to cancel the timeshare altogether.

Until You Abort, The Timeshare Scam Never Ends..

Although his payment for Jalisco taxes was taken care of, he was once again prompted to make another payment. This time, it was for an insurance bond so the bank could release the funds. The scammers claimed that it was necessary to protect the bank from possible “cross-border” fraud. Again, he offered to withdraw the funds in person, but was told the bank wouldn’t do anything without the bond.

“They had an answer to everything I asked about,” Darren said. It had now been 10 months since he made his first payment. When he was prompted to make another payment for another bank bond, he decided he’d had enough. Thinking back to that moment in time, Kittleson remembered, “At that point, I said, ‘I’m done.’ It was like, ‘Oh, I just got scammed.’” $24,000 was flushed down the drain and the timeshare was still his.

Aside from his desire to exit the timeshare contract, Kittleson pursued restitution by filing complaints with the BBB, the Arizona Attorney General’s office and even the FBI. Once he confirmed he was most certainly being scammed, he learned other victims had filed as well. Their complaints had already resulted in the Department of Real Estate filing a cease-and-desist order against the claimed names of the fraudsters. While the Arizona Attorney General is now helping people like Darren spread awareness, victims understand the probability of the criminals being caught isn’t likely.

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The Benefit of Getting Rid of Timeshare Contracts For Good

Stories like these can immediately create a paradigm shift for timeshare owners or those pursuing vacation ownership. Many people believe stuff like this can’t happen to them. They’re blinded by the possibilities of the deal. While a timeshare property can be the centerpiece of family memories, it can also be the root of financial hardship. This is why it’s important to take the time to thoroughly research travel opportunities and make sure you’re 100% confident in large purchase decisions.

Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion and always be skeptical of timeshare solutions. Far too many are scams are present in today’s travel industry. As you can see, not everything is what it may seem. If you’re looking for a way to get rid of your timeshare agreement, we’d be more than happy to go over your options with you. We take pride in avoiding pressure sales and we always take the time to qualify every prospect for timeshare cancellation services.

Timeshare Laws for Marketing + Advertising

Timeshare Laws for Marketing + Advertising

Over the years, the timeshare industry has transformed into a hospitality giant since it burst onto the scene in the 1960’s. Now that we’ve shared a solid overview on the history of timeshare ownership, let’s talk about some of the laws and regulations that hold the concept together. Although a number of initiatives, revelations and scams have shaped the industry into what it is today, timesharing is still a wild wild west of sorts.

Leading up to 2019, it’s been fairly difficult for programs and agencies to put a halt to unethical practices and the deceit within the industry. But it doesn’t mean society hasn’t progressed. It simply means greed is clouding the judgement of major stakeholders. Businesses fixated on revenue seem to always find a way around laws when the reward is worthwhile.

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A declining market share also adds a little incentive maximizing profits. If you’ve been following along lately, then you’re well aware of the financial rewards that can come with timeshare sales. The problem is, a big percentage of timeshare revenue is at the consumer’s expense. And most likely on purchases that aren’t really necessary.

With developmental expansion slowing down and major hospitality players slowly taking over, it seems like a more systematic approach is in order for the timeshare industry. As the dust continues to settle, a good portion of sales processes and marketing initiatives are becoming more regulated. The tactics that have allowed timeshares to thrive throughout history are now common knowledge because of the internet. Consumers are able to make more informed decisions now than ever before.

Timesharing is Prime For Competition.

Although progress has been made, it doesn’t mean standardizations will eliminate consumer problems. There are plenty of ways to improve which is why vacation rentals and travel clubs are increasing in popularity. Until the people are able to completely trust the timeshare pitch again, we can’t expect an industry rejuvenation. Although outlook has been dim before, consumers aren’t as gullible as they once were.

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The access to information is eliminating impulse purchases altogether. Because people want to know about timeshares, we want to help them understand what they’re getting themselves into. It’s not just about helping timeshare owners get out of their agreements. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the timeshare laws and regulations that have been able to keep resorts and predatory agencies at bay for the most part.

Timeshare Regulations for Marketing and Advertising

Before we talk about the aggressive sales tactics used by timeshare companies and resorts, we have to point out the role that marketing and advertising plays. Before most consumers arrive at the sales presentation, they’ve more than likely already been briefed on what to expect from the experience. In some cases, they might already be eager to sign the dotted line. Making an impulse buy with confidence typically means the marketing has done its job. What’s bothersome is that many timeshare companies know exactly what to say to get people in the door. If they can get you to arrive with minimal questions, they know it’s pretty much a done deal.

The Difficulty of Regulating Advertising or Misspeak.

Like other industries, advertising strategies don’t necessarily tell you the full truth. Trigger words and vague phrases are often used to manipulate consumers into believing the product is better than what it really is. Call it a mirage if you will. For example, food (especially produce) can market products with “organically grown” on the packaging. But it doesn’t necessarily mean their definition matches yours. Legitimizing phrases like “more fresh” or “healthier” is nearly impossible when you’re unaware of the actual standards of the term. When you think about it, it’s pretty difficult to define this type of verbiage anyways.

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How Marketing and Sales Work Together

The same can be said for timeshare marketing strategies. More often than not, consumers are distracted by free gifts and potential instead of focusing on what the purchase is or can be. Timeshare companies know to hype prospects up while intentionally leaving out the details on drawbacks (availability, annual fees, perpetuity, taxes and resale value). The excitement of something they’ve been persuaded to believe in can easily overshadow the actualities of the deal. Call it false advertising if you must. Consumers deserve to be protected from this.

At the same time, it’s very difficult for misled timeshare owners to find restitution in court. In order to penalize an entity for misleading marketing tactics, one has to be able to prove they’ve been lied to. Some lawsuits have won, but only after a lengthy battle with an experienced legal team. While it’ll always be difficult to regulate hearsay when contractual agreements are involved, there is now a strong push to protect consumers from major purchase decisions like this. The best way to combat marketing misconduct is to educate consumers on the front end.

The Legalities and Laws of Marketing and Sales

Aside from public information like this article, nearly every state now has its own marketing and advertising regulations with the FTC, FCC, consumer protection agencies and other state sales statutes. While regulations may never stop unethical companies from breaking the law, at least there are now some consequences in place. Since tourism is more prevalent in certain parts of the country, some states need to have laws that are a little more strict than others. For example, California actually has its own advertising requirements.

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While it’s good to see organizations keep an eye on an industry that can get out of hand quickly, we know it’s not the end all be all. With the internet still emerging, it’s only a matter of time before new regulations are implemented and reinforced. This is a tall order because the world wide web is still basically unregulated. Since regulations have increased marketing costs for timeshare companies, new acquisition is harder to come by. At the same time, it’s caused resorts to target their current fractional owners more aggressively to make up for the loss.

Combating Misleading Timeshare Marketing Tactics

Once you’re locked into timeshare ownership, not all hope is lost. If you feel as though you continue to be lied to, then you have every right to build a case for yourself. The timeshare industry uses a lot of 3rd party advertisers to re-market to their users. Understanding what they’re allowed to market will help you pinpoint unethical behavior and get out of your contract sooner than later.

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It will be interesting to see what evolves in the next few years to combat the extensive amount of fraudulent activity online. In the meantime, do your best to thoroughly understand major purchases and the rights you have as a consumer. There are plenty of things to look for and ask when attending a timeshare presentation. At the end of the day, doing your due diligence and understanding common timeshare marketing misspeak can save you a lot of grief in the long run. 

To continue reading about Timeshare Laws, click part 2 below. If you’d like to learn more about our timeshare cancellation company, we’d love to hear from you! For those interested in learning how we can help you find relief, feel free to submit a qualification form.

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