Ex Timeshare Reps Sell Relief Services on Facebook During Pandemic.

Ex Timeshare Reps Sell Relief Services on Facebook During Pandemic.

In the timeshare industry, truth can sometimes be scarce. The problem is, not many vacation owners notice until it’s too late. There are hundreds of websites out there that serve millions of misleading advertisements geared towards timeshare owners. Nearly every buyer is prone to make a costly decision that eventually alters their experience. Whether they purchase a third party solution or upgrade with the resort, the return is rarely fruitful. 

Now that owners have been grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic for quite some time, many are getting restless. There’s a level of uncertainty because major resorts have failed to properly update them about usage and fees. What makes matters worse is the simple fact that a majority of timeshare companies have laid off their sales teams. In case you didn’t know, a majority of third party timeshare scams are organized by former timeshare employees.

Proceed With Caution in the Timeshare Relief Space.

Once we recognized that the pandemic wouldn’t be short lived, we started publishing content to help vacation owners understand what they could expect or prepare for in the coming months. After covering resort layoffs a few weeks ago, we started wondering what these former salespeople would do. Sure, they could find another sales gig, but what if they decided to join forces with fraudulent operations when timeshare owners are arguably more vulnerable than ever before?

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With that being said, we started looking into newly launched agencies that claim to aid vacation owners with relief. Although some of you may assume we’re looking to slander our competition, we encourage you to read the entire article before casting judgement. Upon completion, you’ll see that our intent is to protect timeshare owners from potential pitfalls. Even if they don’t hire us for cancellation services, it’s worth it to save them from further financial loss – in a less than ideal period of time. 

If you’re serious about liberating your timeshare contract and all it entails, then you have to do your due diligence before taking action. You should know by now that timeshare companies don’t even play by the rules, so how can you expect their ex-employees to? Approaching every offer as if it were a lie will bode well. If you’re going to use a third party service to exit your timeshare, then make them prove to you that they’re worth your business. If you don’t, most will tell you what you want to hear in order to convince you to pay them.

Facebook Driven Services Claim to Offer Timeshare Relief. 

No matter the industry, consumers should question any business that’s managed from a social media platform. This is especially true when ex timeshare reps sell relief services on Facebook. While the sales pitch may seem promising, nothing about this should appeal to you. Some of these entities position themselves as true consulting agencies that provide “mortgage relief, trade in options and travel services” for timeshare owners across the globe. But do they really?

According to one of these Facebook page managers, her company knows how to  “cancel your timeshare now” and “end maintenance fees forever!” It sounds like something worth looking into, right? Don’t be too sure until you’ve actually taken time to research the service. You’ll find that doing so actually leaves you with more questions than answers.

You see, far too many third party agencies in the exit industry make claims they can’t actually back up. Nothing about these Facebook profiles proves that they’re a credible source for timeshare cancellation. One of them even lists a P.O. box as their address for crying out loud. But it’s not the only clue that that should raise an eyebrow or two.

The simple fact that most of these pages only have a handful of reviews should tell you everything you need to know about her claims. We know how excited people are when they’re finally relieved of their timeshare obligation. The unlisted company only has two reviews and they were posted within 24 hours of each other in February.. BBB listings aren’t much better either. 

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More About these So-Called Expert Timeshare Agents.

If you dig deep enough, you can actually find out if a relief service on social media is an ex timeshare rep yourself. Many don’t update their LinkedIn profiles or may even still be employed as a timeshare sales representative while selling “relief services”. Sometimes, they even use their “experience” as a sales pitch to create value. They do so by publishing content on Facebook that talks about them starting the business because they couldn’t sell lies for a living anymore. 

If you take the time to research these “companies” and their sales reps, it’ll be a lot easier to make a wise decision. You have to realize that these types of people know how to lure you in. They were trained by the best. They use the same types of sales tactics that timeshare sales teams do.

How and Why Timeshare Experts Are Increasing.

Offering phony travel certificates help them generate business. Sweepstakes allow them to build pools of potential targets to market later on. State statute requirements are often ignored to chase sales. Even aggression and limited time offers are used to bait desperate owners. Unfortunately, this activity will continue to increase as the impact of the Coronavirus progresses.

At the end of the day, what experience do these pop-up sites have? When ex timeshare reps sell relief services by promising miracles, why do owners buy in? Other than the slighted conscious of selling timeshares, it doesn’t seem like they have much to offer. 

Just because someone used to work for a resort doesn’t mean they know how to help you get out of a timeshare contract. It actually means they’re experts at keeping you under contract. Anyone that lacks a reputation and tenure while offering cancellation, resale and new travel services shouldn’t be trusted. 

Timeshare Relief Isn’t Always What it Seems.

Bountiful scams that are predicated on timeshare relief often have 2-3 operations that work in unison. The first step is convincing vacation owners to resell or rent their property. Once these efforts are exhausted, further efforts (often from sister companies) attempt to sell owners on cancellation and a new travel option. Pulling off all three is easier when scam artists work together to maximize profits.

While it’s difficult to insinuate that any new timeshare exit company is capable of something like this, it can be very telling if they promote relief in all of these areas. Aside from zero credibility, this is something that should immediately draw a red flag. Most timeshare owners see this as a perk but it most certainly is not. If you have heart problems, would you visit a Facebook doctor that does everything or call a cardiologist?

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Further Insight on Facebook Timeshare Relief.

While this scenario may seem like an innocent ex-timeshare rep selling relief services on Facebook, there could be more to the picture. This is why researching your options is crucial. When website links published on business listings are redirected to another URL, it’s likely nothing more than an affiliate marketer making a profit off of your information. Any website creator can change links and redirect clicks anywhere they want to cover digital trails of deceit.

In other words, social media based timeshare agencies are more than likely paid a commission for leads. Many timeshare relief companies pay third party contractors to carry out their sales methods. So no matter who’s selling you the service, someone else usually takes over. 

Each of these sales agents are given certain resources to engage and persuade potential clients. Duplicate website templates (design) and marketing lingo is very common in the exit marketplace. Not only does this provide legal protection, but it gives the ringleaders an ability to pivot the operation at any given time.

Who Is Really Helping Owners with Relief?

Changing company names and hiring different sales representatives keeps unethical agencies on the move and difficult to track down. Since all of the agencies we researched had a multitude of altered links, there’s no telling where the information of timeshare owners is really going. Although it’s hard to tell if these overnight “shell operations” are on a Facebook agency as a part of a larger scam, nothing tells us they are not. 

Vague and loaded promises on altered websites isn’t a good look. There’s little transparency. The way everything is set up and managed is very suspicious. This is where common sense comes in handy. At this point, they’d need to provide an extensive amount of evidence to convince us that there isn’t a hidden ploy. If you smell smoke, there’s probably a fire somewhere.

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Ex Timeshare Reps Are Selling Relief Services.

Desperate timeshare experiences usually call for desperate measures. It’s safe to say that we can all agree that our country hasn’t seen this much desperation in a long time. The timeshare industry has been thriving and many salespeople have been making a killing for decades. Now that many have lost the income that supports their lavish lifestyle, who knows what they’ll do next. But it’s got to be tempting to continue targeting timeshare owners.

Understanding this element of vacation ownership will help you avoid further despair. Many vacation owners call us to inquire about certain services but don’t always like what we have to say. It’s not that we enjoy being critical – we just hate seeing people burned because they didn’t research the service themselves. No matter what you believe, it’s always important to have a plan B if it doesn’t work out. 

We’ve been experts in timeshare termination since 2014. We understand what it takes to get rid of timeshare obligations. Not only can we prove it, but our clients are more than willing to support our cause. We’d like to be seen as a good friend that tells you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear. Doing so helps you fully understand your options. During a pandemic, a Free Consultation could be the breath of fresh air that you need.

Is the Timeshare Travel Strategy for COVID-19 Really What It Seems?

Is the Timeshare Travel Strategy for COVID-19 Really What It Seems?

Now that this pandemic has reached a point of no return, the general public has started to prepare for the aftermath of an economic crisis. Although timeshare companies were rather quiet during the first few weeks of the nation-wide quarantine, they’ve been adamantly working behind the scenes on a plan to sustain their business model. While most major resorts have communicated their losses, they haven’t said anything about the inconveniences their primary customers may face. So does this mean the timeshare travel strategy for COVID-19 won’t exactly be advantageous for vacation owners? 

Everything about the history of timeshare ownership tells us that this could be a frustrating time for interval buyers. Especially those that recently made the purchase this year. Can you imagine spending tens of thousands of dollars on a perpetual obligation that may not be usable anywhere in the near future? Why should you be forced to view a paid vacation as a loss? Even if consumers sign up for better or for worse, is the timeshare business model really worth protecting? While it’s not for us to say, we do know that millions of owners are currently in limbo awaiting answers.

Why Timeshare Owners Are Probably Getting Anxious.

So why do timeshare companies feel reassurement is the best choice of action? What makes them believe they’ll put high paying customers at ease by announcing more money will be spent on sanitation? How do announcements about resort layoffs help timeshare owners feel better about paying for something they can’t use? How long will they be able to buy time when the timeshare travel strategy for COVID-19 doesn’t even seem to include vacation owners.

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The timeshare industry, as a whole, racks in billions of dollars every year. No matter what they tell the public, it’s going to be hard for most timeshare owners to believe their loss is warranted. If maintenance fees rise or special assessments are billed for an influx in owners defaulting, then the average Joe (who’s probably drowning financially during the pandemic) is not going to be very happy – and rightfully so. Why should they be patient if the timeshare expense is a huge burden for them right now?

HOW ABOUT AN EXAMPLE?

Should Netflix subscribers be forced to pay their monthly dues if the internet went down? If you paid for a season pass at a zoo that caught fire, would you ask for a refund? Although these are significantly smaller dollar amounts, we can all agree that it would be bothersome to be on the hook amidst inconvenience on our end. Now imagine that the streaming bill or zoo visit cost you $350 per month. 

What if the website or zoo piled on maintenance fees at the end of the year (that you vaguely remember agreeing to)? How would a perpetual obligation to pay for these things make you feel? Imagine knowing your credit would be ruined or that judgments may be filed if you didn’t pay on time – in the middle of a global pandemic. Customer satisfaction would have to be at an all-time low.

Why Would Timeshare Travel Change It’s Strategy?

The thing about the timeshare industry is, morale hasn’t always been the best. Truth be told, complaints are often ignored. Every year, millions of dollars are wasted on lobbying and lawsuits to control public perception. Endorsers are paid to influence sales and politicians are rewarded for passing laws to their advantage. The billions of dollars in earnings haven’t been used to reward or serve their high paying timeshare owners. In other words, the timeshare travel strategy has always been self-serving – even before COVID-19.

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While we do recognize the industry as a business, it’s hard to justify their past actions towards the consumer. So why should we believe this will change during a crisis that directly affects their business? Over the last several weeks, we’ve taken the time to post a number of news articles about the current updates that timeshare companies have published online. We’ve spent a lot of time looking for hope for timeshare owners. But nothing has shown us change is in the near future

What Most Timeshare Resorts Are Saying About COVID-19.

After digging through dozens of news releases regarding timeshare travel and the Coronavirus, we’ve come to a few conclusions. First and foremost, it seems as though resorts are reaching out just to reach out. It’s as if they’re all saying the same thing. For the most part, it seems like the intent is to inform shareholders that there is a timeshare travel strategy in place. Communicating their ability to remain afloat through the storm seems to take precedence over anything else. 

Apparently, vacation owners are supposed to be content with their ability to use the resort when it’s all said and done. Promoting positivity and encouraging patience helps timeshare companies garner trust. Keeping owners in the dark distracts them from what could be seen as profiteering. What makes matters worse is the simple fact timeshare owners are not invested in the property. 

Buyers don’t have equity in the resort like that of a house. They don’t own it. So the types of announcements that resorts are publishing right now are worthless. No light is being shone on the real victims here. What this tells us is that hospitality chains are currently more concerned with brand equity than customer satisfaction – like they’ve always been. Why would they be when perpetual contracts guarantee income and eliminate retention.

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Informative Updates Turn to Public Relations Stunts.

Why should they care about their owners when they’re already obligated to pay? Vague news releases and updates give timeshare companies one thing – more time. When you think about it, a lack of disclosure is something they use quite often. Almost the entirety of the timeshare sales presentation is predicated on avoiding pertinent contract details. Keeping timeshare owners in the dark right now allows them to remain in control and profit in the meantime.

At the end of the day, hotel chains are using the idea of a timeshare travel strategy for COVID-19 as a PR stunt. Why else would they promote employee firings or boast about acts of public service when owners may be in need of answers? When the general public feels sorry for their losses and applauds their efforts, it makes it awfully difficult to notice struggling timeshare owners. Putting out good content and a positive image during a crisis is essentially an advertisement – not a timeshare travel strategy for COVID-19.

What Timeshare Resorts Are Actually Doing.

When it comes to the announcements that timeshare companies are making, their statements are rather misleading. If you actually take the time to research resort happenings you’ll find that layoffs aren’t exactly what they seem. First of all, most firings have occurred in the sales divisions. Since timeshares aren’t able to hold presentations right now, there isn’t a need for salesmen. This actually presents them with quite a bit of savings as millions of dollars are spent annually on new acquisition. It’s by far the highest cost of the industry. 

Other employee layoffs haven’t been as convenient like the way some resorts made it sound. Many staff members have been asked to take furloughs or mandatory time off with no pay. In other words, some people aren’t even getting laid off or fired. Timeshare companies are literally expecting them to wait out the pandemic in order to keep their job. This leaves the decision in their hands to quit or move on if they can’t survive.

Many of these positions, like sales teams, are easily replaceable. If anything, the resort will be able to employ a young, fresh and energetic workforce once their doors reopen. While they may be forced to cut costs and say goodbye to some tenured people, doing so is not in the least bit disadvantageous to their business. All stakeholders and key staff members will more than likely remain intact.

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Is There Really a Timeshare Travel Strategy for COVID-19.

The point of this article is to encourage vacation owners to look into things themselves. Far too many expect the truth from timeshare companies and rarely suspect deception. But in the wake of a pandemic – that directly affects the travel industry – they have to be able to expect the worst. Especially when the track record of the industry is rather consistent. Like we mentioned before, nothing in the past has shown us that vacation owners will be considered in the middle of a crisis. Even natural disasters or emergency situations haven’t elicited empathy or compassion.

Buyers of this type of product are customers. They aren’t shareholders and they don’t own anything of value. Most can’t even rent or sell the property for profit. There’s no return on their payments other than the possibility of a good time – that one may argue can be obtained at a cheaper rate and with more flexibility. A timeshare interval is not homeownership or an investment of any kind. Owners should not have to take on the burden when the business stops. They paid for something and they aren’t getting it. Just because the industry is losing income doesn’t mean the customer should suffer.

No matter how many lawsuits timeshare companies fight or lobbyists they’re able to pay – one thing remains clear. There’s always an agenda with this industry and it rarely focuses on the consumer’s concern. As long as they can keep timeshare owners calm, patient and under contract through the pandemic, they’ll come out of it in great shape. Sadly, many vacation owners won’t be able to keep up with the billion dollar industry.

How Might Timeshare Owners Respond to a Pandemic?

How Might Timeshare Owners Respond to a Pandemic?

Social distancing has been a worldwide phenomenon for more than a month now. Billions of people are grounded, waiting on government aid to revitalize their hope. Now that the Coronavirus has everyone’s attention, certain expenses are being looked at through a different lens. Decisions are being made to a different tune. It’s difficult for anyone to know just how different the post-pandemic era will be. While it may be easy for most to cut costs, it’s not that simple for timeshare owners. So how might timeshare owners respond to a pandemic?

Over the past few months, we’ve discussed a number of possibilities that could make vacation ownership worse. Unexpected events, like job loss, medical emergencies or natural disasters could eventually place buyers in a really big pickle during a really tough time. Especially if they’re not even able to use the purchase. But aside from what you could expect or what to be leery of, it’s important to understand your options

Far too many struggling timeshare owners are predictable when it comes to finding relief. At the same time, it’s not exactly their fault. Some have an inaccurate or vague understanding of their perpetual agreement. They might even believe options like resale or buy-backs exist because of what they were told at the point of sale. Unfortunately, misleading presentations aren’t uncommon in the industry. After owners realize they’ve been misinformed or lied to, their desire to get out of the agreement usually grows. What’s interesting is most timeshare owners respond the same way. Let us explain.

What Might Timeshare Owners Be Thinking?

Looking through the lens of the consumer in these situations not only helps us understand how we can help, but also how to avoid further letdown. Oftentimes we speak to owners that simply need advice on something they’re considering for relief. Pressuring people to cancel the contract isn’t always in their best interest. Knowing what you’ve been sold and where to look in the contract for answers allows you to make intelligent decisions regarding your timeshare.

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With that being said, many of you are currently holding onto the hope that vacation ownership isn’t a mistake. As we’ve highlighted in our recent news articles, most resorts have talked about bouncing back better than ever before. Although they haven’t directly addressed how this might affect you, you’re trusting the timeshare will reward you for your patience. While the resort will most certainly appreciate your loyalty, it’s difficult to say if they’ll be eager to reward you.

THE PANDEMIC SHOULD ELICIT BETTER DECISION MAKING.

Based on the history of our clients, many of them hold out hope for the purchase to turn around. They’re told one promise after another, sometimes investing thousands more, only to find themselves back where they started – with a higher expenditure. Although our intent isn’t to mistake your loyalty for ignorance, we encourage you to reach out to your resort for clarity. If there are major changes to availability or fees increase, will the purchase still be worth it

We talk to thousands of people that wish they would have taken action sooner. This is why it’s so important that you think things through. Especially when it comes to an expense of this magnitude. Why wouldn’t you want to know if there is a way for you to suspend payments if hardship were to strike? If these programs end up costing you thousands of dollars in interest will it be worth it? 

Ask them what they would do if timeshare owners respond to the pandemic in a negative manner. Find out how they prepare to manage priority bookings in the future. Let them know you’re interested in all of the benefits they have to offer. But if you’re thinking about trusting a sales organization to do what’s “right” when they’re losing millions – you might want to think things through.

Thought 1:  I’ll Just Sue the Timeshare Company.

Before the pandemic even arrived, some of you may have already been frustrated with a timeshare purchase. While some see value in the vacation package, others feel like they’ve been forced to carry the burden for far too long. The Coronavirus will probably be the last straw on the camel’s back for many. But no matter how upset you are or how bad you think you’ve been screwed, you must proceed with caution

Aiming to hire an attorney and file a class action lawsuit isn’t always fruitful. An average lawyer just isn’t equipped to battle a timeshare company in court. Even those experienced in timeshare litigation struggle to keep pace. Unless you have visible evidence of sales fraud and you’re able to afford the legal process, then you could lose an awful lot of money. Many timeshare owners have.

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While lawyers do their best to represent you, timeshare companies have unlimited funds and elite legal teams that know how to use the contract against you. Even most sales laws benefit timeshare companies. Some states currently have an unlimited cap for assessment fees. Unfortunately, successfully suing the resort because your maintenance fees skyrocketed or a special assessment arrived in the mail is highly unlikely. Your contract says it all. 

Thought 2:  I’ll Just Walk Away From Payments.

Once timeshare owners realize that a class action lawsuit requires a lot of work, evidence, capital and patience – they often have the urge to refuse making payments. Look, we totally understand why. Anyone that’s been taken advantage of by a company they’re paying, no matter the number of occurrences, would find it difficult to be honorable. The binding agreement can seem meaningless when the other party doesn’t meet their end of the bargain. 

No matter how good it might feel to stick it to the timeshare company, it’s important that you don’t take a contract breach lightly. This is why we always recommend adamant communication with the resort. This at least proves that you tried. When you stop paying for the timeshare, it really stacks the odds against you. While you may not hear from the resort for a few months (or even years), you can most certainly expect they will come calling. 

Timeshare owners that think they’ve gotten away scott free are often surprised at some point with a series of ultimatums. Although the expense may vanish from your current balance sheet, it could require quite a bit of cash to settle out down the road. Are you willing to work something out with the resort or legally cancel the agreement now – or would you rather take your chances at the possibility of facing judgements, past due fees, interest and legal costs to name a few? Walking away from an expensive binding contract can be extremely devastating.

Thought 3:  I’ll Just Resell My Timeshare.

Timeshare owners that are able to quickly overcome their emotions tend to look for ways to recuperate their loss. Many immediately turn to resale platforms to see how they can make money leasing or selling their weekly interval. If you search on Google, you’ll find hundreds of resale options that seem promising. The problem is, there just isn’t a market for timeshares. When people are selling them for a little as $1 on eBay, it should be rather telling.

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Sadly, many vacation owners look at this as a safe way to endure the regret of the purchase and at least break even on the expense. But when a buyer doesn’t come knocking and nobody rents the condo then they’re back where they started. Some even invest in other platforms or pay for ads to increase exposure. But they just can’t get rid of them. Most timeshare buyers are aggressively sold at a timeshare presentation that they’re incentivised to attend. Almost no one is actively looking to purchase one. Especially now that vacation rental is huge. 

Not only can resale be a waste of time, but it can also be extremely costly. A number of online scams prey on vulnerable timeshare owners. This is also true in the exit industry. They’re definitely waiting to see how timeshare owners respond to a pandemic. Tons of tactics are used in the 3rd party marketplace. Some even use the names of real businesses to operate the fraud. So don’t let the pandemic lead you to haste. One of the worst things you can do is hand money to someone that isn’t really interested in selling, renting or canceling your timeshare. 

Thought 4: An Advocate Program Will Help.

Whether timeshare owners are burned by resale programs or pass on them, most simply want to find someone they can trust. At this point in their thought process, they’ve realized that working with someone who can represent them and advocate on their behalf is probably best. The problem is, many of these types of programs are similar to inadequate attorneys and even relief scams.

At the end of the day, an advocate simply communicates your plea or request in a professional manner. It’s the glorified way of making a demand so to speak. There is no guarantee, if at all, that this sways the timeshare company to respond in your favor. Even if you’re experiencing hardship. While we’d like to think timeshare companies will aid owners if restrictions last most of 2020, it’s highly unlikely. 

So advocate programs shouldn’t be valued any more today than they have been. If anything, there will probably be an increase in advocate scams during this time. When you have a strong case, you should seek some sort of legal consultation. But if you’re looking for a way to get out of a timeshare contract, then a professional company will benefit you the best. There’s no need to waste thousands of dollars with an unproven solution. 

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Thought 5: I’ll Just Give the Timeshare Away.

Most people wouldn’t donate a timeshare due to the burden or out of desperation. So it’s hard to assume this is crossing many people’s minds right now. But for those that are thinking about doing so, donating or giving away a weekly interval is risky for two reasons. Not only could a transfer scam leave the timeshare deed in your name, but the donation could cause the recipient additional financial problems. What happens if the party you gave the timeshare to wants to give it back?

In the middle of this pandemic, it won’t be surprising to see a high number of timeshare owners looking to discharge their contract or escape the burden altogether. But it’s important that you don’t act irrationally and simply hope for the best. The last thing timeshare owners need is further penalties during an economic standstill.

Thinking about these types of decisions and your timeshare options is one of the best things you can do right now. Not all timeshare owners respond to a pandemic the same way. But helping everyone keep a level head so nobody throws away money is important to us at VOC. If you happen to have any questions about our qualification process or your timeshare contract, you can always schedule a free consultation to learn more.

Will Timeshares Treat Financial Hardship Differently During a Pandemic?

Will Timeshares Treat Financial Hardship Differently During a Pandemic?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking a lot about the realities and possibilities of vacation ownership during a global pandemic. As we head into month two of our country’s attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, it’s becoming more apparent this isn’t going to be a temporary thing. Many of you are reading this right now because you’re starting to realize your timeshare contract could soon present you with some problems. Some of you may already be in the midst of a financial hardship and vacation ownership is probably the last thing on your mind. So what can you expect if you stop paying for it?

Look, no one can really prepare for the international spread of a highly contagious respiratory illness. But the perpetual agreements signed by timeshare owners really rains on a parade doesn’t it? Whether you fully understand what this obligation entails or not, owners will more than likely be held accountable for payment during this time. It’s how many past owners facing hardships have been treated. To date, resorts haven’t said anything to otherwise reassure timeshare owners during the COVID-19 crisis. Expecting empathy from an industry that fails to disclose contract terms during the sale is risky.

Understanding Your Timeshare Contract is Important.

While it may seem like our goal here is to slander the industry to acquire new clients, that’s not the case. The last thing we want you to do is rush the cancellation process before exhausting all of your options. Sometimes, you just need an advocate to help point you in the right direction. But for the most part, you need someone to be honest with you so you can make intelligent decisions. Waiting on the resort to give you a break during a financial hardship can be extremely inconvenient, frustrating and even more costly. Either way, you don’t deserve to be aimlessly led down a road that seems fair. 

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No matter the reader’s perspective, VOC believes that all vacation owners should be able to seamlessly enjoy their purchase. The problem is, this was rarely the case even before this pandemic arrived. Since most buyers aren’t properly informed, disappointments lead to further purchases and even penalties. Plenty of our clients have called us because their timeshare has drained them financially. We can only assume this will continue. 

Now that the coronavirus has thrown a wrench in everyone’s activities and plans, it’s going to be extremely difficult for anyone to appreciate and relish in the decision to buy a timeshare. Whether you think you have a good enough reason to walk away from the burden or not, it’s important to understand what can take place if you do.

When You Can’t Pay For Your Timeshare.

Many of you were ecstatic when you first made the decision to buy a timeshare. Going on vacation every year is a big financial commitment that most people never get to enjoy. It feels good to be able to escape. At the time, none of you were thinking about the possibility of financial hardship – let alone forced social distancing. Some of you just made the purchase last month and now you’ve lost your job. With the job market at a standstill, unemployment will only take you so far. So what can you expect from the timeshare company? Moreover, what can you expect from a company that claims to know how to legally terminate timeshare contracts

Financial Hardships Don’t Stop Collection Attempts.

If there’s one thing that has remained consistent since timeshare travel came about, it’s that complaints have never been paid much attention to. The focus and capital always seems to funnel towards sales tactics and collection attempts. This has been evident for quite a while now. No matter the cost to them, timeshare companies and resorts will make sure they’re paid in full. If they allow vacation owners to easily escape the contractual burden, their entire business model would be destroyed.

Those that don’t adhere to the contract they signed can expect to be aggressively pursued for payment. Especially if you avoid the resort and refuse to pay in an aggressive manner yourself. If the communication gets to this point, you have to understand that sales organizations will harass you. The first level of collections normally comes from an internal agency or staff, employed by the timeshare. Some of our clients have told us that commissioned salesmen have even threatened them over the phone.

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FEAR CAN BE MISLEADING

While it may be comforting to believe the industry could have a change of heart, we also have to understand they’re losing a lot of money right now. If anything, this should lead us to believe that collection attempts could be even more troubling today. Threatening notices for foreclosures or liens could come a lot quicker if the travel ban lasts through the year. Not everyone will stop paying because of financial hardship. Some will deem the expense non-essential or simply boycott payments because they can’t use it.

Timeshare companies will more than likely respond in a way that benefits them best. With a contract on their side, it’s going to be awfully difficult for vacation owners to escape some sort of obligation. You might be racking up fees right now.

There Are Multiple Ways Timeshares Collect Dues.

If you’re able to endure the resort’s collection attempts, just know you’re not in the clear. Once your contract reaches a third party collector, the tactics get to be a little more cunning. Most people don’t understand that there are different ways this can affect your credit differently. Not only is the debt amount likely to increase, but you’re not guaranteed a “paid in full” distinction.

These types of agencies really know how to put the pressure on timeshare owners to take action. By removing the emotion out of the equation, they aim to tactfully remind you of the ramifications of your refusal to pay. If you’re in over your head or you don’t know what to look for in your contract, they can be especially convincing. They know how to create confusion in order to bring the contract current. It’s their job and you should always seek advice in these matters.

At the end of the day, third party collectors work for the timeshare company. Negotiating with them is rarely fruitful and leaves most owners back at the mercy of the resort – even after a large payment is made. If you’re in the middle of a financial hardship and worried your debt is going to put you in a deeper hole, it would be wise of you to seek advice. Threatening you until your contract is current is bad business. If you can’t pay, you have to be smart.

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Avoid Timeshare Deception During Financial Hardships.

Remember, the end goal of the timeshare company is to make as much money as they can. It’s always been that way. Their strategy is always going to be to keep you under contract for as long as they can. They’ll tell you that they’re waiving fees and “helping you out” – but the fees would never have been there if they cared. Even bait and switch attempts should be expected during this time. Future promises and guarantees should be taken with a grain of salt, because the proof is in the pudding.

Things that may be available today may not be available tomorrow. Efforts to comfort you while creating fear are common in the industry. Nearly everything presented to prospective buyers and current owners is excessively ambiguous and one sided. The goal has always been to collect as many timeshare payments as they can for times like these. It’s not hard to see right through the business model itself.

Do Struggling Timeshare Owners Have Legal Options?

So what happens when you scrape together enough money to pay off collections but find out your timeshare contract is still active. What will you do if you were counting on the expense being eliminated altogether? When timeshare owners are taken advantage of in this way, they’re usually ready to sue the resort for everything they have. But there’s a reason why so many struggling buyers have failed to find legal success. 

For the most part, the contract itself favors the resort. Even class action lawsuits have been known to fizzle after months of planning and organization. No matter what hardship was endured, the agreement remains binding. Even when accusations are valid, many go broke just trying to keep up with the lawsuit. Timeshare companies have millions of dollars and use some of the best lawyers in the world to defend themselves. Competing is difficult when you’re already struggling financially. The simple consideration of this approach is rather foolish.

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Many legal teams just aren’t equipped to go up against timeshare companies in a legal battle. If you find yourself committed to restitution, then the best thing you can do is eliminate the burden for good. We’ve written a number of articles that explain the differences between hiring lawyers to litigate and our attorney based process. Working with a company that understands the industry and has success with timeshare litigation can be extremely beneficial. Especially when you can get out with a clean slate for $0 out of pocket with 0% interest. 

How Owners Could Pay For Walking Away.

If you decide to just ignore the collection attempts and hope for the best, then there are some things worth considering. Refusing to act responsibly can make this global pandemic far worse for you and your family. Even if you don’t hear from the resort for a few months or even a year, the repercussions could be adding up. Our clients have been known to incur a number of late fees, hidden costs and even unauthorized credit card charges in the past.

Some don’t even know the resort signed them up for a credit card or an additional contract during the point of sale, adding further inconveniences. Many of these scenarios aren’t even known until tens of thousands of dollars have been incurred. Missed payments on maintenance fees and a potential special assessment only makes matters worse. Especially for new buyers who never knew they existed.

Judgements, interest, legal filings, attorney fees and any other administrative costs can really catch a struggling individual (or family) off guard. Timeshare ownership doesn’t come with a forbearance option. In the timeshare’s eyes, your only option is to pay for what you agreed to. Far too many buyers think they’re ahead of the game only to find out they’re behind the curve. At some point, you’re going to have to face the fees that have accumulated because of your decision to walk away.

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Be Smart With Timeshare During This Pandemic.

Whether there is a pandemic or not, it’s uncommon for timeshare companies to willingly take back your contract. They don’t care if you now view the purchase as a non-essential expense. They worked hard and paid a lot of money to guarantee your payment. No matter how upset you may get over broken promises, all they have to do is point to the piece of paper you signed. Sadly, this is how they’ve always done business and we have no reason to believe it’ll change. 

So do your best to prepare yourself for the unexpected during this time. Even if you never face financial hardships as a timeshare owner, be mindful of everything the purchase entails. There might come a point in time where timeshare travel loses its luster. You never know, going on vacation may never be the same. Waiting or acting irrationally could be costly. With that being said, if you have any questions about legally canceling a timeshare contract, we’d be more than happy to help.

What Could Make Timeshare Ownership Worse During a Pandemic.

What Could Make Timeshare Ownership Worse During a Pandemic.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing a few hypothetical situations that vacation owners should most certainly consider. While it’s still difficult to tell when travel bans will be lifted or the economy will reopen, it’s safe to say that the hospitality industry will incur quite a bit of loss. Whether it be the consumer or businesses. As a vacation owner, you might be used to inconveniences – but no traveler is in a worse position than you are right now. No matter what happens, your perpetual agreement will more than likely keep you at the mercy of the resort.

There isn’t much that could make timeshare ownership worse during a pandemic than your obligation to pay for something you can’t use. But there are a few instances that could make those payments even more difficult to bear. Truth be told, vacation owners are more vulnerable than ever before. Although we’d hate for any of these things to occur, helping you understand what your contract entails could pay dividends down the road.

Are You Worried About Timeshare Ownership?

Listen, you have a right to feel uneasy about owning a timeshare interval during a global standstill. Especially if you’ve lost your job or simply realized that you need to cut expenses to do a better job saving money. The level of uncertainty in general, on top of your inability to use something you have to pay for, has to be burdensome. Some of you already know you’re not going to be able to afford your timeshare

YOUR AGREEMENT DOESN’T GIVE YOU MUCH LEVERAGE.

To date, all signs from timeshare companies have been pointing towards self interest. Nothing has shown us they’re contemplating helping the millions of owners that are paying their salaries during this pandemic. The binding agreement that timeshare owners signed allows them to expect payments and penalize refusals – even though they have an ability to help out. In short, waiting to act on your concern can be costly. If further disaster were to occur, then what?

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What Could Make Owning a Timeshare Worse?

While the chances of another setback occurring during a global crisis is slim, it’s not out of the question. The longer this pandemic lasts, the more the odds are stacked against you. The last thing we want is for you to be unprepared. Although it may seem like we’re trying to talk you into canceling your contract, we simply want to make you aware of possibilities so you may act accordingly. Sometimes, this is as simple as reaching out to the resort to work something out. Nonetheless, if any of the following events impact your resort, then your binding agreement could become quite regrettable.

1. Bad Weather Can Be Limiting and Expensive.

One of the worst things that could happen during a pandemic is a natural disaster. In a time where everyone is isolated in their homes, a loss of power or water can be devastating. Not to mention the immediate dangers that come with severe storms. Whether you experience a natural disaster yourself or your timeshare is hit by one, a timeshare contract is not going to come in handy.

Just in the past few weeks, there have been a number of deadly tornadoes in the southeast and moderate earthquakes on the west coast. We have no doubt that there are timeshare owners out there who are currently dealing with these unimagined scenarios. If your timeshare vacation was already cancelled due to the pandemic, what happens if your resort is damaged by an earthquake or hurricane this summer? It’s hard to tell when hotels will reopen for tourists. Anything could happen in between.

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SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS ONLY MAKE MATTERS WORSE.

What happens when you don’t get to vacation in 2020 at all but you’re asked to pay thousands of dollars in special assessment fees due to tornado damage? How would it feel to know the resort profited off of you and your fellow owners during a year where many suffered? Would it make you wish you would have reconsidered the purchase long before? 

A natural disaster would make it awfully difficult for you to find restitution for a lost year. If your timeshare is on a fault line, in tornado alley, in the Caribbean or next to a volcano then you might want to start thinking about what’s really worth it. If you’re already struggling during this pandemic, then assessment fees and further limitations would definitely make timeshare ownership worse.

2. A New Acquisition That Spurs Change.

If travel limitations stretch into the fall or holiday season, a handful of timeshare companies may look to off-load some of their resorts to cover their losses. Whether sales are low due to a pandemic or lost interest, resorts often benefit from change. And what better time to revamp a timeshare resort than during a global lockdown. Investors and developers that are able to endure this standstill will be eager to take over struggling properties in popular destinations.

The problem with an acquisition is the suddenness and lack of transparency that occurs. Owners rarely have a say in what transpires or what’s required of them. Oftentimes, those taking over have big plans to upgrade the resort at the timeshare owners’ expense. Receiving high maintenance fees and sudden assessments – because a wealthy developer wants to make more money – can be quite troubling during a pandemic. Especially for those that are already struggling to pay for their timeshare.

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BUYOUTS CAN BE MISLEADING FOR OWNERS.

Although an improved experience may appeal to most travelers, additional expenses could be devastating to some timeshare owners right now. Now that assessment fees aren’t capped in many states, there’s no telling how resorts could respond during a pandemic. Sadly, you’d have no choice but to adhere to the decisions of new management. Even if this means their budget cuts eliminated employees or services you’ve grown accustomed to.

Nearly every timeshare acquisition gets our phones ringing here at VOC. Many vacation owners learn to appreciate the little things about their locations and dislike being stripped of them without warning. If hospitality companies are expecting a lot of downtime, you have to know they’re going to be looking for ways to maximize profits once they’re able to reopen. New construction, landscape improvements, pool renovations and suite upgrades usually come with an acquisition. Unfortunately, these could occur at a really inconvenient time this year, making timeshare ownership worse during a pandemic.

3. An Owner’s Sudden Change in Health.

One of the most unexpected occurrences in a timeshare owner’s life is a decline in their health. Everybody wants to believe they can continue traveling forever. Nobody wants to think about physical ailments or health conditions limiting their quality of life. But things happen, and you have to be prepared to adapt or face the music. When it comes to timeshare travel, many purchases end up unusable because of this. 

Whether a property doesn’t have adequate handicap accessible lodging or higher altitudes are unsafe, visiting your timeshare can become a lost cause. Especially when the timeshare company isn’t willing to make it work for the same price. If traveling to the resort is already risky as it is, what are you going to do if your health worsens? While we see this the most in the aging community, one unforeseen tragedy or accident can alter anyone’s life in an instant.

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If you’re already struggling to get by during the COVID-19 crisis then how would you pay for the timeshare if you become terminally ill or are involved in an accident? If you have an underlying condition and traveling isn’t safe anymore, what will you do when the timeshare holds you to your contract? Understanding these types of scenarios and how timeshare ownership could get worse will help you navigate certain paths if they were to occur.

4. A Large, Unexpected Expense Arises.

There are a number of things that play a role in a vacation owner’s desire to legally get rid of a timeshare contract. But nothing is more convincing than an abrupt expense that takes a priority in their life. This could involve anything that’s unexpected with a high price tag. Funeral costs for the death of a family member or medical expenses can create quite the setback. Even caring for your parents or going through a divorce could quickly come into fruition unexpectedly.

If you lost your job of 30 years and are struggling to pay for your mortgage then homeownership certainly takes precedence over the timeshare. Maybe you purchased the timeshare before expanding your family and you’re just now realizing they need you more than you need the vacation. Kids are a lot more expensive than most people think. 

All of these things, during a pandemic, would definitely make timeshare ownership worse. Understanding what your options are will help you avoid further trouble down the road. At some point, you’ll want to decide if a total cancellation is the best way to save money over the long term.

5. What Else Can Make Timeshare Ownership Worse?

Look, there isn’t much worse than a terrible timeshare experience. Paying for an expectation that doesn’t transpire has got to be frustrating. But we have to start thinking about how this pandemic is going to alter the future of travel. Aside from dealing with an invisible enemy, we have to admit America is quite vulnerable right now. If international tensions arise, how will timeshare contracts be viewed? How burdensome could they become if a war or global conflict broke out – on top of the economic crisis our country is already facing?

Something else worth considering is an economic crisis that’s beyond what we’re currently experiencing. If you still have a job but you ended up losing it due to a poor recovery, how will this impact your life? Will you still have an ability to travel? If new laws, tolls or regulations for hotels add to the cost of your timeshare, is it going to be something you can continue to afford?

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The coronavirus will also affect a number of people psychologically. If you’re already a germaphobe, are you going to be able to get into an airplane or visit a condo that could potentially be contaminated with COVID-19? If you’ve experienced trauma during this time, will you feel safe in unfamiliar locations? If you lose someone close to you, are you going to want to go on vacation anytime soon? Anything that could make paying for timeshare ownership worse needs to be considered here.

Will Timeshare Travel Ever Be the Same Again?

No matter how you’re handling the pandemic, we can all agree there’s plenty of time for us to reassess our spending habits and priorities. If owning a timeshare just doesn’t seem like something that makes sense anymore, then cutting ties while you’re still ahead may not be a bad idea. Because of the way your resort has handled this crisis, some of you are ready to move on. If the unexpected were to occur, then your timeshare contract probably won’t help. 

At VOC, we don’t believe in pressuring timeshare owners to cancel their contract. In most instances, there’s a competent way to work things out with the resort. You just need to know your realistic options when it comes to your contract. Working with someone you can trust helps. If cancellation is something you’re interested in, you can always schedule a free consultation or fill out a qualification form to see if you’re eligible for our services.

Will the Pandemic End Up Like an Unexpected Assessment for Vacation Owners?

Will the Pandemic End Up Like an Unexpected Assessment for Vacation Owners?

A global pandemic isn’t exactly something you can anticipate or really even prepare for. Within weeks, each of our lives have been altered in some way shape or form. No matter how social you were before, we’re all getting used to the disappearance of familiar faces and places. It seems like it was just yesterday that our time was dominated by busy routines and ulterior motives. Now, we’re faced with quite a bit of unknown. As a timeshare owner, you may have no idea what to do.

If there’s one thing that’s for certain though, it’s that a number of cost cutting measures will take place across the globe. Whether you’re the head of the household or a corporate CEO, you’re probably going to have to make some decisions regarding your bottom line at some point down the road. You might be forced to sacrifice some of the things – or even relationships – that you’ve grown accustomed to over the years just to pay the bills

The Result of a Global Budgetary Analysis.

As people scramble to find a way to make money during a stand still, it’s going to be difficult for them to ignore an overzealous budget. As a result, many will abruptly eliminate unnecessary spending habits to find immediate financial relief – creating a giant snowball effect that causes even more problems for others. When a large percentage of the population stops buying luxury items, those supplying these products and services will suffer – as will their employees.

While essential businesses will more than likely thrive during this time, some don’t even know how they’re going to survive. Billion dollar corporations that used to swim in their daily harvest are now barely able to rake in any type of revenue. Some are getting creative while others simply throw millions at online advertising, hoping it sticks. Either way, many will eventually look to take extreme measures to overcome extreme losses and sustain profitability. Oftentimes, this comes at the expense of loyal customers.

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Should Timeshare Owners Be Worried?

Most large purchases include financial options that aid consumers during a crisis or hardship. For the most part, companies are willing to work with their customers to ensure payments continue and collection or legal actions are avoided. This is happening even more frequently today as millions of people struggle to cover their expenses. At the same time, some operations are leaning on their contractual agreements to pull them through rough waters. 

To date, it seems like timeshare companies are sticking to the strategy that’s allowed them to rise to a state of prominence that many will never attain. In other words, it would surprise us to see timeshare resorts treat a global pandemic like a disadvantage to them – not necessarily their owners. You see, most view the decision to purchase a timeshare as a binding one. This means, through thick and thin or for better or worse if you will.

Whether you like it or not, you have to think of a timeshare purchase like that of a house or car. If someone unexpectedly changes all of the locks to your house, you can’t expect the bank to pay for the locksmith or a hotel stay. If your pool gets struck by lightning and the foundation is cracked then the homeowners association won’t buy you a season pass to the waterpark. You’re forced to deal with the cards you were dealt, in the house you chose to purchase. While a timeshare is literally nothing like a permanent residence, the resort will unfortunately view it this way because of the contract you signed.

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Why the Cost of Vacation Ownership Could Rise.

Over the years, many of our clients have hired us because they can’t even use their timeshare. The resort’s lack of compassion has already frustrated tens of thousands of buyers. If those with unexpected health conditions or financial problems haven’t been able to get out of timeshares in the past, is there actually a reason to believe this will change? Is it really plausible to think they’re going to bail out contracted owners when their entire operation is shut down?

Truth be told, COVID-19 has probably hurt the hospitality industry more than anyone. Resorts are completely empty, forcing many to let go of key members of their staff. It’s not exactly the perfect scenario for timeshare companies to have a change of heart. So as you continue paying while waiting for your timeshare to take care of you, it’s important that you consider the papertrail

When unexpected incidents occur at resorts, timeshare owners often foot the bill. No matter the level of inconvenience it causes, buyers are forced to adhere and wait for resolve. After all, it’s what they signed up for – even if you didn’t know. So for those of you that are wondering how your timeshare may handle this global pandemic, the best place to look is how they handle assessment fees

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Special Assessments Are Never Convenient.

If you’re hearing about assessments for the first time, just know you’re not alone. A good portion of first time buyers aren’t even aware of annual maintenance fees. So when an unexpected event occurs at the resort, they’re normally caught off guard when they receive an invoice. One of the most common scenarios involves natural disasters.

Unexpected Natural Disasters Are A Good Example.

People that purchase a timeshare vacation in a tropical destination rarely think about the possibility of a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, flood or even volcanic eruption. Even if they did, most assume they can travel around the occurrence. When you’re not a resident of susceptible areas, it can be difficult to know just how damaging a natural disaster can be. Either way, would they still make the purchase if they knew repair costs from natural disasters (in the form of an assessment) would be spread out amongst owners? 

The problem with the timeshare sale is that most agents don’t fully disclose all obligations. Timeshare companies aren’t concerned with their buyer’s budget when the property is damaged and unusable. If they did then, they wouldn’t ask for thousands of dollars in a matter of months or refuse access to anyone that doesn’t comply. What makes matters worse is resorts have been known to invest in shoddy repairs just to get the property back open for business. This was apparent in Houston when barricades didn’t stop the ocean from taking over the shoreline.

Owner Obligations Benefit the Resort.

Due to their contract, owners have to cover assessment costs in order to avoid a breach and further penalties. Aside from an inability to access what they paid for, they’re forced to cover the costs of a property that they truly don’t own. If you’re not prepared for something like this, it can be rather devastating financially. Kind of like a global pandemic. 

When unsettled owners complain about the inconvenience, most are met with a straightforward answer. They’re simply told that they should have known the risks of the area during the purchase and that they signed a binding agreement they’re obligated to honor. At the end of the day, timeshare owners help the resort maintain an income during an unexpected phase of construction repairs. So who’s to say they won’t lean on timeshare owners now?

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Hopefully Timeshare Companies Change.

Although it’s hard to tell exactly what will occur, it’s always best to be prepared for the worst. For all we know this could be over in a matter of months. If it is, timeshare companies may not have to do much to make inconvenience go away. But if the hospitality industry is shut down for a long time, desperate times may elicit desperate measures. While you may be hopeful about your timeshare contract now, it could get rather costly in the near future.

With that being said, we’ve found that a global pandemic has given us an opportunity to educate hundreds of timeshare owners across the country. Many of you are worried right now – and rightfully so – but clarity can go a long way. Speaking with a professional team that isn’t force-feeding you a solution can be extremely beneficial during this time. Just remember, one of our consultants is only a phone call away. If you’ve decided to commit to canceling your agreement, then you can always fill out one of our eligibility forms below.

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