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.

Why Timeshare Giants Ignore Owner Complaints and Attack the Exit Industry.

Why Timeshare Giants Ignore Owner Complaints and Attack the Exit Industry.

People that value an affordable vacation package often see timeshare travel as an advantage. On the surface, it seems like a straightforward transaction. But once limitations arise and costs become higher than expected, many resent their decision. Since the agreement is perpetual, the outcome is especially troubling for low income households. When owners are at the mercy of the resort, the financial burden can be crippling. For the most part, all they can do is endure. This helps timeshare giants ignore owner complaints and slander the cancellation industry in order to keep their buyers from putting any type of hope into an exit strategy.

There is a Strategy Behind the Attacks.

The concept of handicapping buyers isn’t just happenstance. It’s been widely documented that  timeshare sales teams intentionally target consumers with limited finances. Owners with extra spending money tend to be more willing to take risks to get out of a timeshare contract. Those counting on credit lines and loans usually continue compiling interests and fees just to avoid potential judgements, foreclosures or credit hits. Penalties scare buyers from walking away and it’s difficult for them to know who to trust. Even if they can afford an attorney, the process usually becomes too expensive to complete. It’s safe to say a sense of entrapment is common amongst buyers.

At the same time, owner hesitancy or skepticism isn’t always intuitive. Timeshare companies do a great job overcoming complaints with false hopes and distractions. No matter how much inconvenience transpires, the resort somehow convinces many owners that the resort truly cares about their experience – and that the exit industry as a whole does not. Whether they persuade buyers to purchase an upgrade or transition them into a points program, it’s pretty evident that timeshare companies are selfishly motivated. The last thing the resort wants is to lose control of their owners – or that which they consider a stream of revenue.

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Sadly, many disgruntled buyers reach a point of fear where they’re afraid to even consider our services. They’re led to believe all exit programs are scams. Even though timeshare giants ignore owner complaints, buyers feel as though they have no choice but to adhere to the contract they signed. Some even feel as though it’s their fault. The last thing they want is to make matters worse by taking another chance on something that seems to be fruitful.

Ruining Reputations Instead of Helping Owners.

At the end of the day, timeshare companies aren’t actually fighting for restitution for their customers – rather protecting their own interests. They’re solely fighting to limit or discredit resources that can actually help timeshare owners find relief in a difficult situation. They know that pro consumer solutions exist. They know that previous class action lawsuits against major players in the industry have resulted in a win for the owners. They’re afraid that advantageous programs and services will inform their users on the truth – or the reality of their situation – and help them find relief. The desperation and deceit is clear.

So what are timeshare companies doing to disparage these resources and exit companies? Well, for some time now they’ve been trying to change the law. In the meantime, they’ve spent a lot of time and money taking cancellation programs and attorneys to court. For the most part, major hospitality conglomerates are claiming that the exit industry is soliciting and ripping off their customers; leaving them to pick up the pieces. Asserting that someone else is stealing their customer’s joy, instead of taking responsibility for the grief, helps them control the narrative and eliminate hope – outside of their difficult-to-navigate internal solutions.

But Do Lawsuits Benefit Vacation Owners?

Slander is one thing, but manipulating the system is another. After reviewing many court documents from lawsuits with monetary wins (very few by the way), we found that timeshare owners never actually benefit from them. While timeshares claim to be fighting for buyer restitution, it appears the payouts and settlements remained in their pockets.

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If timeshare companies are in fact in their owner’s corners, why isn’t the initial problem going away? What continues to get lost in the shuffle here is the simple fact vacation owners want out of their contracts. When timeshare giants ignore owner complaints, they’re going to start looking for relief elsewhere. Companies like ours wouldn’t even exist if most buyers were happy. So are they really in the corner of the owners?

Timeshare Strategies Are All About the Money.

When you think about it, all of the money they’re pouring into legal fees to sue the exit industry could be well spent on their customers. The time wasted on slander could be used to listen more and change for the better. But the revenue opportunities defile them. No matter how much they twist their reasoning, the fact remains that most owners are under a binding agreement due to a lie or misrepresentation. They wouldn’t be complaining and falling for cancellation scams by 3rd party predators if they hadn’t been misled at a timeshare presentation.

What’s even more troubling is that timeshare companies are really trying to persuade buyers that their relief options are beneficial. In reality, additional timeshare purchases (or signed agreements) made after the initial sale are often due to a lack of disclosure, further lies, financial hardship or changes in the program that prevent owners from using the property. Many believe they’re actually signing up for relief – only to realize they’re further trapped. 

AMBIGUOUS INFORMATION IS COMMON.

Singling out our entire industry, that emerged because timeshare giants ignore owner complaints, is rather ironic. But it doesn’t take much research to see that timeshare companies haven’t exactly taken out faulty timeshare exit teams. In fact, most of the news releases they publish on the matter come from a state’s Attorney General’s Office. Promoting these types of wins over unethical operations allows them to act as though they’re doing the same. 

It causes us to pose this question: How did a system that is supposed to provide a “lifetime of vacations” or “owning a piece of paradise” become so lopsided? The industry is literally profiting off of their paying customer’s demise. Almost everyday we get inquiries asking us, “How is this legal? “Can’t they just be sued and put out of business?” “This isn’t right.” While we agree, unfortunately, the deeper you investigate the more eye opening the deceit becomes.

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Politicians and Lobbyists Are Helping Timeshares.

If you want to eliminate your direct competitor, and lawsuits aren’t producing the results you’d hoped (because the problem is still there), the best thing you can do is start dealing with lawmakers. That is, if you’re into controlling the market instead of serving it. In the timeshare industry, power roots run deep. Let’s just say timeshare companies have quite the lure for prominent officials when it comes to travel and entertainment. 

To give you an example, the founder of Vidanta Properties (one of the largest hotel chains in Mexico) is said to be an advisor to the Mexican president. The real estate mogul also happens to own the country’s largest collection of golf courses and built Mexico’s first private airport.

There are also subtle references and speculations such as the ludicrous house bill proposed in Florida that accused the exit industry of every tactic that timeshare sales teams use. The bill was basically designed to make it impossible for relief companies to operate – no matter what resources or services were being rendered. In other words, they wanted to completely eliminate all outside resources for their consumers. No wonder timeshare giants ignore owner complaints.

WHAT IS A LOBBYIST?

When it comes to passing or revising laws that limit consumer rights, timeshare companies usually have a lot of support. Lobbyists from different legislature departments are paid serious money (and also rewarded) for siding with resort control. Their job, alongside the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), is to influence lawmakers. Even recent attempts by consumer protection agencies to extend the rescission period (amount of time buyers have to cancel) was diminished. 

Lobbyists from ARDA argue that mature adults should be able to make responsible purchase decisions. While pro consumer agencies believe buyers should be able to visit the timeshare unit before their rescission period expires, resort lobbyists disagree – and they do so aggressively. By incentivising politicians and public officials, this gives them a lot of leverage. The average consumer doesn’t have the capital to compete here.

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PROPOSED AZ BILL PROVIDES INSIGHT

To give you an example, let’s look at HB 2639. The Arizona proposal suggested giving buyers a 14 day opt out period after they were able to use the timeshare. It also pushed the entitlement to a 90 percent refund and options to cancel after 1 and 10 years (in order to escape lifelong maintenance fees and other liabilities like taxes). But since timeshare giants ignore owner complaints, they weren’t interested. Every single argument they made pointed to selfish ambition.

Lobbyist Don Isaacson was the most vocal. “The state should not step in to protect people who didn’t bother to understand the nature of the deal.” But what about those that were lied to and distracted so that they didn’t miss out on the “today only” deal? It is hard to understand how Don Isaacson sleeps at night with the intimate understanding of what really takes place at the point of sale. Especially since he insists on criticising victims for trusting sales teams for product information. 

If he claims not to be aware, then we find it incredibly irresponsible and ignorant to make this statement: “It’s very difficult to legislate good decision making [and] I think it would be a mistake to mandate that,” he said. How can he speak on this if he doesn’t really know?

Instead of taking responsibility for disappointed buyers, they’d rather blame them. This is pretty cut and dry and we’re not the only entity taking notice. “They’ve [timeshares] got a lobbying presence here and around the country,” said Amanda Rusing who works in Legislative Affairs at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. “It was very disappointing to have to remove all of the stronger, pro-consumer provisions.” AG spokeswoman, Katie Conner, agreed.

THE BOTTOM LINE.

If you carefully assess timeshare presentations, the reality of ownership and the business side of timeshare travel, what Regulatory Affairs put together for HB 2639 is actually well done. Unfortunately, the arguments for the timeshare industry were enough to sway most from passing any type of action. When money and power are leveraged, it’s proven tough for the consumer to be truly considered. 

Depending on a jurisdiction, 3-10 days is the average rescission period for buyers and they typically don’t experience the let downs until they first attempt to use the timeshare – which is usually months into the contract. The length of this rescission period is simply not enough time to uncover real issues regarding the onerous contract.

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Will Timeshare Giants Ignore Owner Complaints Forever?

As you can see, uncovering the intentions behind most timeshare entities is quite difficult. Truth be told, it can be quite discouraging too. There is a lot of noise that overpowers the fact that buyers are suffering while timeshares are thriving. Last July, ARDA reported that the timeshare industry made $9.6 billion in 2017 – more than any previous year. Annual earnings from fees also increased by 1%. 

As long as power, money and incentivised support continues to work in their favor, change is not likely. This is why it’s important for consumers to start educating themselves on the purchase before the anticipation takes hold of them. 

Like Isaacson said, lawmakers aren’t always going to help you with discernment. But it doesn’t mean helpful resources are nonexistent. There is hope out there after all and we hope this article points you in the right direction. No matter what the resort leads you to believe, you don’t have to let them dictate your quality of life. If you happen to have any questions or would like to learn more about our attorney based solution, we’re always available for a free consultation.

4 Timeshare Lies That Resorts Commonly Tell Potential Buyers.

4 Timeshare Lies That Resorts Commonly Tell Potential Buyers.

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

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

Misleading Consumers is Extremely Damaging.

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

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

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Why Lies About Timeshare Travel are Common.

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

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

Lie #1: Cheap Travel Options Are Available.

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

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

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Creating Appeal Before the Deal

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

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

Undisclosed Dollar Amounts.

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

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

Timeshare Lies Prove to be Costly.

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

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Lie #2: Timeshares Are Investment Opportunities.

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

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

Supplemental Pipe Dreams.

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

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Lie #3: Booking Priority and Convenient Availability.

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

But the Actual Deal is Usually Sour.

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

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

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

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

A Legacy Pitch is a Red Flag.

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

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

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Avoid the Lies and Focus on the Facts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Sales Pitch Never Actually Scratches the Itch.

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

1. Unexpected Outcomes and Charges Add up.

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

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

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2. Service Limitations Are Rarely Disclosed.

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

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

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3. Worthless Solutions Waste Time and Money.

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

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

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

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Qualification Shortcomings Lead to Disappointment. 

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

1. What Some Fractional Owners Need to Hear.

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

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

2. Eventual Costs Are Rarely Presented.

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

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

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What to Ask, Why Compare and How to Know?

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

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

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

The Truth About Sales Practices in the Timeshare Exit Industry | Part 1

The Truth About Sales Practices in the Timeshare Exit Industry | Part 1

The timeshare exit industry is interesting to say the least. While hundreds of thousands of people have benefitted from their ability to legally cancel a timeshare agreement, just as many have been taken advantage of. Far too many cancellation programs are in business for the wrong reasons and they’re using the exact same sales practices that caused the buyer to seek relief in the first place. Unfortunately, this is a continuous cycle within the marketplace. Whether it’s the original purchase, resale or termination, a majority of consumers have a hard time knowing what’s real and what’s a scam. We know this because we talked to dozens every day.

A sense of confusion inevitably clouds the judgement of fractional owners during the decision-making process. Genuine companies like ours are often bucketed with scams because of the lies vacation owners have been told in the past. Broken promises, misleading information and greed tend to create skepticism that’s hard to break. So in order to show unhappy timeshare owners that we’re not interested in scheming them, selling their data or taking their money, we have to be willing to break down the reality of the sales practices in the timeshare exit industry. Hopefully this helps readers see that we understand what they’re up against and care about their burden.

The Truth Behind Guaranteeing Credit During an Exit.

When it comes to escaping a perpetual timeshare agreement, one must understand that they’re going to receive some backlash from the resort. Our clients have been known to receive threats from the resort and it’s sales teams that collect hefty commissions off of the deal. For the most part, these are simply scare tactics, but you have to understand that no company in the timeshare exit industry can guarantee your credit when you’re at odds with the resort. In the end, the timeshare is the only party that’s able to execute this request.

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Because buyers sign a contract and a promissory note that states they’re obligated to pay for the weekly interval, the resort is going to do everything in its power to keep you under that contract. Unless you’re able to prove that you were misled during the sales presentation, you have no leverage. When a sales rep in the timeshare exit industry makes this guarantee, they better be able to provide evidence. In reality, they’re just trying to persuade you to commit to them, just as you did with the timeshare. 

Vague claims that seem too good to be true should raise red flags. Especially if you’ve already been told one thing by the resort and something else transpired. Learn your lesson here and realize that a number of operations in the timeshare exit industry only want your money. They do everything in their power to gain your trust while protecting themselves from your inconvenience. Even if you’re desperate, looking into guarantees will save you a lot of heartache and further regret.

Credit Repair in the Timeshare Exit Industry.

Some exit agencies will even go as far as partnering with sketchy credit repair services to strengthen their guarantees. But the people managing a handful of these operations are usually connected to the ploy. Tradebloc is an organization worth keeping an eye on in this regard. While their process is quite vague, we do know that they only accept clients from referral sources in order to avoid a transactional relationship with the client. They do a very good job of protecting themselves from potential legal issues while claiming they have the ability to block creditors from reporting.

The CEO, Tim Clark, is proudly listed as “the credit repair industry’s number one money earner.” On the company’s website, he describes Tradebloc as “unique and unprecedented.” If you take the time to analyze their about page, you’ll find that there is a lot of bragging and zero results. Boasting about acquiring “71 corporate clients and generating nearly 1000 new credit repair clients each month” really only says they’re good at sales. Ironically, there are no customer reviews or any type of organization support listed online.

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Further research shows that people have actually gone to jail in the past for making eerily similar claims. All they were doing was filing false police reports that claim identities were stolen and reporting it to credit bureaus to block credit reports. This is not legal and unknowingly ties the timeshare owner to the illegal activity. Fractional owners in search of the best timeshare exit option tell us their credit has been guaranteed by one of our competitors all the time. But they’re never able to tell us exactly how something like this will take place.

Far too many timeshare owners buy into possibilities. This form of desperate optimism is what we refer to as “industry hope.” Agreeing to verbal promises and not asking the right questions in order to garner an accurate understanding of the product is what landed the owner in the unwanted timeshare to begin with. Buyers have to learn as much as they can about the promises made. While it’s yet to be proven that Tradebloc is engaging in illegal activity, the operation does raise quite a few questions. Vague responses that vary from one representative to the next and zero transparency on how the process works should be concerning. 

The simple fact they announced that they’ve “teamed up with the number one travel fulfillment company in the world to give its members the world’s best, authentic, discounted travel,” tells us they’re prepared to target current customers with new offers down the road. When it comes to unethical sales practices in the timeshare exit industry, this is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Avoiding relationships and creating obscure partnerships screams dubious activity

Selling Guarantees Doesn’t Mean a Timeshare Exit is Certain.

While exiting a timeshare contract and repairing your credit may appeal to you, most disgruntled buyers first turn to resale platforms for relief. Followed by leasing, this is usually seen as the most viable and promising option when the timeshare just isn’t working out. Unfortunately, many owners don’t know that the possibility of actually finding a buyer is slim to none. There just isn’t a resale market for timeshares and there never has been. Unless you hold the keys to a week that’s in high demand, it’s a pipedream.

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If you happen to be told that a reseller has a buyer waiting to take the interval off your hands, you have to understand this is a common sales tactic in the resale realm of the timeshare exit industry. After the owner commits, they’re normally told the buyer backed out at the last minute. Since the owner already made a payment and has begun the exit process, they usually decide to wait it out. Resellers know how to play this game and continue leading owners on until they’re willing to lose money just to get rid of the timeshare. This allows them to profit tremendously while you suffer.

If you find yourself involved in a scam, then the outcome can be far worse. In these scenarios, timeshare owners are often misled for months. They believe a buyer exists and continue processing fees, closing costs, tax documents and more in hopes of offloading the contract. After the con artist is satisfied with the stolen amount or senses some tension, they disappear. This costs owners thousands of dollars while the same perpetual agreement remains in their name.

The Reality is, the Timeshare Exit Industry Breaks Promises.

In today’s society, people want to believe they can trust someone’s word. Especially when it comes to expensive business transactions. Sadly, a company’s ability to persuade consumers to hand over money for broken promises is becoming more of a norm. At VOC, we believe people should have a fighting chance when it comes to making large purchase decisions. At no point should they ever feel pressured, alone be misled. For many, financial hardship is right around the corner and they never would have made the purchase had they known the contract would hold them hostage.

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Milking consumers for money as long as possible is a terrible strategy. Unfortunately, it’s the past and current state of the timeshare exit industry. In fact, it’s pretty much the approach of timeshare travel as a whole. Every day, more and more people are falling into a devastating financial pit that takes time to climb out of. Buying into credit or resale guarantees may seem advantageous, but it doesn’t mean it’s true. 

Hopefully this first installment will help you avoid setbacks and find a viable option that suits you best. While the sales practices of the timeshare exit industry have a long way to go, we want you to know that you can trust our word. The last thing we want is for you to remain in remorse.

Next week, we’ll expand on this even further by discussing a few more ways our industry persuades. Omitting information from timeshare owners and refusing to qualify interested parties only leads to disaster. To learn more about our attorney based process or to discuss other options for relief, you can always schedule a free consultation with us or proceed with our qualification form below. Thanks for stopping by!

Timeshare Exit Options Pay Endorsers to Increase Team’s Credibility

Timeshare Exit Options Pay Endorsers to Increase Team’s Credibility

For most timeshare owners, finding a way to get out of their contract is a grueling experience. By the time buyers are ready to abandon the resort’s ship, it’s usually a challenge for them to know who to trust or where to turn. Although a good portion of timeshare exit options are all talk, the lack of consumer trust normally stems from the resort experience as a whole. When a prominent hotel chain has the nerve to swindle them, they’re almost certain others will.

It’s not easy for the average Joe to understand what buyers experience before they see that the expensive timeshare purchase as a mistake. Many spend thousands of dollars trying to make it worth it. Others even try to recoup some of their losses through resale opportunities with no prevail. For the most part, fractional owners are sold on possibilities, but often left feeling used or betrayed by the empty promises. It’s difficult for them to let it go.

By the time buyers realize that terminating a timeshare agreement is worth considering, their skepticism is at an all time high. But can you blame them? Aside from the fear of being taken advantage of, the sheer number of timeshare exit options alone can be quite overwhelming. Deciding which will be the most beneficial is something fractional owners are rarely able to do on their own.

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You see, many relief agencies use the same sales tactics as timeshare sales teams do. They smother unhappy buyers with promises and empty guarantees in order to lead them into another vague, impulse decision. But some have discovered – even from the beginning – that consumers value products and services that are seen as a trusted commodity. When you think about it, the easiest way to get people to believe in a timeshare exit team is to pay famous people to endorse it. Specifically, celebrities that most timeshare owners know and appreciate.

How Paid Endorsements Aid Timeshare Exit Teams.

If you’ve taken the time to analyze your timeshare exit options, then it’s highly probable that you’ve come across Reed Hein and Associates’ Timeshare Exit Team. This operation has been spending excremental amounts of money on radio advertisements and weight-carrying public endorsements for a while now. Since they have a catchy company name, it’s easy for disgruntled buyers to remember where to turn when they feel relief is necessary. Especially if a financial guru gives the Exit Team a plug.

The Dave Ramsey Timeshare Exit Option

When timeshare owners find themselves in a financial pickle, one of the many places they turn to is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. If you’ve ever taken one of Dave’s classes or purchased one of his products then you’ll know that he spends a lot of time warning people about timeshares. Although his message is geared more towards people looking to prevent or escape the burden of debt, he helps a multitude of people realize that the pursuit of an enjoyable timeshare experience is nothing more than chasing a mirage.

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Because of his straightforwardness towards fractional ownership, Reid Hein and Associates saw him as the perfect spokesman for their newest venture in the timeshare cancellation industry. For years now, they’ve been paying him to market their product and endorse their solutions. While he doesn’t specifically explain the Exit Team’s specifics, his influence leads masses of consumers to believe they’re by far the best option.

Since Mr. Ramsey talks a lot about why he doesn’t believe in vacation ownership, Timeshare Exit Team doesn’t exactly have to do much persuading. Because his recommendation carries authority, it also allows them to avoid explaining their services. But even Dave’s personal recommendation seems a little biased. “If you own one and feel stuck, Timeshare Exit Team provides a way out. They’ve been doing this for over 7 years, have successfully exited THOUSANDS of MY listeners, and are the ONLY exit company I recommend.” Either way, many timeshare owners pay the Exit Team, without asking any questions, because Dave said so.

The Timeshare Exit Team Steve Harvey Endorsement Ploy.

When it comes to Timeshare Exit Team, leveraging Financial Peace isn’t the only way they’ve been able to capture the owner’s attention. Steve Harvey has also been a long advocate for the Exit Team. Aside from his ability to influence minorities (specifically the African American community), Harvey has also been a staple as the host of Family Feud amongst other ventures. He’s commonly known as a well respected man that only endorses quality companies.

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Reed and Hein’s decision to use both of these gentlemen was a great idea, but it doesn’t mean they’re the best in the business. Since our goal isn’t to bash our competition, we encourage you to shop the estimates you receive to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Just because a famous person says they’re trustworthy, it doesn’t mean all cases result in positive outcomes. If you take the time to read through reviews and complaints, it will tell you a lot about the actualities of the service. When endorsers are getting paid to praise, you can’t exactly expect them to shed light on the negative side of things.

Other Timeshare Exit Options Pay for Endorsements Too.

In the internet realm, you can find nearly anyone with a following that aligns with your agenda. Another influential person in today’s digital marketplace is a man by the name of Steve Sanchez. His radio show and podcast has been deemed, “Water-Cooler Talk on Steroids” and generally consists of strong Christian views for a conservative audience. His special appointment listening and viewing allows him to make listeners feel as though they’re apart of something and only fed the truth.

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Since the Steve Sanchez Show has been around for nearly 30 years, he has plenty of influence. This is why Wesley Financial Group decided to take a page out of Reed Hein and Associates’ book and pay Sanchez to make a similar statement about their timeshare exit options. While it almost seems like cheating, it’s easy to understand why so many people buy in. His aggressive mentality motivates people to take action and Wesley Financial could surely use the boost.

Laura Ingraham Was Paid to Help Resort Release Recover.

Even the “most listened to woman in political talk radio” joined in on a kickback campaign. Resort Release, who has been known by multiple different aliases ended up recently paying Laura Ingraham for a personal recommendation. Like the other “celebrities” mentioned in this article, it’s highly unlikely Ingraham knows much about the timeshare exit option. But since she has thousands of followers and an in-demand voice, the relief operation couldn’t help themselves. This occurred just before their well-known bankruptcy filing in Florida in an attempt to escape multiple lawsuits filed against them by timeshare giants. We’ll call it one last gasp for air.

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Choose Timeshare Exit Options Wisely.

Although paying influencers to market a product or service is becoming more common, consumers are starting to see through the noise. There’s a difference between endorsing something you like or use and something you’re paid to promote. While the strategy can be effective, it’ll be difficult to sustain if the service isn’t superior. As we’ve covered in other articles, the timeshare industry is riddled with people telling you what the best timeshare exit options are. Whether review websites are paid for leads or resorts pocket from kickbacks, doing your homework goes a long way.

At VOC, we believe in an authentic approach. We’re not in business to persuade people we’re the best, we’d rather show you. While it may be difficult to know who to use or where to turn when it comes time to exit your timeshare, try to eliminate the noise and make a decision that’s best for you. Anyone that needs to pay someone to be seen as a trusted commodity should be questioned extensively. To learn more about our attorney based exit process, you can either schedule a free consultation or proceed with the qualification form below. 

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