The Timeshare Escape Story of Bill + Laura.
Bill: I’m Bill, and-
Laura: I’m Laura.
Bill: And we’re from Phoenix, Arizona. Our initial experience was pretty good. We had it for-
Laura: 20 years?
Bill: … 20 plus years and had enjoyed using it. We had a pretty good experience with it, but it had run its course. Our kids were older, we weren’t using it. We were mostly giving it away. It’s just after 20, 25 years we’ve paid all our dues and everything. It was time to get out of it and they weren’t cooperative anymore. In fact, they were-
Laura: They were difficult to communicate with, to get ahold of, to get answers.
Laura: It kind of went downhill.
Bill: When we bought the timeshare, it was a deeded property. It had been purchased in the ’70s and we bought it in the early ’90s, maybe-
Laura: Something like that.
Bill: … from my uncle. It was just deeded so it was in perpetuity unless you gave it up, supposedly, at least at that time. We had younger children so we traded to stay outside of Disney World, we went to Vegas–things along that line. We did utilize it. It was actually quite nice. It worked out fine, the trade value and everything was good.
Laura: We went to the Dominican, we did a lot of things with it.
Bill: We did a lot of things with it.
Laura: It was just when they changed the companies that the trading power wasn’t the same, there wasn’t any place to trade for and to go to. We aren’t golfers and it was a golf community so it was worthless to us.
Bill: We tried to do everything properly. We tried doing everything that they would say or suggest to sell it or get rid of it and to no avail. It just ended up costing more and more and more, and it was just a hole where we threw money. There are other companies out there that obviously do what you do or say they do, a lot of them just are a way. You can pay upfront and nothing gets done, there’s no guarantee. Then, they stop answering your calls, answering your emails.
Laura: They just disappear.
Bill: Did that a few times and then we tried it with the agency that was, I guess, running the particular timeshare that we had. They kept saying suggestions, but they just wanted us to keep paying our dues and they just kept kicking the can down the road. It wasn’t a very good experience the last few years when we wanted to be done with it. There seemed like there was no way out. After really working and writing letters and writing emails and calling, getting ignored and not having things returned in any kind of a manner, not even a timely manner when we were dealing with, I guess, the board of the timeshare, they were dishonest. One person would tell you one thing, another one would tell you another. It was just to postpone and deflect until you paid more and paid more and paid more. It was just a-
Laura: They just wanted their money.
Bill: Dues. They didn’t care if we ever stayed there, they didn’t care about anything.
Laura: We would have been happy with just giving it back and they could just sell it to somebody else. We weren’t looking to make a profit, we just didn’t want an ownership of it anymore and we couldn’t even do that. If they think their product is so fantastic, why not let them give it back and resell that week to somebody else?
Bill: Initially, I thought we got a really good value out of it.
Laura: Oh, absolutely.
Bill: But towards the end, when it was time, they needed to help people get rid of them and they were more concerned about getting their dues. It started at $400, $500 a year, again, early ’90s, all the way up to $1,200 a year. I mean, incrementally. How much totally? I don’t know. We would have to sit down and figure it out. It was tens of thousands of dollars.
Bill: The representative we worked with, she was very friendly, she was very informative. Now, it took months before it was actually released, but we were told that all upfront, we were told what to expect. Immediately, the letters and phone calls stopped. I mean, within a week.
Laura: Emails, constant.
Bill: Emails, we didn’t get any more. We felt even though we hadn’t got any finalized papers, if you will, we felt that, well, it was being taken care of and we were informed. Occasionally, they’d give us an email, tell us what was going on.
Bill: The funny part, she actually … somebody called, I’m not sure who. Someone called. Was it Wendy? I can’t remember. Someone called and congratulated us on getting rid of our … we had the title moved over to someone else. That was kind of cool the way she did it. Overall, a good experience. Didn’t take a lot of time. Wasn’t expensive. I mean, that’s our feelings anyhow. It was basically a match of our dues that we would have to pay over the next year or two. It was a good experience and minimal effort on our part.
Laura: You do what you say you’re going to do.
Bill: You know, a lot of people guarantee things, but-
Laura: It was easy. There wasn’t a lot of work. You walk in, this is what it is, you lay it out and then you go home, and you forget about it. Next thing you know, it’s no longer yours. It’s over.
Bill: That shadow hanging over your head is removed. We were constantly thinking, “Well, maybe I should pay this month. Maybe we should try it again.” As I said, we had a good experience with ours and then things changed. Everybody changes, I get it, but it ruined the experience. Lots of people promised and guaranteed things and didn’t do it, didn’t come through. You guys did.
What Can Owners Learn From this Video Testimonial?
Bill and Laura’s story is a prime example of a pleasant timeshare escape that quickly eventually evolved into a financial burden. Hoping for the best can sometimes result in worst case scenarios. Know when to get out and how to escape a timeshare is crucial. It’s never worth it when you’re constantly fighting to make it work or cancel the purchase altogether.