For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about how timeshare companies are creating an awful lot of smoke around timeshare cancellation. While there are some fires that need to be extinguished, the entire relief industry doesn’t deserve a bad wrap. Keep in mind, fractional owners would never be susceptible to relief scams if the resort didn’t continuously fail to make the purchase worth it. The truth of the matter is, canceling vacation ownership is not something to be feared.
When buyers take the time to research the companies they do business with, the end result tends to be a satisfactory one. Despite the growing number of scams, quality resolutions are easy to find when you know what to look for. If you want to get out of your timeshare, then it’s probably not in your best interest to lean on the resort for advice. Especially when their main prerogative is to keep you under contract and create fear around canceling vacation ownership.
If you’ve been following along, you’ve been able to see how timeshares are currently leveraging news releases, lawsuits and even proposed state laws to discredit timeshare exit services. They continue to prove they have no interest in improving timeshare products or the overall experience of the purchase. Now that people are canceling vacation ownership more than ever before, timeshare companies are frantically trying to control the narrative while attracting new buyers.
How Timeshares Deceive Their Owners.
Although resorts say fractional owners are their number one priority, they rarely provide evidence of these claims. When you actually think about it, nearly all of their assertions lack substance. The initial presentation was probably riddled with promises that never came true. Their keen ability to persuade people by using smoke and mirror techniques is astonishing. But we’re not exactly here to stand in awe of their deceit.
Timeshare companies have a unique ability to influence their users in a number of ways. Aside from spinning industry news in their favor, they enjoy sending letters that warn their users about timeshare cancellation services. They believe it helps them build rapport with buyers. Since a client of ours shared one of their letters with us, we thought it’d be interesting to break down the message to show you where the deceit lies.
Misleading Communication From a Prominent Resort.
The letter started off by discussing the reason behind their communication. It said, “[We have] noticed a large increase in third party companies acting as fraudulent resellers, or trying to solicit our owners with false promises to provide timeshare “transfer” or “exit” services. It is critical that you understand key information.” As you can see, they clearly want the owner to believe the resort is in their corner. So let’s see how the letter’s claims hold up.
1. “Timeshare companies do not negotiate “timeshare exits” with unscrupulous timeshare exit companies. These companies are not authorized to represent us and have no special access, relationship or method of obtaining an ‘exit’ for you from your timeshare contract. Absent an agreement, or court proceeding, there is no way for these companies to ‘exit’ you from your timeshare without causing you to be in breach of your contract.”
First and foremost, timeshare companies do in fact commonly respond to the legal team of an attorney backed service. The idea that owners can’t legally extricate themselves from an oppressive timeshare contract is simply a myth created by the timeshare itself.
The resort inevitably wants unhappy owners to use their internal “solutions” for relief. This is one of the ways they cause buyers to believe spending more with them is the only way. Many timeshare owners don’t even think about relief after reading a warning like this. Paying for an upgrade seems logical when you can’t book the condo and legally canceling vacation ownership is deemed impossible.
If you’ve owned your timeshare for some time, you’ve probably experienced at least one acquisition, if not several over the years. Many uncertain owners fall for conditional upgrades during mandated owners update meetings. They usually start looking for a way out after realizing these new programs only created more problems. The cycle continues from here.
When timeshare companies are able to create doubt around cancellation and kill the hope of their users, they profit tremendously. Truth be told, half of the industry’s recurring revenue stems from dissatisfied buyers trying to improve their experience. It’s a part of the grand scheme.
2. “Scare tactics used by many companies are false and designed to convince you to seek cancellation of your membership. Many companies invite members to attend seminars and free dinners to learn about supposed “timeshare law changes” or “maintenance fee increases” that will affect their account. Most notably, members are often incorrectly told, “their children will automatically inherit and become liable for the timeshare annual dues.” Don’t fall victim to these lies.”
Have you ever accused someone of doing something that you do unethically? This may sound confusing, but we’ve all done it. When people are hiding something, they often try to deflect attention in order to avoid consequence or accountability. The timeshare’s response here is a head scratcher, but it fits this mold to a “T”. They’re literally warning owners about the same type of tactics they use. Sadly, many of the masterminds behind exit scams are former timeshare employees. They know how to use these tactics well and they learned from the best.
Although many exit programs do use premeditated sales events to target disgruntled owners, not everyone is conned into canceling vacation ownership. What the resort fails to acknowledge is the owner’s disdain for the property. When you think about it, every exit scam lies. Telling people to expect lies from every timeshare cancellation firm is just as immature as saying every eleven-year-old boy is evil because two stole some candy from your store.
Moreover, how the resort responds with the words “many” and “supposed” is also very telling. They never really refute the facts that many timeshare owners hear about rising maintenance fees and timeshare laws. At the same time, the way it’s worded cleverly creates doubt around certain facts, that if believed, may sway people from canceling vacation ownership. Discrediting all sources encourages owners to eventually turn back to the resort for help.
When working with a reputable exit team, the facts presented about your contractual agreement will not be lies. The key to finding timeshare resolve lies in your ability to locate and trust these companies. If the resort actually cared about their users then they would educate them on ways to find a quality solution. Whether you hire us or not, we hope to help you find this resolve.
3. “Any member who is working with a timeshare exit company may NOT be eligible for our member relief programs. Timeshares have developed and publicized a range of services to help members adjust their ownership to meet their needs. These include options to modify or rewrite loan terms, and our internal program, which for a fee allows members who meet eligibility criteria to retire all or part of their membership. Members have notified us of timeshare exit companies attempting to use these programs – charging them much higher fees to access a program that the members could have used on their own. Any member who is working with one of these companies may not be permitted to use these member relief programs.”
Again, the purpose of their response is focused on promoting their in-house solutions. While there is a lot to unpack here, let’s not lose focus of their intent. They want you to believe that even though an upgrade hasn’t worked out for you, there are a “range of services” at your fingertips. But if you decide to go with these other guys, who honestly can’t be trusted anyway, then you’ll miss out on everything we have to offer. Oh yea, if you qualify.
What they fail to mention are the strict details of their “eligibility criteria”. When you’re able to gain an understanding for the timeshare system, you’ll quickly see that this is the same pitch used during the initial presentation. Exaggerated promises and a world of possibilities can really cloud your judgement. It’s why so many people decide to buy a timeshare faster than it takes them to purchase a new fridge.
Unfortunately, far too many fractional owners find themselves in an immense amount of debt that they can’t escape simply because they keep believing in empty promises. It’s why the trend often continues with a phony relief agency. Many never take the time to find someone that actually cares and never get past the loud sales pitches of the timeshare industry.
The timeshares statement above is like your bank telling you that you will not be approved for a mortgage unless you use their realtor. Mind you, a real estate agent has nothing to do with the lender. Timeshare companies don’t specialize in canceling vacation ownership, they specialize in selling intervals. Refusing to help owners if they seek a second opinion makes no sense at all. It’s pretty controlling if you ask us.
At the end of the day, timeshares want buyers to remain under perpetual agreements. They aren’t built to create satisfaction, rather the desire to purchase more. Still, they’re going about it the wrong way. Why don’t they spend their valuable resources on an improved experience – instead of selling more, slandering the help and claiming to be better than cancellation scams?
If relinquish programs were more prevalent, processes were more clear and the resort actually helped buyers get out of timeshare contracts when it wasn’t working out – then the appeal of canceling vacation ownership with a third party would go away. Even though they can’t sustain a trustworthy reputation this way, it seems timeshares want to continue taking chances at the consumer’s expense.
4. “[We have] documented cases of timeshare exit companies failing to communicate true account status to their clients. We also have documented cases of these companies suppressing the debt collection letters, which we send, failing to pass them on to their clients. While this may create the illusion that the timeshare exit company has obtained a “safe” and “legitimate” exit, the reality is very different. lf you find yourself involved with a company, to ensure you are getting the full story, we strongly recommend that you ask any representative to provide you with copies of all correspondence we send. It’s also good to remember that you can access your account through our online member portal to review the true status of your membership.”
If a timeshare owner has appointed another party to handle the dealings of their timeshare contract, then the appointed party should have their best interest in mind. In the response above, the documented cases that the timeshare speaks of are examples of scams. Of course they will “suppress” documents that might create doubt around the scam. Similar to the timeshare, the longer scams lead owners on, the more they can collect. But this doesn’t mean all representation should be questioned.
It is important that the timeshare owner and “Attorney-in-Fact’s” interests are aligned. This boils down to knowing who you are doing business with. It is also important that you understand what you will be receiving and what to expect as a client throughout the process. This will be very clear when you hire a reputable company. All of your questions and concerns will be addressed.
On the subject of debt collection letters, many timeshares will leverage third party collectors to either service the debt or buy the debt for a fraction of the amount owed. Consumers have rights that can be exercised. While the resort warns users of important information being held from them, they have to understand all communication should go through your representation.
You need to be able to trust the relief company’s intentions and know your best interest is a priority. Something that timeshares have yet to prove. The last thing they want you to do is officially cease communication with them. The response here is their way of scaring you. When you exercise these rights with a professional cancellation company, their collection attempts can’t isolate, harass and intimidate you with threats. The ability to avoid them and rest easy is a very good thing.
5. “[We have] taken an aggressive stance against unscrupulous timeshare exit companies. To date, we have filed litigation against a dozen firms. While we can’t comment on active cases, you can find numerous news articles online about how we have obtained court ordered, permanent injunctions against timeshare exit companies in no less than seven lawsuits. You can also find articles online about timeshare exit companies going out of business, leaving their clients with none of their promised outcomes, nor refunds of fees paid. You can find links to a number of recent legal cases and news articles documenting these efforts and their outcomes at Fractional Owner Cancellation Awareness .com/additional-resources. Feel free to do your own research. lt is important that you understand these facts. Any questions as to how the facts and risks in these cases apply to you should be directed to your representatives.”
We combined the last two responses into one because we felt both are one in the same. Even though the industry is definitely littered with false hopes and failed promises, scams never last long. No matter how the fraud takes place, anyone can publish their own opinion regarding the cause. What’s interesting here is that the resort doesn’t mention unscrupulous timeshare companies. Plenty have also failed over the years, leaving helpless owners with the bill.
The response by the resort also seems to suggest they should be praised for pursuing scams. Even we share information on fraud. Aside from publishing articles on identifying scams, we did a two-part series on companies that didn’t know how to get rid of timeshares. The difference between our content and theirs is that they like to spin the facts to their advantage while we try to give consumers an advantage. The simple fact they mention timeshare owners being left with “none of their promised outcomes” is interesting to say the least. Isn’t that how most buyers already feel?
While this resort may have helped shut down seven-or-so scams, they’ve also falsely accused plenty of genuine cancellation companies. Most have resulted in settlements out of court – but they don’t mention them here. Just because a timeshare files multiple lawsuits doesn’t mean the claims are valid. It also doesn’t mean their intentions are good. Most cases are ruled “overreached” or similar and dropped by the judge anyways.
The Attorney General of Arizona is just one of many lawsuits brought against timeshare giants for aggressive and questionable sales practices. Besides, plenty of former employees have spoken out about what they were asked to do. We’ve covered a lot of this ourselves. While this is only one example of a class-action suit win for the consumer, there are many other individual suits filed by disgruntled owners every day.
Canceling Vacation Ownership is Tough.
While the resort responsible for this letter wants you to use their websites for information, we urge you to thoroughly research their claims. Google normally doesn’t render cases against timeshares that are listed by government websites unless you have the case number or there was an article written about it. However, you can look on sites such as Justia.com to find an infinite list of cases filed where the timeshare giant is the defendant. There’s no need to allow them to control the narrative.
When canceling vacation ownership becomes important to a buyer, they deserve to know the truth. They’re tired of being sold on options that don’t transpire and they deserve a quality, transparent resolution. We find it unethical to solicit happy timeshare owners and understand there are many predatory agencies in the industry that do so. Persuading you to cancel is never on our agenda, but we want you to know relief is possible if the desire is there.
At the end of the day, attempting to lead timeshare owners to believe scams and ethical cancellation companies are one in the same, is highly unethical. To say we’re disgusted is an understatement. We’ve put a lot of effort into the reputation we’ve built. None of it has been based on false promises or at someone else’s expense.
We take pride in the services we offer and hope that the industry’s attempt to discredit fractional owner cancellation doesn’t alter your judgment when it comes to relief. If you have any questions, you can always schedule a haggle-free consultation. To proceed as a client, simply fill out the eligibility form below.