Every year, tons of timeshare scams are exposed across the country. But every time a fraudulent operation ceases, another one establishes itself. If you’re wondering why, you have to analyze the way people are lured into ownership in the first place. The deceit surrounding the industry could very well stem from the misleading tactics used by timeshare sales teams themselves. Once uninformed buyers are under contract, they quickly realize timeshare ownership isn’t all they thought it would be. This is because they were persuaded, not necessarily intrigued. Trying to find resolve with the resort normally leads them to even more deceit, forcing owners to look elsewhere for relief. This is where 3rd party timeshare exit solutions continued the trend. At the same time, not all are unethical.
While a majority of owners first look to resale for relief, they eventually realize contract cancellation is their best option. The seller’s market just doesn’t exist and far too many platforms make promises they can’t keep. After a certain amount of time, cancellation becomes very appealing to them. Many exit companies are no different than selling agents. To make matters worse, predatory agencies use buyer desperation to their advantage. This has regulatory agencies and lawmakers working overtime to combat the misconduct of fraudulent timeshare exit solutions. The problem is, politicians that benefit from the timeshare industry now want to do away with exit solutions. They’re trying to put companies like ours out of business for good.
Pro Timeshare Lawmakers Dislike Exit Teams.
Earlier this year, House Bill 435/SB 1430 was proposed to eliminate timeshare cancellation programs altogether. Some lawmakers feel as though consumers should be held responsible for the purchase they made. That they shouldn’t be allowed to cancel after making the commitment. What makes this concerning is the fact many owners want to cancel because they feel like they’ve been lied to. It’s not about changing their minds. What makes things difficult is that timeshares typically involve perpetual agreements. This means, the purchase agreement goes on forever. Doing away with their ability to exit creates an obligation to always pay for the rest of their life.
If owners are unable to cancel after viewing the property and exit companies are under siege, where do unhappy buyers place their hope? House Bill 2639 was meant to do away with timeshare perpetuity but recently failed for similar reasons. Nonetheless, the minimal rescission period remains. Timeshare owners have less than 2 weeks to decide if they want to cancel prior to experiencing their purchase to determine if it’s all it was presented to be. Unfortunately, the main complaint we hear is that the product was oversold and the owner is unable to use their time. If they don’t cancel within rescission, the resort will inform them that they’re responsible for a lifetime worth of payments. Removing perpetuity altogether would have been a huge win for the consumer, however the politicians who benefit from the timeshare industry came out on top with this vote.
How the Bill Manipulates the Purpose of Timeshare Cancellation Programs.
The ARDA-ROC, who represents over 1.5 million timeshare owners, is being challenged by at least two timeshare cancellation companies to challenge the bill. They’ve proceeded to hire a handful of powerful lobbyists to fight the “common sense” regulations that HB 435 presents.
Kevin McKelvey, Chairman of the ARDA-ROC, had a few things to say about their intentions. “These exit companies are strongly against this bill because it eliminates their ability to take upfront fees, in many cases in excess of $5K, until the service they promise is delivered.” His reasoning is very ironic because of the outcome of HB2639. If timeshare owners can’t test the property before the contract is affirmed then why should cancellation services have to be rendered before payment is required? It’s a reverse psychology ploy.
McKelvey believes that, “These firms use much of this money to market to new customers and not for (actual) services.” In reality, this is exactly what timeshare companies do to drive new acquisition. Because of these false statements, many people believe companies like ours have bad intentions. In reality, the purchase itself is where the misconduct occurs. A lack of ethics forces timeshare companies to spend on marketing to overcome their deceitful measures. They’re even willing to put more money and resources towards proposing a bill to ensure leverage is in their corner. It’s truly unfortunate.
What the House Bill Claims About Timeshare Exit Solutions
Timeshare exit solutions are challenging the proposition mainly because it’s not geared towards consumer protection. At VOC, we provide a free initial consultation to all who inquire. We inform the disgruntled timeshare owners of their options, what they can expect and qualify them for our services before on-boarding any new client. Ethical exit programs do exist. Legislatives are trying to use the bill to remove the influence that cancellation companies have on their buyers to say enough is enough to the oppressive timeshare industry. Timeshare developers don’t want to be held accountable for the promises they make.
The bill goes on to list a number of irrelevant perks. It’s said to give timeshare owners with cancellation interest “meaningful rights.” It’s also meant to protect their funds by requiring escrow or prohibiting payment advances until services are executed. The proposal claims that it prevents misleading or false representations used by timeshare exit solutions to recruit buyers to pay for cancellation services. But what about their misleading approach and the false claims timeshare companies are making? You can actually view the attorney representing talking in circles in this video (Scroll to the 02h:16m:00s time marker)
McKelvey went on to say, “We need to protect our owners from becoming victims. A top priority for our industry and owners, and for law enforcement and other agencies, is to protect consumers from dishonest individuals or companies trying to take advantage of them.” The thing is, they’ve already been taken advantage of, which is the consumer’s purpose to seeking outside help. The timeshare companies wish to have full control over their fractional owners. Timeshare exit companies who seek to negotiate an amicable release on behalf of the client are viewed as a threat to the timeshare’s residual income and upsell opportunity, both of which are at the expense of the owner who feels was taken advantage of.
Thank goodness the probability of this bill passing is slim. It could really put timeshare owners between a rock and a hard place for a long time. This probably won’t be the last time we see an attempt to keep timeshare owners under perpetual agreements for good by limiting beneficial resources available to them. We will make our best effort to keep our blog viewers up to date with newly proposed bills and legislature as the battle for good vs evil continues.