When it comes to vacation ownership, many people periodically enjoy their weekly interval before growing tired of its limitations. Whether this be booking concerns or boredom with the resort’s destination, it’s difficult for consumers to see the value once the initial euphoria wears off. Gisele Cabrera, a divorced mother of two, is one of these buyers. After making the purchase back in 2001 for a measly $13K, she was very pleased with the overall experience. Despite her satisfaction, she found herself asking for a timeshare exit refund from a third party company that persuaded her to offload her timeshare contract.
It’s very rare to see someone pursue cancellation without some sort of complaint. We’ve talked to hundreds of thousands of owners desperate to get out of a timeshare contract. But unlike many vacation owners, Gisele really had no qualms with the timeshare resort. In an interview with 7 News Miami, she even described the travel package as “affordable” because she was able to “swap it [interval] out with other timeshare owners.” So why would she pay thousands of dollars for a cancellation process she’d quickly regret? Like timeshare presentations themselves, the answer lies in the aggressiveness of the sale.
Last year, Gisele had finally paid off her mortgage and the only payment she was facing was for annual maintenance fees. When she signed the contract back in 2001, they were $200. Nineteen years later, she was paying $350. While vacation owners look forward to paying off their loans, many aren’t aware that annual fees never cease. In Gisele’s case, she was still looking at a $3500 additional expense over the next 10 years. This doesn’t include the possibility of a special assessment either. But it wasn’t the resort that explained this to her.
Third Parties Prey on Vulnerable Timeshare Owners.
Shortly after eliminating mortgage payments, Gisele was asked to attend a “meeting” regarding her timeshare. During the presentation, she was informed that maintenance fees were beginning to skyrocket and that she should be concerned. After the scare tactic elicited fear from the single mother, she recalls telling the salesman, “Maybe I can’t afford that.” This is all the presenter needed to hear. At this point, she was reassured that getting rid of the expense for good with their company was in her best interest.
At first, Gisele was hesitant to hand over $4K to cancel something that might eventually exceed her budget. But once the company told her the offer was only good for that day, she took the bait. She was extremely worried that this was her only chance to avoid a potential pitfall that could leave her handicapped financially. Unfortunately this is how many consumers are duped in the timeshare industry. The simple fact that Gisele wasn’t looking to cancel and still agreed to do so goes to show how compellingly convincing timeshare exit companies can be.
Changing Her Mind and Asking for Timeshare Exit Refund Was Still Costly.
A few days after her decision, Gisele concluded she had made a mistake. So she called the salesman to ask for the timeshare exit refund. But it wasn’t that simple. VOI Consulting Group, who seemingly has a good reputation online, responded by telling their client it was too late to change her mind. She recalls pleading with them saying, “I am not agreeing with this decision that I did. I don’t wanna do it.” Since her credit card was processed days prior to her outreach, she was certain a refund was attainable. “They have to charge me $4,000 for nothing? I don’t think that is fair,” she said. Unfortunately, her contract gave her no option to back out.
Eduardo Balderas, owner of VOI, told reporters that the company takes a lot of pride in their work and that their lawyer had already drawn up the paperwork. Aside from legal “costs,” he also stated they had paid for merchant fees, marketing and the sales team’s commission. All within a few days. Long story short, they had no intention of giving Ms. Cabrera any type of timeshare exit refund.
This forced Gisele to work with the local news to mediate the situation. Since she didn’t actually go through with the deal or even start the cancellation process, VOI was talked into refunding the remaining balance they had yet to spend. While this was only $1,592, Gisele gladly took it.
The Negative Narrative on Timeshare Exit Companies Continues.
We’ll never know how much of that $4K+ actually was spent, but this story should be a fair warning to all timeshare owners. Nearly everything pitched within the industry is misleading. A lot of the sales lingo and product offerings are geared towards possibilities. If you’re going to listen to a pitch, then you have to be willing to question the information and research the company making the offer. If you’re unable to find conclusive evidence that the promised services are valid – or you are being solicited with aggressive sales tactics – then it’s always best to walk away.
At VOC we believe in making sense of all the noise that’s spewed by the industry in order to help educate fractional owners. We do not believe in utilizing standard timeshare practices such as soliciting unsuspecting buyers or engaging in aggressive sales tactics like “today only deals” to acquire a new client. Unfortunately, many exit services give the industry a bad rap by mirroring these distasteful and unethical techniques of the timeshare industry.
We are simply here to serve those seeking assistance with unresolved timeshare complaints. Timeshare cancellation should be an owner’s last resort and only pursued after they’ve exhausted all viable options. If you’d like to learn more about our attorney based process, you can schedule a free consultation at any time.