Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Thoughts on Timeshare ‘Exit Companies’

This week the St Louis BBB, who has done some great work warning consumers of a myriad of timeshare related companies, came out with yet another strong warning against two so-called timeshare exit companies. You can read their full report here:  https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/18745-bbb-cautions-consumers-about-springfield-missouri-timeshare-exit-companies-vacation-consulting-services-the-transfer-group

I applaud such findings as the proliferation of companies designed to con unsuspecting timeshare owners out of their money continues at an alarming rate. 

The timeshare industry has also entered into a flurry of activity designed to shut down some of the worst offenders in the exit/transfer space. 

All well and good. But this is a problem that was created by the industry itself through the use of antiquated marketing practices, false claims of ‘today only’ prices, lengthy and complicated contracts in perpetuity that favor the developer that the consumer is given no time to read and most telling; few if any viable options for the consumer that wishes to exit their timeshare. 

It would be great if the everyone spent as much time looking into fraudulent practices getting people INTO the product as they do with those claiming to get them OUT of the product. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

They Said...Doesn’t Mean You Should Believe

Here are the most common things I hear from unhappy, frustrated timeshare owners. The developers continue to get away with them because of the infamous ‘oral representation’ clause. 

>They said it was an investment

>They said it was easy to sell

>They said to fill out an application to see if we were eligible, but they opened a credit card and charged it for the purchase (or down payment)

>They said we could pay our maintenance fees with this new program, but the program didn’t exit

>They said we could sell our timeshare if we bought more points, but the program didn’t exist

>They said we could pay our maintenance fees by using a credit card, but we would have to charge $200,000 in a year to pay a $2,000 maintenance fee

>They said airfare would be included when we booked a stay

>The sales agent said the last agent did not sell us enough points

>They said we could rent our timeshare, but the resort does not allow this

>They said if we did not give up our deed and buy points, our children’s’ credit would be destroyed if something happened to us

>They said the sales presentation would only be 90 minutes but it turned into 5 hours

>They said if we didn’t change to another program our maintenance fees will go through the roof

>They said that I should not have bought a timeshare in Hawaii because they have hurricanes

>They said that I should not have bought a timeshare in Florida because they have hurricanes

>The sales agent said he would be my personal representative, but he never returned my calls or text messages.    

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Inheriting (or not) a Timeshare

I’m not an attorney so I am not giving out legal advice here, but one question I get asked time and time again is ‘Do I have to inherit my parents’ timeshare?’

The best answer I can provide is ‘maybe.’

If you are on the deed or other legal instrument conveyed by the resort, the answer is most likely YES. 

If you’re not on the deed or other legal instrument conveyed by the resort, the answer is most likely NO. 

From the legal experts that I’ve discussed this with, it seems the best course of action in either case is to send a "disclaimer of interest," along with a copy of the original owner's death certificate, to the timeshare property within a specific time frame -- usually nine months after the original owner's death. 

If you intend to refuse the timeshare inheritance, you must not take advantage of any timeshare privileges because this may cause you to forfeit your right to refuse the timeshare. 

If money is still owed on the timeshare, that presents a whole range of additional steps and in that case, you absolutely should contact an attorney as you would in the case of any other debt that the deceased had. 

Don’t be taken in by the scare tactics that so many of these self/proclaimed ‘timeshare exit’ companies use to get you to cough up thousands of dollars so that your heirs don’t have to inherit an unwanted timeshare. As with most of the claims they make, it just isn’t true. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Certain Similarities

There’s been a lot of teeth gnashing lately about the dangers of those so-called timeshare ‘exit companies’ that promise beleaguered owners a way out if they’ll hand over several thousands of dollars. Much of this teeth gnashing has come from the timeshare industry itself. 

Don’t get me wrong-I abhor those companies that promise a quick solution to a problem that isn’t at all easy to fix. The timeshare industry has had 40+ years to carefully construct lengthy contracts in perpetuity that favor the developer. Contracts are not easy to get out from. And I applaud the timeshare industry for shutting down these bad players. I’d applaud them even more if there were more viable exit strategies for owners, but that’s a blog post for a different day. 

However, with the industry applauding themselves for having played a part in shutting at least one of these ‘exit companies’ down, it brings certain similarities to the surface between ‘getting into a timeshare’ and ‘getting out of a timeshare.’


>Both involve the consumer being ‘invited’ to a presentation I.e. a sales pitch of some kind

>Both involve a multi-hour demonstration of how the consumer can have their problem solved by signing up

>Both require the consumer to make a decision immediately after the presentation, the dreaded ‘this offer is only good today’ pitch

>Both require the consumer to pay thousands of dollars upfront for some service that may or may not ever be available to the consumer

It’s this last point that’s really telling. In the case of the ‘exit company’ weary consumers are forking over thousands of dollars today under the assurance that the company will be able to extricate them from their contract at some uncertain date in the future. In the case of the timeshare itself, weary consumers are forking over thousands of dollars today (and promising to pay more every year in perpetuity or until they rid themselves of it) under the assurance that the company will be able to provide them with their dream vacations year after year. 

In both cases, the consumer leaves the presentation several thousands of dollars lighter and with a head full of dreams. 

The all so sad and familiar tales of woe show up several months later when the owner either receives yet another unwanted maintenance fee bill from the resort because lo and behold the ‘exit company’ didn’t fulfill any of their promises and/or the developer turned down the transfer request or when the owner discovers that they can’t get to Hawaii or Myrtle Beach or use their points to pay for their maintenance fees because lo and behold, their oh so friendly salesperson misrepresented some key factors.

Ever wonder exactly who works as the pitch men for these ‘exit companies’?  Ever wonder where they learned their spiel?  Ever wonder why I tell people to not make any purchasing decision in haste or why it’s not advisable to pay today for some promised service in an undetermined date in the future?  Wonder no more, people. Wonder no more.