If you did a quick Google search for “timeshare exit companies”, you would get a ton of results. Many timeshare exit companies offer big guarantees to their prospective customers. It gets a lot of people in the market to get rid of their timeshares wondering if these timeshare exit companies are actually reputable.
A common way of marketing for the fraudulent timeshare exit companies is through phone calls. Many timeshare owners report receiving several phone calls a month from companies that allegedly offer a timeshare exit opportunity. Typically, these fraudulent companies will make a lot of promises to their prospective customers. They guarantee to get clients out of timeshares fast.
However, fraudulent timeshare exit companies have a long history of taking money from their clients and then going out of business. This leaves their clients still burdened with a timeshare on top of losing whatever money they initially coughed up to the exit team.
Timeshare exit scams have taken advantage of thousands of desperate timeshare owners.
How Do They Work?
A timeshare exit team’s success in cancelling timeshares will depend largely on the methods they use, how aggressive they are in their approach, and the issuing resort’s contract.
A handful of timeshare exit companies are law firms. Others will employ or outsource attorneys to deal with tough resorts. The uncertainty can be confusing for customers, because many timeshare exit companies are not open about who they employ.
Timeshare exit can also be a long and arduous process. Sometimes, when they are long delays, the exit companies will blame the law firms that they employ. In some cases, timeshare exit companies have switched law firms several times within one case.
There are some resorts that refuse to deal with exit companies, which can complicate hiring one, and may make it more difficult to dispose of an unwanted timeshare.
It’s almost impossible to give a step-by-step guide of timeshare exit companies. Many of them won’t discuss their exact process, as they are “trade secrets.” Some timeshare exit companies go as far as to contractually obligate their clients from disclosing their methods.
Many are concerned by this lack of transparency, as the same timeshare exit companies market themselves as safe and legal. How legal can something be if clients are prohibited from discussing business practices?
However, consumer reviews and court cases do paint a picture of how some exit companies function.
Sometimes, an exit company may simply start by trying to market and sell the timeshare.
Other times, they may use a resort’s exit program. Another option would be to send a letter to the resort developer – offering cash, trying to negotiate a deed-back, or even just sending a resignation letter.
If those exit strategies don’t work, this is typically when attorneys are brought in to try to prove wrongdoing. Their attorneys will usually accuse the resort of generic wrongdoings, like fraud and misrepresentation in sales practices. Working with an attorney can be time-consuming and pricy, but a lot of people have had success exiting their timeshare agreement in this way.
Timeshare Exit Scams
Typically, shady timeshare exit firms will contact older timeshare owners via telephone.
A recent example of this was when an elderly man and his wife used their timeshare in Florida for years. They never had any issues with the timeshare they purchased, which they paid about $75,000 for overall. However, as they got older, their ability to travel was limited.
This is when a timeshare exit “company” called the man and invited him to an exit seminar. Similar to timeshare sales pitches, the timeshare exit pitches will also lure timeshare owners in with a free meal, tickets to an event, or something along those lines.
As with most sketchy salespeople, these firms typically operate on fear. The man reported being told that his two children would be burdened with the maintenance costs of his timeshare if he did not cancel it through their exit firm. The representatives also told him that hurricanes and other turbulent weather in Florida would cause those fees to go up substantially.
The man was worried about burdening his children with the timeshare and paid the exit firm $25,000. What the exit firm did not tell the man is that his children would have the option to either keep his timeshare or get rid of it. There was no need to work with an exit company to begin with.
Regardless, they claimed that they would take it off his hands immediately and would call him to update him. However, the man waited six days before realizing that he was not going to get an update from the “exit firm”.
He learned that the scam company was not associated with his timeshare resort, like they had promised. He paid them $25,000 and still had his timeshare.
Claims of Fraud
Complaints about fraudulent timeshare exit companies are on the rise.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) received more than 350 complaints from consumers regarding these companies. It is estimated that, just in that period of time, timeshare exit companies took over $2.2 million from desperate timeshare owners looking to get rid of their properties.
These fraudulent companies, of course, did not follow through with their end of the deal.
An Overview of Timeshare Exit Companies
It’s important to remember that timeshare exit companies do not ever partner with the resorts that sell timeshares. They have no regulation, thus no security, making it extremely difficult and stressful to find one that you can put your trust in.
Even the timeshare exit companies that do follow through with the deal are still incredibly expensive to work with. Timeshare exit companies will charge anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 in exchange for getting timeshare owners out of their agreements.
Some timeshare exit companies will say they are putting your upfront payment in escrow.
However, a promise from a scammer is not a promise at all.
While there are some timeshare exit companies who have had success, they are frankly outnumbered by scams that victimize hundreds of desperate timeshare owners a year.
The Safer Choice in Timeshare Exit
The BBB and ARDA highly cautions people against working with timeshare exit companies that are not reputable and lack merit.
If you are looking for a safer route in getting rid of your timeshare, the first step should always be to reach out to your resort developer. Many resorts have a deed-back program in which owners who are unable to travel or cannot pay their fees may be able to surrender their timeshares. This typically comes with a fee.
Due to the fact that they don’t work hand-in-hand with resorts, even a reputable timeshare exit company can only reach out to the resort and negotiate with them. Technically, with enough time and negotiation, a timeshare owner can do the same work as an exit company.
That being said, reputable timeshare exit companies employ attorneys to negotiate with resort developers. This can get timeshare owners out of their agreement quicker, and possibly while avoiding the fees that the timeshare owner would incur otherwise.
What to Look For in a Timeshare Exit Company
When you are shopping around for a reputable timeshare exit company, there are a few things to look for in a company.
- Avoid companies that require a high upfront payment. Go with a company that has some sort of money-back guarantee or, even better, an escrow payment option
- Avoid companies that lack an online presence. Typically, timeshare exit companies that work sheerly off of phone calls are fraudulent. Online reviews can help you in figuring out which companies are genuine.
- Avoid companies that do not have a good history of actually getting timeshare owners out of their agreement.
- Get every agreement in writing.
- Always shop around and get multiple quotes.
|Timeshare Compliance||A+ Rating||Offers Escrow||In Business Since 2012|
|Seaside Consulting Group||A+ Rating||Offers Escrow||In Business Since 2014|
|Centerstone Group Review||A- Rating||Offers Escrow||In Business Since 2020|
|Wesley Financial Group||A+ Rating||100% Money Back Guarantee||In Business Since 2012|
|Omni Ellis||A+ Rating||Offers Escrow||In Business Since 2015|
|Resolution Timeshare Cancellation||A- Rating||Offers Escrow||In Business Since 2019|
|Sapphire Timeshare Cancellation||Not Yet Rated||100% Money Back Guarantee||In Business Since 2018|
|Timeshare Cancel Center||A Rating||100% Success Rate||Unknown|
|Vacation Ownership Consultants||A+ Rating||100% Success Rate||Unknown|
|Mitchell Reed Sussman & Associates||A+ Rating||100% Money Back Guarantee||Unknown|
|SBA Legal||A+ Rating||100% Success Rate||Unknown|
|Finn Law Group||A+ Rating||100% Money Back Guarantee||Unknown|
|Timeshare Refuge||A+ Rating||Not Known||Unknown|
Getting rid of an unwanted timeshare is very difficult. Forfeiting the timeshare or reselling it as an owner can be frustrating, time consuming, and expensive. There are a lot of timeshare exit companies that will be able to assist in cancelling a timeshare on the market.
It is very hard to find a reputable timeshare exit company when you take into consideration all of the scams. A good place to start is finding an exit company with good reviews, several years of experience, and one that offers an escrow payment option, another good choice would be a company with a proven 100% money-back guarantee.