Timeshare exit scams have become a big business in recent years. There are many common tactics that these fraudulent companies use to convince consumers to sell their timeshares. However, a recent Kiplinger article sheds light on how these companies are using fear to get elderly consumers to pay massive upfront fees.
Ed Roach was one such victim of a timeshare exit scam. After receiving a call from a company claiming to be affiliated with Wyndham Vacation Resorts timeshare developer, Roach attended a seminar that would seemingly provide updates on the latest developments in timeshare ownership policies. Instead, Roach was inundated with false information about the burden his heirs would be facing after his death. They claimed that Roach's children would be forced to shoulder the costs and maintenance fees of the timeshare if his health declined. They persuaded Roach that he needed to get rid of the timeshare immediately - all he needed to do was pay an upfront fee of $25,000.
Roach panicked, and put the fee on his credit card, expecting to be contacted within a few days with information on the sale of his timeshare. When that call never came, Roach attempted to contact the company after learning that they had no affiliation with Wyndham and was told it was too late to cancel his contract. Roach now found himself on the line for that $25,000 fee with no results.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Older timeshare owners are getting countless phone calls, mailers and seminar invitations to try to get them to pay massive upfront fees to exit their timeshares. By the time owners realize they are being scammed, the companies have closed down or filed for bankruptcy, leaving consumers with no recourse.
Consumers wishing to exit their timeshare should always contact their timeshare company first to learn about the deed back options and exit programs available. If you consider hiring a timeshare exit company, watch for red flags, check the BBB rating, get a written contract and review the fine print thoroughly prior to signing. Robert Clements, general counsel for ARDA, notes that the fine print of some contracts state that foreclosure on your timeshare is considered a successful exit. Consumers should also review ARDA's tips on ResponsibleExit.com for exiting a timeshare responsibly and do extensive research on all the options available to them.