As many timeshare owners are already aware, third party exit companies have increased their visibility in the marketplace, promising owners a quick end to their vacation ownership contracts. What you may not know is that many of these companies have engaged in nefarious business practices that not only fail to deliver on their assurances, but leave timeshare owners in debt and out of options.
Diamond Resorts and other timeshare companies are protecting owners from falling victim to scams, partnering with the American Resort Development Association in an effort to create more public awareness about the unethical tactics that some exit companies use to profit from unsuspecting and desperate consumers.
The word is out.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued news releases over the past two years warning consumers of timeshare exit companies and, in a recent study, has taken a more comprehensive look at the claims made by exit firms and the feedback their clients have provided about their services.
In Missouri alone, consumer complaints against timeshare exit companies in the state have increased exponentially in recent years. According to BBB St. Louis, timeshare owners across the U.S. have filed more than 700 complaints against Missouri-based timeshare relief companies since 2016, reporting losses in the millions of dollars.
Of the cases reported, the BBB found that consumers said they paid fees ranging from $1,000 to more than $30,000 to businesses promising to get them out of their timeshare contracts for services that were either never provided or never completed.
The result? In the case of the Janssons, who were featured in a recent CBS Evening News segment, nothing but additional debt.
CBS reports that the senior couple received a mail piece offering a free dinner and a way out of the timeshare they’d enjoyed for years before it became too much to maintain on a fixed income.
The Janssons put their trust in a timeshare exit company and charged the one-time $18,000 fee to two credit cards. According to CBS, after six months of making payments, no progress had been made. Unfortunately, stories like this one are far too common.
The BBB is urging consumers to work directly with their timeshare company to determine what options may be available to them – and Diamond agrees.
Diamond encourages members to reach out to Member Services directly by calling 1.877.268.7334 to review ownership options if their situation has changed. In addition, Diamond pledges to continue advocating for consumers to help bring more awareness to the dangers of doing business with unscrupulous third party exit companies.