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Watch out for timeshare exit companies that make your timeshare problems worse

Timeshare Exit Company Offers 100 Percent RefundWe’ve all seen the TV ads, especially late at night, when the rates are cheaper.

A guy says he can solve consumers’ timeshare problems and get them out of their contacts. If the exit company can’t get the contract canceled, he says, no worries, his company offers a money-back guarantee.

Consumers also are invited to free lunch and dinner seminars, where timeshare exit salespeople claim they can release them from their timeshare obligations. High pressure sales and scare tactics, such as your kids will inherit the timeshare and have to pay thousands of dollars for maintenance as the climate worsens, get people to pay up to $25,000. But the money-back guarantee doesn’t materialize.

Consumers who are desperate to get out of their timeshares can find themselves deeper in debt when they pay thousands of dollars to third-party companies who can’t help them, said Michelle L. Corey, president and CEO of the St. Louis Better Business Bureau.

What to watch out for

The BBB offers these tips:

  • Research any business and its owners carefully before paying any money. Check the company’s BBB Business Profile at org.
  • Contact the resort that originally sold you the timeshare to see if it has a deed-back program.
  • Make sure you have a signed contract before paying anything. The contract needs to outline what’s to be done, include a timetable, and have an explanation of what happens if the business or the consumer doesn’t comply with the agreement.
  • Be wary of anyone claiming that they have a buyer for your timeshare or who promises to rent your timeshare, especially if they ask for an upfront fee.
  • Pay with a credit card in case you need to challenge the purchase later.
  • File complaints with the BBB and the state’s Attorney General’s Office if you think you’ve been misled.

Settled lawsuit shows how consumers are harmed

Reed Hein & Associates, a Kirkland, Washington-based timeshare exit company, must pay $2.61 million to Washington state for a timeshare exit scheme affecting more than 2,800 state residents.

The company deceptively advertised a 100 percent money-back guarantee, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Tuesday. Actually, many customers struggled to obtain refunds, and are still denied refunds even after the company failed to deliver for years.

After signing contracts with Reed Hein, consumers paid thousands in upfront fees, ranging from just under $3,000 up to tens of thousands of dollars per “exit.”

Consumers will receive restitution with the amount each receives depending on the number of claims and the severity of harms suffered due to Reed Hein’s conduct, Ferguson said.

“Reed Hein deserves its F rating from the Better Business Bureau,” he said. “Their dishonesty and reckless behavior had grave financial consequences for its customers."

Comments

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Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski

Good info. It's so easy to get sucked into timeshares and then find you want to get out.

Rita

Yes, I'd always wondered about those TV ads, so the lawsuit by the Washington State Attorney General's Office provided good information.

Carol Cassara

There's no end to the scams, is there? Wow. Good info, Rita.

Rita

I heard the TV ad again last night -- "You can get out of your timeshare, and we guarantee your money back if you're not satisfied." I thought consumers might lose $3,000 to $5,000 in these deals, but the Washington attorney general said in the lawsuit ranging from just under $3,000 up to tens of thousands of dollars per “exit.”

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