There are countless timeshare resale and redemption companies that pitch their services all over the web, offering the “guarantee” of freedom to consumers searching for any way out of what has probably become a hefty financial burden.
Some companies – without any qualifications, justifications, or explanations – also promise to get the job done speedily. And while “instant” relief from payments and debt sure sounds appealing, in most cases, it’s all but a fairy tale.
Definitive Time Limit To Cancel? Too Good To Be True.
Any organization offering you a definitive time limit for successful cancellation that seems too good to be true is probably peddling a half-truth, if not an outright scam. The reality is that contract cancellations and negotiations are legal issues that take the cooperation and participation of not only the consumer, but their representatives and, of course, the resort developers themselves. Direct negotiation with an attorney’s help can be a slow and arduous process, full of roadblocks and setbacks. If your attorney decides there’s a case and pursues litigation, that process could easily take months, maybe even years – though it may all be worth it to get out of the likely alternative, a lifelong obligation that will only get more expensive as the years go on.
Retaining An Attorney Offers Some Financial Relief Right Away.
However, retaining an attorney does offer consumers some financial relief right away. You see, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (or FDCPA), third party debt collectors are legally prohibited from directly contacting a debtor (such as a timeshare owner withholding a resort payment) if that debtor has retained an attorney. Instead, the debt collector must contact that person’s attorney; they may only continue to contact the consumer if granted permission, or if the “attorney fails to respond to the debt collector within a reasonable period of time,” as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains.
With an experienced attorney in their corner, consumers not only have a trustworthy ally, but a buttress against harassment from outside debt collectors, who have long been a valuable tool for resorts and developers. What’s more, in addition to helping protect a consumer’s short term financial stability, retaining an attorney also offers consumers invaluable leverage in negotiations; if a timeshare owner has stopped making payments and the resort’s hired debt collectors find themselves hamstrung by the consumer’s legal representation, suddenly, the resort may be more willing to accommodate the prospect of a negotiation.
The gist? You likely won’t be on the hook for making payments for as long as you’re working with your licensed attorney; with that said, until it’s a done deal, it’s not a done deal.
Be Wary Of Third Party Promises
And as for the alternative, contracting with a private third party? Be very wary of any promises of quick success. Many redemption companies operate by means of exclusive partnerships with resort developers; these third party companies buy up interests in order to sell them back to the resorts in bulk. However, there is no guarantee that the resort will have any interest in purchasing back a consumer’s particular interest, given the overabundance of inventory on the market as it is.
Similarly, some timeshare resale, rental, and cancellation companies simply turn around and put an owner’s timeshare interest on a site like eBay for pennies on the dollar. Here, too, there is no guarantee of a successful transaction of any kind, let alone of a speedy sale.
In both of these cases, a consumer could easily end up making no headway on actually cancelling or getting out of their obligation, all whilst being stuck with their maintenance fees, assessments, and interest payments along the way.
Issues relating to cost – particularly maintenance fees – account for the bulk of consumers wanting to leave the timeshare industry. But be wary of any “get rich quick” offers online – they could do little but give you the runaround and leave you saddled with the same debts as before. In our view, retaining an experienced, licensed attorney offers protection from debt collectors and the leverage of litigation, making it the most effective path towards a successful timeshare exit – and freedom from a lifelong financial burden.
Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns.