Regular readers of our blog know that we love to keep tabs on the latest in timeshare industry news and advice from sources around the web. We catalog a lot of essential updates in our “What We’re Reading” posts, and we’re always on the lookout for what journalists, critics, and consumer advocates have to tell everyday Americans about navigating the timeshare market.
Some articles fall quite short when it comes to covering the topic, amounting to little more than clickbait. Others are eye opening and essential, exposing new sides of the industry for the enormous benefit of consumers. And some articles hit right in the middle, just in need of a little brush up from an experienced legal pro to really shine.
A recent article shared by the Huffington Post, “Bail Yourself out of Timeshare Contract with These 5 Tips,” is one such article. While it’s certainly well-written and more than worth a read, there are a few details that, to our eyes, are notably absent or glossed over.
So, what does the article get right? Where does it fall short? Let’s break it down a little – and, in so doing, hopefully add even more value for the curious consumer scouring the net for some answers.
The author of the piece, first off, does a good job of listing many of the avenues that timeshare owners will try when looking for relief from their obligations, including interest payments and maintenance fees. The list of viable timeshare cancellation “solutions,” per the article:
1.) Sell it
2.) Rent it out to recover the costs
3.) Donate it
4.) Pay someone to get a relief out of it
5.) Return it to the resort
All of these are common practices, and the writer does a fairly good job of breaking down many of the pros and cons. However, to our eyes, there is one highly successful avenue notably missing: bringing on an attorney!
While the writer mentions that owners can “pay for timeshare removal services” to avoid dealing with future “maintenance fees” or any other “timeshare related charges,” he notably leaves out the benefits of consulting with a licensed attorney. In our experience, retaining any qualified attorney offers a consumer a better chance of attaining relief or at least beginning a dialogue with the resort; as we’ve said before, contract negotiations and cancellations are legal issues, therefore it makes much more sense to go to a qualified legal professional than an unlicensed, unaccountable private enterprise.
And with the power of litigation and freedom from niceties and connections on his or her side, a professional attorney offers more access, leverage, and peace of mind to a consumer than a third party redemption or resale company ever realistically could. Unlike a law office, a private company will always be looking out for its own “bottom line,” and will thus often prioritize its own needs above the consumer’s.
Also notably absent from the article’s sections on donations, rentals, and redemption companies? The ever-present and very real threat of scammers, who are quick to use the internet to identify and prey upon consumers eager for any sort of solution to their financial burdens. We’ve seen scam artists and fraudsters emerge from every shady corner of the timeshare aftermarket, as have consumer protection experts like the BBB and FTC; given the dangers that these actors pose to consumers, it’s remarkable that they don’t merit a mention in this otherwise thoughtful piece.
Don’t get us wrong! We haven’t come to bury this post, but to praise it. Any factually accurate and pro-consumer writing on timeshare cancellation is welcome; we simply feel that it’s vital that consumers get as full and complete a picture of the industry as possible, and our bevy of experience on all sides of the vacation and travel industries make us uniquely qualified to weigh in.
Spreading knowledge is the only chance that consumer protection advocates have against the obfuscation and misinformation that have long been the norm for so many behemoth industries. For the sake of consumers, the marketplace, and the longevity of these industries themselves, let’s all do what we can to finally let in the light!
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.