Timeshare exit scams are on the rise. Every day, there are more social media reports of people being scammed by exit schemes. What’s even more alarming is that many of these schemes offer a money-back guarantee, making them even more tempting to unsuspecting timeshare owners. The FTC just released figures on loss to fraud initiated on social media and says “social media was a gold mine for scammers” in 2021. Timeshare secondary market scams including exit companies remain high on state and federal agency watch lists. Unfortunately, most people who fall for these scams end up with nothing to show for their money. The few who do manage to get their money back, usually have to go through a lot of hassle and frustration and afterwards end up having to retain an attorney for actual legal services.
What Is A Timeshare Exit Scam?
A timeshare exit scam is an illegal scheme that tricks people into paying in advance for assurances to exit their timeshare. The victims are usually promised a money-back guarantee if the company can’t find a buyer, transfer or exit. However, these timeshare exit companies are frequently unable to keep their word and rarely provide transparency into the services they claim to provide.
The timeshare industry has been around for more than 50 years and is a multi-billion dollar market. The problem with these exit scams is that prey on the elderly and uneducated, who may not be aware of their rights as consumers or be aware of legitimate available exit options. As a result, the timeshare victim is left out of pocket with no means to recover his or her money.
Why Are Timeshare Exit Scams Becoming More Common?
Timeshare exit scams are becoming more common because a lot of owners are being solicited and persuaded to get out of their contracts with unqualified advice. These unlicensed and unregulated exit companies are scamming people by leveraging fear and urgency. Some companies use pencil pitches to illustrate the various ways they can help an owner exit a timeshare. In other cases, these exit scam artists also promise to be able to claim a refund on a timeshare purchase which makes it even harder for the victim to say no to these bogus solicitations. Many of these schemes are run on web only platforms, so it’s easy for scammers to target more people on social media in a short period of time. It’s also easy for them to flip a switch and disappear from the worldwide web with little to no trace of the company.
Images: A timeshare exit company “pencil pitch” illustration.
How Can You Protect Yourself From A Timeshare Exit Scam?
There are a few things you can do to avoid timeshare exit scams. The best way to protect yourself is to do your research first. Don’t just take the company’s word for it – do some digging on the internet and with the BBB to see if there are any complaints about the exit company. The FTC also recommends that you search online for the name of the company plus “scam” or “complaint.” – Exp. XYZ exit company name % scam.
Finally, be wary of any verbal promises that appear to be too good to be true. Those oral representations and guarantees should be put in writing so that you can thoroughly examine the terms and conditions. If the company doesn’t want to put the verbal promises in writing, that’s a major red flag.
What To Do If You’ve Already Been Scammed?
If you think you have been scammed by a timeshare exit company, report it to local authorities and to the BBB. They will take your complaint and may be able to investigate the issue directly or refer it to another agency. The FTC also recommends that you file a complaint with them. You can file a complaint online at ftc.gov or by calling
You may also want to contact your state Attorney General’s office consumer protection division. If you need legal assistance with timeshare exit, only work with a reputable law firm that has experience in this area. The last thing you want is to become the victim of a timeshare exit scam.
This article is for information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. If you need assistance with a timeshare exit company and feel you have been scammed, you should seek out a timeshare attorney.
Led by Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection law firm that specializes in timeshare law. If you have a question about timeshare exit and would like a free consultation to review your individual matter, contact us at 855-FINN-LAW or 727-214-0700. Follow Finn Law Group on Twitter to get the latest updates on timeshare scams.