Answers to Your FAQs About Timeshare Exit
Are you trying to get rid of a timeshare, but have more questions than answers? Newton Group can help. As the nation’s longest-standing timeshare exit company, we have compiled a list of timeshare owners’ most frequently asked questions.
The most obvious reason you can’t sell your timeshare is the resale market is flooded with “DEVALUED” INVENTORY—because the market consists almost entirely of sellers, with no buyers.
As seen in the Consumer’s Guide To Timeshare Exit, it is estimated that at any given time there are roughly 1 million owners looking to end their timeshare ownership. A quick online search reveals thousands of timeshares listed for less than $1 or even for free.
But there is a less well-known obstacle to a viable timeshare resale market. Some timeshare resort developers view resales as a THREAT TO THEIR REVENUE STREAM and have taken direct and intentional action to SUPPRESS THE RESALE MARKET—including restricting rights and benefits for owners who purchase their timeshares on the resale market. This is a tactic used by some resorts to help ensure any potential timeshare purchaser views a timeshare interest sold by the resort as more valuable than one sold by a timeshare owner.
Want to learn more? Click Here to read our blog! “Why Can’t I Sell My Timeshare?”
It’s common for timeshare owners to believe a timeshare is an investment, but unfortunately, timeshares are not financial assets. Timeshares don’t appreciate and have little to no resale value, and since maintenance and other fees are ongoing, a timeshare is actually a liability.
Sadly, it is when consumers try ending their timeshare ownership that many first discover their timeshare is a liability and not an asset. This is because timeshare sales representatives often mislead buyers at the time of purchase into believing their timeshare is an investment that appreciates in value or can be sold on a secondary or “resale” market.
According to Newton Group’s Timeshare Exit Study—based on over 9,000 timeshare ownership experiences—OVER 60% RESPONDED THAT THE TIMESHARE SALES REPRESENTATIVE(S)/PRESENTATION DECEIVED THEM AS TO THE INVESTMENT VALUE OF THEIR UNIT.
SO WHAT IS THE VALUE OF A TIMESHARE?
For the truth, you can find it somewhere in the voluminous timeshare resort owner manuals or master agreements. Here is an example of language taken directly from a U.S. timeshare resort’s public offering statement that is over 249 pages in length:
“The purchase of a Unit Week should be based on its value as a vacation experience or for spending leisure time, and not considered for purposes of acquiring an appreciating investment or with an expectation that the Unit Week may be resold.”
YES, ANY VALUE YOUR TIMESHARE HAS IS NOT FINANCIAL, RATHER, ITS VALUE IS ONLY AS A VACATION EXPERIENCE OR LEISURE TIME.
This begs the question, if the resorts clearly state all this in public documents and timeshare contracts, why does it come as a surprise to so many timeshare owners? Discover why by reading the full blog: “Your Timeshare is a Liability, NOT an Asset”
And to learn more about how Newton Group and our partner law firm are using the Timeshare Exit Study as a tool in the exploration of claims against timeshare developers and related entities in the industry, visit “You May Have a Claim”.
Using your resort as an exit option to end your ownership isn’t recommended. The reason is supported by our data: over 65% of our clients who tried exiting before hiring us, first tried using their resort as an exit option and were either denied, ignored, or worse, upsold for thousands of dollars. Resorts have a financial interest in keeping owners locked in a fee-paying contract. Many sales representatives are trained to use an owner seeking to exit as an opportunity to sell more timeshares. Resort exit programs also have restrictions, and they don’t work for everyone. Plus, the resort exit program usually requires that you sign a release so that you have no other legal recourse. We have many signed legal declarations from clients recounting what happened when they went back to the resort for an exit. Here is just one example:
“We received a written communication from [our resort] that discouraged owners from hiring an attorney or any third party in an attempt to cancel timeshare contracts. The letter advised that [our resort] would be willing to work with us directly. . . After spending approximately five hours we reluctantly agreed to a membership purchase that provided us with 15,000 points for a total purchase price of $56,100. . . We felt that we were misled into making an additional purchase when that was not what we desired to do. We don’t feel that [our resort] was interested in listening to our concerns, and rather used our visit as an opportunity to upsell us.” —Sworn Legal Declaration
Generally speaking, stopping payments on your timeshare or related fees can result in collection efforts by your resort, which could damage your credit for years to come. You could incur interest and penalties on what you owe, and then the collection calls can start. If you still refuse to pay your bills, the resort may do any number of things to collect, including, in worst-case scenario, putting a lien on your property. Ultimately, the resort could foreclose on the timeshare—damaging your credit and impacting your financial future.
For these reasons and more, no one should stop making timeshare payments without first having Personal Legal Representation. Doing so is a major problem in the exit industry. There are many instances where the lawyer giving advice actually represents the exit company and not the timeshare owner. In such a case, the lawyer has a fiduciary duty to do what’s best for the exit company and not the consumer.
Newton Group doesn’t operate that way—our clients are protected with personal legal representation. Should you choose to stop making your timeshare payments, having legal representation advances certain protections, including those granted by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Under the FDCPA, consumers are protected from abusive debt collectors attempting to collect on certain types of debt, such as mortgages. For instance, a debt collector is not permitted to contact you once the debt collector is aware you have retained an attorney. This is just one of the reasons you should have personal legal representation before stopping payments.
An upfront timeshare exit fee by itself is not a red flag. Despite what timeshare sales representatives may tell you, a timeshare typically has little-to-no resale value. And timeshare exit companies cannot earn commissions on a transaction involving something that is not a financial asset and holds no value. An upfront fee protects the timeshare exit company performing a successful exit for a client who decides not to pay when the work is done.
However, it’s important to know the value of the services you are paying for and that the services are backed by a written agreement from a company with a solid reputation. At Newton Group, our comprehensive process includes exit services and personal legal representation for a single flat fee. The Newton Group partners, together with experienced attorneys, co-founded a law firm to focus on timeshare exit legal issues.
If you were to hire a lawyer on your own, it’s rare to find one who has actual experience with timeshare contracts and agreements, since “timeshare law” is not a recognized area of specialty. Also, private attorneys usually require large, upfront retainers and have constantly increasing billable hours. This makes hiring a lawyer unaffordable for most timeshare owners who are often already facing financial constraints. Newton Group’s unique setup and process offers accessible, affordable representation to timeshare owners.
If you’re looking to find a timeshare exit lawyer, this is where to start. First, “timeshare law” is not recognized as an area of specialty—such as tax law or medical malpractice—which makes it difficult to find the right lawyer to represent you in your timeshare exit. You want to find a lawyer well versed in contract law and who has experience with timeshares. In short, you want a lawyer with both timeshare and contract law experience
Second, beware of companies that position themselves as “advocacy” groups or “consumer protection” groups and have “attorneys on staff”. If an exit company has “attorneys on staff”, it has legal counsel–you don’t. You want an attorney with whom you have a letter of engagement; one who works directly for you and has a fiduciary and ethical duty to act in your best interest.
To learn about Newton Group’s unique exit process that combines experienced exit services with personal legal representation, read “The Story of Our Law Firm–Why Newton Group Partners Co-Founded DC Capital Law”
Should a money-back guarantee be the only requirement on your timeshare exit checklist? Offering money-back guarantee protection is one of the most abused marketing tools in the timeshare exit industry. Unfortunately, it has also become one of the most concerning. Unproven timeshare exit companies are exploiting the promise of a money-back guarantee in order to gain consumers’ trust, even though they may have little or no timeshare exit expertise and possibly a faulty business model.
The exit industry has changed in recent years. In most cases, timeshare exit is neither quick nor easy, and regrettably, a money back guarantee does not equate to quality of service. The hard truth is, at the time of this writing, six major exit companies filed for bankruptcy and closed their doors in the last 18 months. Each bankruptcy created turmoil for hundreds—even thousands—of unwitting timeshare owners who saw their money-back guarantee rendered worthless. Even worse, unproven and unstable exit companies have left consumers—many elderly and on fixed income—without the financial means to hire a reputable exit company to help them.
Read more about the Money-Back Guarantee Mirage and how to protect yourself in the Consumer’s Guide To Timeshare Exit.
Your family can inherit your timeshare. Most timeshare contracts are written in perpetuity, so your family inheriting your timeshare can be a concern. In the 17+ years that Newton Group has been providing timeshare exit services, we have had many clients who inherited a timeshare from parents or grandparents.
In fact, one of the pitches that timeshare resorts often use to try to convince consumers that a timeshare is a lasting investment is that the timeshare can be passed on to their children. Unfortunately, for owners looking to exit, the fear of their children being stuck with the timeshare
is real…even if they didn’t sign the contract. This is another reason the personal legal representation our partner law firm offers is so valuable in guiding you through the exit process and protecting your family.