Does this sound familiar?
“We are timeshare exit experts with a proven timeshare exit strategy who guarantee you will be able to walk away from your timeshare. If we are not successful, we will give you your money back.”
If you are a consumer trying to exit or cancel your timeshare, we are sure you have seen or heard plenty of ads that sound a lot like this. This “guarantee” provides a great deal of relief for most consumers as they figure that if worse comes to worst, they will at least get their money back. After seeing this promise repeatedly during your desperate search for help, you might start to believe it. Based on this promise, you may have even hired a company seeking help getting out of your timeshare. Now, we are not saying everything you see or hear online is false or exaggerated (after all, you are reading this on your computer or phone). However, as any competent consumer protection attorney will tell you, it is important to be suspicious of any claim that a service is “guaranteed”.
Consumer protection attorneys will tell you to be skeptical of “guarantees” because they are only as good as the person or company who makes the claim. As anyone who follows timeshare news will tell you, the timeshare resale, cancelation redemption, and exit industries are full of scam artists and less-than respectable businesses. We frequently see stories and receive calls from consumers about companies that guarantee an exit or refund. These companies either gave the consumer the “runaround”, went into bankruptcy, or disappeared altogether, taking the money and leaving the consumer with an even bigger mess. Things have become so bad that the BBB, FTC, and other consumer organizations constantly issue warnings and post articles about timeshare resale organizations. Some states have even passed laws trying to regulate the industry.
Even legitimate resellers, transfer, exit, or redemption companies are putting themselves in a tight spot when guaranteeing success. While some transfer and resale companies have relationships that allow them to sell or transfer inventory back to the resorts, this ability is highly dependent on market conditions. If there is a large amount of inventory or the resort company does not believe your interest will be easily resold, they may not take it back because they are not obligated to do so. With the market currently saturated with inventory, these often-unlicensed third-party companies can become backlogged, non-responsive, close, or even disappear while you wait, making it difficult to trust these guarantees.
On the other hand, reputable legal professionals will be far less likely to offer guarantees. In fact, attorneys are prohibited from advertising guaranteed results. However, nearly any licensed legal professional is a better option than a company making boastful, hard to confirm claims about cancelation and undependable refund offers. The guarantee and refund should never be the most crucial factor in any decision. The most critical factor in your decision should be, “do you feel protected and looked after.” Legal professionals are ethically and legally obligated to place the interest of their clients ahead of their own, so they are not beholden to quotes, backdoor industry connections, or outside forces that are at odds with what’s best for the client.
If you are having an issue with your timeshare before you even start looking for third-party help, contact your timeshare developer directly to try and reach a resolution. However, if that option fails, before conducting business with anyone, including legal professionals, take the time to research them thoroughly with the consumer protection and administrative agencies in your state and other resources like AARP and the BBB.