——————————————-GET IT IN WRITING!————————————————-
The latest internet and national advertising campaigns that may border on the “dark side” are the efforts by some so called “timeshare exit strategy” companies that promise to get you out of a contract by representing themselves as experts on the process, especially for those who may have unpaid mortgages AS WELL as the monthly fees or dues that are necessary for routine maintenance, repairs, utilities, insurance, taxes, etc. Their fees, PAID UP FRONT in full or with down payments and monthly installments, can RUN INTO THE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS causing you more heartache and financial difficulties. While the “100% guaranteed refund” line they use may sound tempting and give the appearance of good business ethics, thereby raising your comfort level, you should know that in many documented cases these firms consider a foreclosure as having satisfied their contract with you and DO NOT give refunds in such cases.
IF YOU STILL OWE ON A MORTGAGE, THE MOST LIKELY END RESULT IS DEFAULT AND FORECLOSURE, whether or not you pay someone thousands for their “help”.
We urge you to check out anyone who represents themselves as having the ability to cancel and separate you from your timeshare obligation. It now appears that in far too many cases, the process of cancelling your contract often involves directing you into a contract default and a subsequent foreclosure with all the credit rating implications to follow. AGAIN, the advertised 100% guaranteed refund DOES NOT APPLY when you are foreclosed with damaged credit. They promised you would be out of your timeshare even if it means a default on your part and foreclosure. Was this made clear to you that the process could end in a foreclosure AND no refund? If so, was it IN WRITING?
If you are thinking about using one of these exit strategy firms, use DUE DILIGENCE. Look for complaints on the internet, check with the BBB. Ask questions about how the process works;
1. Will there be any damage to your credit rating, even if the mortgage was paid off? (Probably yes, but they won’t volunteer this bit of information!!!)
2. Will there be any pursuit of property liens after a foreclosure?
3. Do they do ANYTHING beyond sending out a “Cease and Desist” form letter?
(These letters are pretty much worthless in that they usually only stop collection phone calls and letters from third party collectors. In many states this letter DOES NOT require the creditor to whom you directly owe a debt to cease contact with you and do NOTHING to stop a foreclosure proceeding against you which WILL damage your credit rating. In fact a Cease and Desist letter can actually hasten a lawsuit against you and a resultant foreclosure. You’re not getting out of an obligation, you’re telling them to go ahead and drop a “credit rating” bomb on you!)
4. Still like the sound of a Cease and Desist letter? DO IT YOURSELF! Just write it down or use an easily obtained form off the internet. Mail it yourself. CARRIES THE SAME WEIGHT AND THE SAME RESULTS with no fees. Now how does that sound. Really, its exactly the same thing under the “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act” as enforced and administered by the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION. Don’t need a lawyer for this if you have a pen, a piece of paper and a stamp. BUT REMEMBER, this letter most likely will just speed up the foreclosure and credit hit.
5. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, if they tell you something that SOUNDS good, HAVE THEM PUT IT IN WRITING; INCLUDE IT IN ANY WRITTEN CONTRACT. Verbal and oral information given to you is of no use and cant be proven.
THE WRITTEN CONTRACT IS THE ONLY WAY TO PROTECT YOURSELF if a dispute arises at some future date in regards to what happened and what you may have been told. If they tell you something but refuse to put it into a contract, don’t sign it and end the discussion. THEY wrote the contract and they can change it. IF IT AIN’T IN WRITING THEN IT DON’T EXIST!! (pardon my grammar)
______OH THOSE TIMESHARE EXIT COMPANIES AND THEIR “CUSTOMER REVIEWS”_____
Ever see a website that wants to sell you something, a product or a service, with a “Customer Reviews” section? Yep..all the time. And they always have nothing but 4 and 5 stars. Wonder how that can be?
Well here is the skinny. There are companies that will collect data for goods and services websites, filter the reviews and “cherry pick” ONLY the 4 and 5 stars. Does that surprise you? Well it shouldn’t. Happens every day of every year. So don’t pay much attention to customer reviews on a website with whom you are thinking of doing business. The ones that are shown on a their website could be coached and/or even written by someone who is employed by the website or contracted by the website. The carnival barkers always assured you that the “thing” you saw in a cage after you paid your admission really did exist and wasn’t just chicken wire covered in paper mache. So don’t get taken in by chicken wire in disguise, Paaaaalease!!!
_______________________BEWARE PAYING FEES UP FRONT, BEFORE A SALE!_________________
We have been warning folks not to be fooled by anyone charging you ANY FEES whatsoever before a sale. In fact, in almost all cases, as a seller you should NEVER have to pay fees at any time. WHY? Because in most cases, though resale values are low in the timeshare industry, there is still some value in them for an owner. You should stipulate that any fees that you have AGREED to pay are to be deducted from the sale proceeds before remittance to you. No need to pay anyone upfront, as a seller, because the buyers’ money should be in an escrow account waiting to be disbursed to a listing firm for their commission and the remainder to the seller. Pretty much like closing at your local title company when selling your home.
Ever hear of a local real estate agent asking for their commission to sell your house BEFORE ITS EVEN LISTED? Of course you haven’t. Selling your timeshare should work just like selling your home; no sale/closing, no commission. Right?
The newest twist on up front fee companies is CLAIMING to be a “no up front fee” company and prominently display themselves as such on their website. Then they proceed to attempt to differentiate their “up front fees” from those other unscrupulous guys by saying we ONLY charge for our services, like marketing, closing, administrative, blah blah blah and ONLY after these “honest business services” have begun. So…..what they are saying is “yes we get fees up front(before a sale and closing) but ours are different because they just are”.
Do they call their fee a “closing fee”? The buyer normally pays the closing costs or its something you can negotiate if necessary. Why would you pay for a closing THAT HASNT HAPPENED…BECAUSE IT HASNT BEEN SOLD YET! Do they call it a marketing fee? That’s what the commission is suppose to cover, at closing/transfer!
NO…..any charges BEFORE a sale/closing/transfer, call it what you will, is STILL AN UP FRONT FEE because you paid money while the timeshare is still in your name, you are still liable for the maintenance fees, and you are still liable for any unpaid mortgage. You are asked to pay something not at the end of a sale, but UP FRONT. Ridiculous and with dishonest intent!
I can’t stress this enough but here goes……IF YOU ARE THE SELLER AND YOU KNOW OR HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT THERE IS VALUE IN YOUR TIMESHARE, WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO SEND MONEY TO A STRANGER ???? You worked for your money, now make them work for their money ONLY IF IT SELLS…RIGHT?
Its really this simple……..if you have money coming to you at closing….JUST TELL ‘EM TO DEDUCT ANY FEES/COMMISSIONS YOU HAVE AGREED TO PAY FROM THE MONEY THEY TOLD YOU WOULD BE SENT TO YOU AT CLOSING!!!!
If there truly, honestly is a buyer for your property, they will have already been required to place all or a large percentage of their money into an escrow fund account. Believe me, its easier to transfer money from an escrow account to pay their fees than ask you to “wire transfer” or send them a cashier’s check.
By the way, did you know that agreeing to pay anyone by wire transfer or cashier’s check ROBS you of your best, quickest chance at recourse? Your money is gone; the bank can do nothing because you authorized your bank to do this for you. The only thing left is legal action and realistically it would cost you more in legal fees than you lost, in most cases. And worse of all, the only written document you have is a contract WRITTEN BY THEM!!
So in closing, be alert to ANY request for payment for ANY services in regard to selling your timeshare. Cold calls to you, unrequested emails, postcards or letters in the mail that you didn’t ask for….ITS RED FLAG TIME FOLKS!!!! Hang up, stand up, walk away. HU-SU-WA BABY!!!! (uh, that’s hang up, stand up, walk away…I made that up just now)