Timeshare relief is what many owners are seeking, as financial issues or other circumstances can make their ownership unmanageable. But, with so many companies that promise to release you from your contract and annual fees, it can be hard to find a legitimate company that will deliver on their promises.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), there are two kinds of timeshare exit companies: resale companies that claim to sell your timeshare, and relief or cancellation companies that promise to get you out of your timeshare contract. Some of these companies have been accused of ripping off consumers by charging exorbitant upfront fees and failing to help them escape their timeshare contracts.
One such company is RSI, LLC, which was recently placed on BBB’s “Worst Business Practices” list. In addition to its high upfront fees, RSI is accused of not cancelling customers’ vacation timeshare contracts within promised deadlines and not refunding them. RSI also faces complaints from consumers who say the company misled them during sales presentations.
BBB surveyed consumer documents and interviews with hundreds of consumers who believe they were victimized by RSI and other Springfield-area timeshare exit companies. These consumers told us they had paid tens of thousands of dollars in up-front fees and often had to wait years before getting out of their timeshares. Some were even scammed out of their heirs’ inheritances.
Despite RSI’s denial of any wrongdoing, the business has been a disaster for some of its clients. For example, Corinne Adams, 83, of Olympia, Wash., says RSI charged her more than $6,000 to help her sell her timeshare in Hawaii, but was unable to get rid of it. She now owes more than $20,000 in debts to credit card companies.
Another alleged victim is a man who says he signed a contract with RSI in February 2016 and paid the company nearly $10,000 to exit two timeshares. But he was still stuck in his timeshares six months later when he complained to BBB. RSI said it would not refund his money because it didn’t meet its obligation to “exhaust every possible avenue” to get him out of his timeshares.
Timeshare experts warn against ignoring your obligations under the contract or walking away from your timeshare altogether, since the company will likely report you to a credit bureau if you stop paying your fees. They advise instead to seek a reputable timeshare resale or relief company. The best ones will disclose all options available to you and not try to pressure you into choosing a certain option. They will also explain how to avoid scams by recognizing red flags. They include a lack of transparency, asking for exorbitant upfront fees in the thousands of dollars, or calling you out of the blue to offer a quick sale of your timeshare. These are all signs of a bad timeshare company. Good ones will always be transparent with their clients and work to earn their trust.