Timeshare Industry Watchdog Timeshare Compliance Warns Consumers of Steep Hidden Fees in Latest Timeshare Company Price-Hiking Tactic
New XFL Head Coach and NFL Tight End Anthony Becht Shares His Story of Being Caught in Those Timeshare Price Hikes and How to Avoid Them.
ALISO VIEJO, Calif., June 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Timeshare Compliance, the leading consumer advocacy group helping timeshare owners exit their contracts is warning the more than 10 million Americans who own timeshares and potential buyers of a new aggressive tactic by timeshare sales companies – backloading additional fees onto contracts, costing owners potentially tens of thousands of dollars during their ownership, even after they've paid off their initial agreement.
New XFL Head Coach NFL & TE Anthony Becht Shares Story of Being Caught in Timeshare Price Hikes and How to Avoid Them.
One of those victims was none other than former NFL superstar and new head coach with the XFL Anthony Becht, who played more than a decade for the New York Jets, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as well as the Chiefs, Rams, and Cardinals. Becht caught nearly 200 passes as a tight end in his career but this time he was on the receiving end of hefty fees that kept being added on to his initial contract for a timeshare he bought in St. Petersburg, Florida for his family in 2005, while visiting a resort.
"It was a shock for me what I ended up paying compared to what I was actually pitched by the timeshare sales company," said Becht. "The fees come at you from all directions, and it can be overwhelming."
Becht, 44, who lives in Tampa after his retirement from the NFL in 2011, was invited to a timeshare sales meeting while vacationing which the St. Petersburg resort billed as a "30 minute" presentation. It turned out to be nearly seven hours of intense pitching. "At that point, like many people, I was willing to sign anything to get out of there," said Becht.
Still, Becht got what he thought was a good deal as the price he paid for the timeshare was 60 percent off what he was originally quoted. But that "discount" came with back ended fees he wasn't told about.
"Timeshare companies are now making up that deep discount on the initial purchase price by nickel-and-diming these new and existing contract holders," said Bo Wilson, co-founder of Timeshare Compliance. "They know buyers are more sophisticated now, so getting timeshare owners to pay more during the life of the contract is the way they make their money," said Wilson, who started the company with his co-partner, Rich Folk in 2012, after both worked in the timeshare sales industry and became disgusted with the high-pressure sales tactics and the hidden fees foisted on timeshare prospects and buyers.
That's exactly what happened to Becht when he tried to book a reservation, he was told he didn't have enough points for that time slot but for an additional $199 "fee" he could get it.
Instead, he was offered slots at another resort. When he got there, he was encouraged to attend an "update" for owners that really turned out to be a pitch for "upgrades" that again came with hefty fees. "If I wanted the use of a boat for the weekend," that would cost me extra again, said Becht.
When Becht did have enough points, he had to pay a hefty user fee to keep them active and a processing fee to use them at the resort he wanted.
"Timeshare points are not like airline frequent-flier miles, it's use it or lose it," Rich Folk, co-partner at Timeshare Compliance said.
A few years of frustration later, the backbreaker for Becht was meeting other couples at the resort who had just called up that weekend and booked the same condo he wanted without fees or contracts.
"You're sitting in the hot tub at the resort with another couple and you find out they paid just a few hundred dollars on a travel web site to get the same vacation you paid thousands in extra fees for," said Becht, who began looking for an exit to his timeshare contract.
His frustration continued when other so-called "timeshare exit" companies turned out to be scams and some even affiliated with the companies themselves.
"When you want to exit your timeshare, doing it without trusted help can lead you down the road sometimes to even signing extensions with the same timeshare company," said Timeshare Compliance's Folk. "Timeshare companies have sophisticated scripts to turn frustrated owners into actually extending their contracts."
For Becht, the frustration ended when he contacted Timeshare Compliance. Timeshare Compliance works with a multi-level personal approach that assigns each owner to a dedicated client specialist and case analyst who prepare a case file and resolution options, and then work with a credit coordinator to manage a client's credit and work with an attorney to represent clients in court if needed.
With the help of Timeshare Compliance, Becht is working on exiting his timeshare contract. But he's now also warning existing owners and new buyers of timeshares to be even more careful of what they're signing. "I was very happy that Timeshare Compliance managed to help me with my bad situation, but I feel badly for the same people who I was in the presentations with who signed contracts at the face price and haven't been able to exit."
Timeshare Compliance will be launching in 2022 a comprehensive consumer update quarterly on timeshare exit news and trends to help protect consumers, especially women buyers, seniors and veterans from predatory sales tactics and help them exit contracts.
"We're really proud of our work helping so many timeshare owners get out from under crushing debt and fees, but we've only just begun," said Wilson. "Our goal is to be the premier resource for journalists, consumers and owners when it comes to navigating the timeshare world and how to get out of traps that owners like Anthony Becht encountered."
In general, here are some important tips that Timeshare Compliance wants buyers and owners to know about before they purchase a timeshare and after they own one.
Timeshares are NOT real estate investments: A timeshare company salesperson might call the monthly payments on your unit a "mortgage", but they aren't, says Rich Folk. "You can't write off your interest payments on a timeshare like you can a home. Often the timeshare contract itself has no resale value, unlike a home," he said.
Don't feel pressured to sign something without reading it or sign just to be able to leave the sales presentation.
"We tend to believe that walking out on something or somebody is rude, and timeshare companies take advantage of that, especially with senior citizens," said Timeshare Compliance's Bo Wilson. "You can walk out any time."
In addition, Wilson warns potential buyers not to give a timeshare company your Social Security number, or birthdate, or anything that could be used to open a credit account. If you go, pay for your drinks and food in cash, never a credit card.
"Offering free alcoholic drinks is an easy way to get potential buyers relaxed and off their guard for the hard sell that's coming," said Wilson.
Don't be fooled either by a salesperson saying the price for a timeshare is good for that day only. "It'll be there tomorrow and the next day, and the day after that," said Wilson.
Be aware of the rescission protections in your state or where the timeshare is located, but they may not be the same where you sign your contract.
Because of the frequent horror stories relating to timeshare sales, most states have increased protection for consumers who enter a contract for a timeshare. Typically, you have seven days or more to cancel for any reason. But some states' consumer protections are stronger than others and may only apply in the state where the contract is signed, not where you purchased it.
"If you're asked to sign a contract in a different state than where you are sold the timeshare or where the timeshare is located, it may be because that state has weaker consumer protections and the company is taking advantage of that for their benefit, not yours," said Folk.
If you're ready to exit, get prepared with your sales contract, billing documents and any written correspondence made by the timeshare company's sales associates or management.
"Many timeshare companies will actually use an owner's frustration as an opportunity to upsell you and lock you into more debt to make you happy," said Wilson. "They'll lose your contract or documents and slow-walk you to wear you down. That's why it's key to have someone like Timeshare Compliance on your side during the exit process."
– Editors and producers: For a phone or TV interview with Anthony Becht, Rich Folk or Bo Wilson please call Rachel Tuhro.
Timeshare Compliance has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a score of 4.5 (out of 5) or "EXCELLENT" on Trustpilot.com
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SOURCE Timeshare Compliance