RALEIGH — Hundreds of timeshare owners – from at least 46 states, including North Carolina – have lost thousands of dollars each to timeshare exit businesses that set up operations in recent years in and around Springfield, Missouri.
That is a key finding of a four-month investigation of the controversial industry by Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Eastern & Southwest Missouri & Southern Illinois. The study, titled “Timeshare Exit Trap: A Better Business Bureau Study on How Southwest Missouri’s Notorious Timeshare Relief Operators Victimized Hundreds of Timeshare Owners Across the U.S.,” reports BBB has logged more than 350 consumer complaints against 10 of the most active Springfield-area timeshare exit businesses between Jan. 1, 2017 and March 1, 2019. Clients of those businesses said they paid out more than $2.2 million for timeshare relief work that was either never done or never completed.
“BBB received 24 complaints from North Carolinians in connection with timeshare exit businesses,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina. “The majority of the complaints say they were given written guarantees, but have received no satisfaction years after paying the exit companies.”
The study highlights several cases in which timeshare owners paid exit businesses anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000 after the businesses assured them they could get them out of their timeshare contracts. Several consumers said the exit companies turned their cases over to law firms or others that also failed to help them.
The report concludes that seniors and timeshare owners on fixed incomes “are falling victim to timeshare exit companies at an alarming rate. Many of these companies either do not have the expertise or the ethics to follow through with promises to extricate their clients from the often burdensome lifetime timeshare contracts.”
BBB offers the following advice if you believe you have been victim of a timeshare exit company:
Complain to the company directly.
File a complaint with BBB.
File a complaint with the FTC online or by calling 877-FTC-HELP.
Contact the attorney general’s office of the state where you live, and the attorney general’s office in the state where the business is located.
File a complaint with your local U.S. Postal Inspection Service office online.
For more information, visit bbb.org.