“I suppose it’s a common story,” Jeanine said from across her kitchen table, a cup of tea in her hands.
“We were on vacation in Mexico and just wanted to help one of the guys in the airport. Honestly, we didn’t even care about the free day trip, we just wanted to help someone out. We never expected for a million years that we would wind up buying a timeshare…but there we were, signing contracts after just a few hours. I still can’t believe we did that,” she said, taking a long look at her husband Charles.
Charles let out a long sigh and shook his head. “I guess when it sounds too good to be true, it really is.”
“Well, yeah, but we were also thinking about something for our kids. It wasn’t just about us.” Jeanine replied.
It was a pretty typical timeshare story. I had flown out from Wilmington to Connecticut to meet with some newly exited timeshare owners, clients who had become favorites around the office. Charles and Jeanine had agreed to tell their story and I was happy to meet with them.
“We figured that the property values in Cancun would increase and also we were told that we would be able to rent it out fairly easily, so there was this idea of an investment component to it too.” Charles remarked sipping his cup of hot coffee.
“Okay, so when did you realize that the timeshare just wasn’t for you?” I asked.
“Well, probably when I tried calling their phone number and no one even bothered to answer.” Jeanine replied.
“Wait, so they didn’t even answer their phones?” I was shocked.
“Nope. I called every day, during business hours, for a week and no one ever answered the phone. Ironically, I was calling to see about how to pay the balance off.”
“Woah, now that’s a new low,” I remarked. “What did you end up doing?”
“I eventually got tired of trying to call and just sent an email. They connected me with their collection agency in Florida, who answered their phones. I really wished that I had paid attention to that first week, though, because we later found out that we probably could still have gotten a refund at that particular point. It was still pretty early in the contract.”
“Right, if you start getting upset early enough, you can sometimes get a partial refund.” I replied.
“Yes, well, you’d think by now I would learn to trust my guts on some of this…but I just brushed it off. The collections guys said that it was a holiday in Mexico, so I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.”
“Okay, so now the contract is paid off. What happened next?” I asked, taking a sip of coffee.
“Well, we kept going. We listed the timeshare for rent and got a couple of offers.” Charles piped up.
“Okay, that’s good. Did you actually rent any weeks?
“We did, actually, but the amounts that we got back were basically just enough to cover our maintenance fees and make a little more. I really didn’t think that the money we made renting our weeks was worth the hassle. There are easier ways to make money.”
“I see. What about using your weeks for your own vacation?”
Jeanine sat up a little more, well, that’s the thing. We don’t really like going back to the same place over and over again. We like Cancun and figured we would go back once or twice more, but when we called to make a reservation, they still didn’t even answer their phones!”
“Again!” I gasped.
“A-gain,” Charles chimed in. “We called in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening. I checked for any holidays, but nope, they never answered their phones.”
“We did eventually go back again, right after the pandemic.” Jeanine said.
“Yes, but we booked it through Expedia.” Charles said, a tone of sarcasm in his voice.
“Wow, okay, so you were there in Cancun, booked through Expedia because your own timeshare company never bothered to answer their phones. So did you go on the member update presentation?”
“Of course!” Jeanine said, “we wanted to hear what they had to say for themselves! It had already been THREE YEARS, the contract was paid for, and we couldn’t even get them to answer their phones!”
“Okay? So, what did they have to say for themselves?” I asked, laughing a little.
“They said that if we upgraded to their new tower, they’d fix all of our problems!” She replied.
“You’re kidding. Did you upgrade to their new tower?”
“No way, Jose!” Charles said. “No way were they going to get us again. We asked for a refund instead.”
“Well, good for you! But I think I know what the answer to that request was.”
“Right, well, it was a big N-O on the refund.” Charles said.
“Right, you were way past your recession period at that point, plus the contract was paid-for.” I replied.
“Correct,” Jeanine chimed back in. “I have to tell you I was literally sick to my stomach at that point. I felt like we had been duped. I NEVER thought that we would be the type of people to get roped into a timeshare like that. On top of it all, like adding insult to injury, we continued to get timeshare maintenance fees in the mail. I mean even during the pandemic, when no one could travel, they kept sending us the maintenance fee, which we paid, but we never got to use those weeks. They actually told us they were expired. I mean, I just felt so frustrated and so stuck. I really didn’t know what we were going to do.”
“Right, that’s a pretty typical timeshare move there…mandatory maintenance fees…whether or not they do their jobs and get you on vacation.” I replied.
“Well, we were fed-up. We still had about 20 years or so left on that timeshare contract, and we just couldn’t fathom paying another 20 years of maintenance fees to people who don’t even answer their phones,” said Charles.
“Yes, so we started researching timeshare exit solutions. We spoke to several attorneys until we finally were referred to you,” Jeanine said, “I really feel like you guys saved us.”
“Awe, thanks, we accept complements all day,” I grinned. “Okay, so tell me why did you opt to go with Timeshare Recyclers versus the attorneys?”
“Well, it was really because of the refunds in Resort Credits and the weeks back,” said Charles as he filled up his coffee cup again.
“Right, so tell me a little more about that,” I replied.
“Well, the attorneys could get us out, but we would have had to walk away from the $20,000 that we had invested in the first place. The only upside to the attorneys was just simply getting out of the future maintenance fees. They also couldn’t protect our credit.”
“Okay, I see. So really it was the Straight Exit service with the refund in Resort Credits and the weeks back that won you over.”
“Yes,” Jeanine said, “also you guys were a little less expensive than the attorneys and we felt like the people on the phone really knew what they were doing. Everyone was responsive and kind. The people at Timeshare Recyclers seemed like they were really on this mission to get people out of timeshares…and that was something we could get behind.”
“We are on a mission to get people out of their timeshares!” I said. “No one should be stuck in a maintenance fee forever just because they made a spur-of-the-moment decision and bought a timeshare. Vacations should be fun and never mandatory.”
“Well, we probably would have stayed with them, if they had just answered their phones.” Charles said, shaking his head. “I mean we’re the kind of people that when we say we’re going to do a thing, we do it…even if we don’t want to at the time.”
“Yes, but you have to draw the line somewhere. There’s no point in just being abused or allowing yourself to be taken advantage of,” said Jeanine.
“That’s right, Dear.” Charles said, reaching out and squeezing Jeanine’s hand a little.
“You guys are the cutest couple ever.” I replied, “and you make good coffee too.”
“Yes, well, don’t ask which timeshare to buy!” Jeanine laughed.
“Well, now that you’ve gotten out of your timeshare. You received all your Resort Credits and a few weeks back. How do you feel?” I asked.
“Like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders!” Jeanine said, her blue eyes tearing up a little bit. “I mean, we just didn’t know what to do or how to do it. We didn’t want to just want away from our investment, but we knew it was too late to get cash back…and we certainly didn’t want to pay another twenty years of maintenance fees. We just felt so….stuck.”
“We get that comment from a lot of our customers….we totally understand. You’re not alone. Getting out of a timeshare on your own is almost impossible. You really need to have someone in your corner, helping you out.” I replied.
“Yes, well, we were really so relieved when we got that final notice that the timeshare had been cancelled. That was the most important thing for us…and frankly, if we just get to use the Resort Credits once, that’s more than we actually expected in the first place. We’re just really relieved that we don’t to deal with those people anymore.”
“I get it. It sounds like it was a pretty tough experience, but you’re going to use those Resort Credits way more than once! Those things are great!”
“Oh, we know!” Jeanine said, “we just got back from a long weekend and we have already booked our first cruise with them.”
“That’s great, I didn’t know you had already booked all that.”
“Yes, we did it right away….and you guys actually answer your phones!” Charles laughed.
“Wow…yes…we actually answer the phones.” I laughed.
Charles and Jeanine are like many former timeshare owners who found themselves stuck in a timeshare that just simply didn’t work. If you can relate to their story and are feeling suffocated by a timeshare contract that is more of a burden than a blessing, please schedule a free consultation with one of Timeshare Exit Specialists today.