Timeshare consultants may not save you money.
Better Business Bureaus from Mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island (BBB) are aware of a company sending mass marketing letters to timeshare owners across Vancouver Island regarding the elimination of timeshare maintenance fees. BBB cautions timeshare owners to research any third-party timeshare service because it may be costly and lead to the owner breaching their contract.
A timeshare owner from the Pacific Shores Owners Enterprises Ltd. on Vancouver Island contacted the Better Business Bureau after receiving a mailer from a company calling itself the Management Department (BBB Business Review) which listed a Vancouver address and provided a reference number and information that the company could "eliminate all future Timeshare Management Fees."
The timeshare owner did not have any understanding about how their contact information was attained by this company. Better Business Bureau is aware several other timeshare owners from the same resort were sent a similar mailing from the company.
When BBB attempted to contact the number on the mailing, it was inactive; however, a secondary number for the company directed BBB to a company called Resort Management Assistance, based in Torrance, California. The representative said the company provides local seminars on timeshare contracts to help consumers find clauses in their timeshare contracts to reduce or eliminate timeshare maintenance fees. The caller did not state whether there was a cost associated to this service and later confirmed that letters sent to Pacific Shores’ residents should be disregarded as they were not eligible for their services.
BBB found several companies that linked back to the same California address and timeshare reseller and consultant, David MacMillan whose companies include: Aston Marketing Group, Transfer Smart LLC and Timeshare Relief, Inc. Transfer Smart LLC and Timeshare Relief, Inc both had government actions in 2012.
Last fall, the Office of Indiana Attorney General and Timeshare Relief, Inc. made a voluntary compliance order due to the company being engaged in certain trade practices violating telephone solicitations with Indiana residents. During a similar time period, Transfer Smart LLC was ordered by the California Bureau of Real Estate to desist and refrain for engaging in unlicensed real estate activities which involved timeshares.
Better Business Bureau offers the following advice regarding timeshare contracts:
Be careful of any guarantees to eliminate maintenance fees. Be cautious of third party companies who promise to eliminate maintenance fees, as the advice those companies provide may not reduce or eliminate fees, but could violate the terms of the timeshare contract. Ask upfront what type of costs could be associated with this form of consultation. Consider speaking with a lawyer before proceeding with any third party service as there could be financial and legal ramifications to not paying the maintenance fees.
Review options for reducing costs. If you are facing financial hardships consider reviewing your contract to see if there are allowances for sublets.
Contact your management company about resale opportunities. Contact the management company to understand if the timeshare could be bought back by the company, or whether there are any reputable services for the resale market that could be suggested.