Relinquishment, termination or exit, are all terms used for ending your timeshare contract and membership, but they are also synonymous with scams. Only recently we published the redacted story of one type of scam, the “unilateral declaration of cancellation”, where in the “opinion” of the “lawyer” you are out of your timeshare, unfortunately in our story that was not the case.
Today we have a look at the opposite situation, this is where you have successfully ended your membership years ago, with written confirmation directly from your timeshare company. But according to the “cold caller” passing themselves off as “legal services or lawyers” you are not and are still liable for all the years of back maintenance.
Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence, the “cold call” usually begins with information about “exit & claims”, but when you mention the fact you are already out, that is when the “tall tales” begin.
The caller talks you into speaking with one of their “legal advisors” who can explain it all in more detail. During this call, you are subjected to what only amounts to “scare tactics”, that you are liable for all the arrears, plus interest, and that the timeshare company will take legal action through the County Courts.
When you explain you have a letter from the timeshare saying you are no longer a member, the “legal advisor” states that you are not out, it is only a “suspension” due to arrears and you are still liable. Even possibly endorsing this with a claim that it is a “common tactic” by the resorts.
The unfortunate thing is in this story, the couple fell for it, they were frightened into believing what they were told. Consequently, they paid and lost that money.
Our story doesn’t end there, another company, which appears to have ties with the previous ones, now gets in touch with the same pitch. Fortunately this time the couple didn’t fall for it.
This is an abridged version of a true story of deceit, the full version can be found on the following link, once again it is from our friends at the TCA.
Along with all the other methods to commit fraud, this particular scam focuses on using fear as their main weapon, this is effective, especially when you consider the generation they are targeting. The threat of a County Court Judgment for “debt” is unthinkable and it is this which ensures the “mark” signs and pays.
Another factor which is also used is “money”, the promise of a “claim” along with a substantial “compensation” payment. The thought of having some spare “cash” is a great enticer.
As always in timeshare scams the fraudsters will use some semblance of the truth, such as the liquidation of your timeshare company, or a recent takeover, all have been used and the truth twisted to suit the fraudster’s needs. The acquisition of Diamond by Hilton and the partnership between Club la Costa and Wyndham are the most recent, in both cases it is the use of “scare tactics” which are most prevalent.
Cold calls may not be illegal, but 99% of them are going to be the prelude to you being scammed. Whether you have already ended your membership with confirmation from the resort, or are looking to exit, don’t believe what you are told. Check with your timeshare company first, most will have their own program and will also confirm if your membership is well and truly over.
Have you received a similar call to the ones described, are you unsure if it is genuine, then please use our contact page and AIT will get back to you?