After writing a few articles about timeshare fraud in 2016, I started to receive one or two complaints a week from readers asking for advice, all but a handful alleging they were a victim of unfair and deceptive trade practices. Since then, a total of 556 timeshare members have reached out asking for advice about how to get out of their timeshare.
Not one of the 556 members understood that their timeshare had little to no secondary market. Unlike a home, it is almost impossible to sell a timeshare that is encumbered, and a defaulted timeshare loan is often reported as a foreclosure. Amounts of $100,000 or more are not uncommon. The lack of a viable secondary market has caused a thriving "Get you out of your timeshare" scam industry. Timeshare is a $9 billion-a-year industry.
In many cases, as with Raymond and Teresa Mori, ages 83 and 79, the effects of foreclosure are demoralizing, facing foreclosure for the first time in their life. Raymond Mori is a retired Marine. A gunner, he was shot down twice. He earned two Purple Hearts and is 100% disabled. Mr. and Mrs. Mori have been married 61 years.
The Mori's daughter, Teresa Laird, has been trying to help them through their nightmare. According to Teresa,
After my parents purchased 17,000 timeshare points in 2014 for $49,492, for no reason, I started looking into their transactions. In 2018 I accompanied them to a timeshare presentation at the company they had invested in. I took notes under the table:
"I am writing this at my parent's last timeshare update March 13, 2018. I am convinced my parents, at age 83 and 79, would have purchased 30,000 additional timeshare vacation points for $234,295 had I not been with them. This offer required a down payment of $69,993. I kept the paper of these terms under the table because members are not allowed to walk out with hand-written notes."
My dad was not feeling well that day. He falls asleep in his wheelchair and had spent six months in the hospital after a heart attack. The stress over this expense has caused my parents' health to deteriorate further.
I first learned of their timeshare purchase when my mom told me they had purchased an investment. She said they had invested in property. I called the company when my dad said they wanted to sell some points. When I asked how to go about selling points, the agent laughed at me.
Like many, my parents used their timeshare for years without complaint. They said they were told they had to give up their deed and buy vacation points. I've learned they did not have to do that. Since then their annual maintenance fees have increased from $2,600 to $4,600.
When the collection calls started, I changed their phone number because they made my mom so upset. She still shakes when she hears the phone ring. She has never been late on paying a bill in her life, so this has caused her to lose weight and lose sleep. I learned my mom's entire Social Security check goes to pay the timeshare mortgage. We have learned their timeshare has no secondary market value.
What they bought:
4,000 points purchased in 3/12/2013 for $20,416
2500 points purchased in 6/25/2013 for $8,325
2500 points purchased in 7/29/2013 for $8,616
15000 trial points 5/4/2014 for $2,995
At ages 79 and 75 they were sold a trial program?