ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) - A St. Charles County man says he paid more than $4,000 to sell his timeshare, but a deal never materialized.
Ron Russelburg purchased a timeshare at Calypso Cay Resort in Orlando when his children were younger, but as the family grew, he decided to sell it.
After seeing an ad for a company called Timeshare Exit Team, he decided to call.
He says he agreed to pay the upfront fee to get rid of the ongoing maintenance fees charged by timeshare year after year.
Russelburg says he was sold on the company’s “guarantee” and understood a deal would happen within 180 days. The transaction occurred in October 2017, but more than two years later, Russelburg’s timeshare still wasn’t sold.
“It was their guarantee that if it didn’t work out we could get our money back. It would be no harm no foul," Russelburg said.
When asked why he didn’t receive his money back Russelburg responded, “That’s a good question.”
John Kushman operates an unrelated timeshare resale business in Montana, and agreed to speak to News 4 about issues within the industry.
Kushman said consumers need to realize, “What you paid for your timeshare is not what you are going to be able to sell it for.”
He’s also skeptical of companies that charge upfront fees to sell timeshares, and says he only charges consumers once a deal closes.
Kushman said he sees a lot of desperate sellers nationwide, and often they fall vulnerable to scams.
Some of those scams are operated offshore according to Kushman, and can include wiring large sums of money.
Kushman makes it clear, he doesn’t believe Timeshare Exit Team is a scam, but he has started a hotline for consumers to report scams and issues involved with selling timeshares.
He says his site timesharescamhotline.com is not a solicitation for new business, but a way to share problems with other consumers.
Kushman said, “We started the fraud hotline because I was tired of getting calls from people scammed that sounded like my grandma.”
News 4 reached out to the Timeshare Exit Team for answers regarding Russelburg’s situation.
A few days later, he received a full refund.
The company provided the following statement:
“Since 2011, Timeshare Exit Team has successfully helped more than 20,000 consumers find a path out of their timeshares. Most of these people were unhappy with their timeshare purchase and faced numerous traps, loopholes and maintenance/other fees.
Unfortunately, there was some confusion by this customer regarding the time frame detailed in our contract and a separate agreement that one of our third-party vendors had made with her. Timeshare Exit Team has never had a 180-day guarantee and we’re very sorry for any frustrations this may have caused. We have clarified this and she has related that she understands Timeshare Exit Team’s time frame.
We completely understood their frustration at this process, made unnecessarily complicated due to the hurdles that developers put up to keep people stuck in their timeshare, and have reached out to make it right. We offered to find another exit option for them, which they declined, so we are providing them with a full refund.
Stories like this illustrate why we launched the Coalition to Reform Timeshare (www.ReformTimeshare.org), which is shedding light on the deceptive, anti-consumer tactics that the timeshare industry is using. We’re going to keep fighting, because no one deserves to feel trapped in their timeshare.”