Hundreds of timeshare owners - from at least 46 states - have lost thousands of dollars each to timeshare exit businesses that set up operations in recent years in and around Springfield, Missouri. That is a key finding of a four-month investigation of the controversial industry by the Better Business Bureau.
Southwest Missouri has a large number of timeshares due to its proximity to Branson, a popular vacation destination. The BBB study reports more than 350 consumer complaints against 10 of the most active Springfield-area timeshare exit businesses between Jan. 1, 2017 and Mar. 1, 2019.
Clients of those businesses said they paid out more than $2.2 million for timeshare relief work that was either never done or never completed. For consumers wanting to get out of a timeshare contract, BBB advises they first reach out to the timeshare operators who own or manage their timeshare to see if the business offers a deed-back or exit program. If such a program is not available consider consulting with an attorney for advice.
While BBB generally discourages hiring a third party to negotiate timeshare relief, consumers who go that route should be very careful in selecting and negotiating timeshare exit contracts. If a consumer decides to contract with a third party for timeshare relief, beware of making upfront payments for the work. Ask if they will put the money in an escrow account until the exit company makes good on its promises.