Couple Loses $40,000 in Timeshare Exit Scam

Scam companies are unfortunately common in the timeshare industry, and we are seeing more and more people being tricked out of their money. Many people want to exit their timeshare contracts because they can no longer afford the fees or are not happy with their resort or location anymore. But, exiting a timeshare contract is hard, so when they are offered quick and easy help for a small fee from companies, many take it. But, these timeshare exit schemes are often a scam and can trick people out of lots of money.

One couple from America were scammed out of $40,000 after they were promised help to exit their timeshare agreement for a resort in Mexico. It’s stories like this that should deter people from scam companies and help them learn how to contact the right businesses who can support a legal extraction from a contract. Read on to learn more about this specific scam company and how they trapped people, and how you can watch out in the future.

What Happened

Recently, a timeshare exit scam company cost one couple $40,000 of their life savings after they claimed they could help them exit their unwanted timeshare. They told the couple they had a buyer lined up to purchase their timeshare when instead they just wanted to scam them out of their money. Now, the Better Business Bureau of Greater Cleveland (BBB) is warning consumers about scam companies like this. It’s not the first time we’ve seen scam companies try to make money from vulnerable timeshare owners, and it won’t be the last. 

The Timeshare Exit Scam

The scam was first reported to the BBB Clevlant by a Californian couple who were approached by a broker claiming to represent High Planes Equity, a Denver-based company. The broker said he could sell their timeshare in Mexico, claiming to have a buyer lined up. The broker the couple were conversing with insisted on transferring the transaction to an escrow firm called St. Mary’s Financial Escrow, but when BBB Cleveland investigated, they found no building listed at the address the agent gave. But, when the couple transferred the money to the escrow company, the agent kept asking for more and more fees despite an initial claim that an upfront fee would not be required. Over time, the fees totalled to a massive $40,000 from this couple’s life savings, leaving them heartbroken when it was revealed this was a scam company.

Other Reports

There was another report of a consumer in New York who was scammed out of $11,000 after she was approached to sell her timeshare in Mexico. St Mary’s Escrow promised to give her a refund in March 2019, but she never received any money. 

The BBB Cleveland reported that multiple consumers who were scammed by St Mary’s Escrow said that transferring the transaction to the escrow seemed ‘normal’ and not like a scam. Many of the consumers were contacted by various timeshare exit firms but were all transferred to St Mary’s Escrow in Cleveland. The BBB believed that this was done to add a sense of legitimacy to the transaction to help gain the trust of more victims.

What to Look Out For

If you are looking to exit your timeshare contract, there are a few things you should look out for when searching for an agency to help you. More often than not, a legitimate and credible timeshare exit company will not try and contact you with cold calling. Cold calling is when you receive a phone call from a company trying to sell you something. It is a tactic of scam companies who hope to trick vulnerable people into purchasing products or services off them, most likely without delivering on their promises. A legitimate company will often wait for you to make initial contact.

Secondly, St Mary’s Escrow was asking for initial transactions of money and other fees to help cover the cost of selling their victim’s timeshare. This is another tactic of scam companies as a credible business will often work on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, to help protect their client’s money. Companies who ask for an upfront fee should be considered with caution and investigated before you sign any contracts.

Check out our website today to learn more about our services and how we can help you exit an unwanted timeshare agreement. We work legally and for your benefit, making sure you are less stressful and financially free again when you exit your contract.