Timeshare Termination Team: A Cautionary Tale

Timeshare Termination Team: man leaving the closed company with his things

Most timeshare owners know the downsides of their units. Endless maintenance fees, inconvenient vacation plans, and even extra mortgages can be part of the timeshare experience. Lots of companies that understand this phenomenon have appeared and advertised themselves as timeshare cancellation or exit companies freeing owners from their timeshare contracts.

Not all exit companies, however, are created equal. On one end of the spectrum are companies like Centerstone Group, which has accreditation by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and an excellent rating on the BBB website, along with many positive customer reviews.

Then, there are less reputable companies. These companies, like the F-rated and legally troubled Timeshare Exit Team, take money from desperate timeshare owners without providing the necessary services and support. Sometimes they even leave owners in worse legal trouble than they had before the so-called “exit strategy.”

Another troubled company that recently and suddenly shut its doors is Timeshare Termination Team. In June of 2021, the Denver-area company shocked its customers, and even its own employees, when it ceased doing business and stopped communicating with the customers that had signed expensive contracts and paid them to help with their timeshare exits.

Stories like Timeshare Termination Team’s can be hard to hear. But they underscore the need for timeshare owners to do their homework and make sure that any exit company they hire is qualified to do the work. They also need assurances that a timeshare company won’t leave them high and dry.

This article will take a closer look at the Timeshare Termination Team fiasco as well as some potential red flags that might have alerted owners to the problem before the company failed. We’ll also examine better practices for timeshare exit companies so that you can have the best possible information when you are making your own decision about which company to hire.

What Happened With Timeshare Termination Team?

Timeshare Termination Team: stressed woman reading documents

Timeshare Termination Team (“TTT”) was set up in Greenwood Village, Colorado, in 2011. It was owned and managed by a husband and wife team, Brian Wilbur and Holly Wilbur. For a time, it appears that Timeshare Termination Team operated as a legitimate business in Colorado, and the BBB reviews from 2019 (the earliest available) are more positive than negative.

According to the BBB reviews, TTT advertised a “money-back guarantee” if they did not get their customers the promised timeshare exit. As of the time this article was written, however, TTT’s website (https://timeshareterminationteam.com/) does not allow public access.

There were problems brewing for TTT, though, that were also a matter of public record. In early 2021, TTT and its affiliated marketing entity, Vindaloo Travel Network LLC, were sued by a large developer in federal court in Miami, Florida. 

That developer, Bluegreen Vacations, alleged in its lawsuit that TTT and Vindaloo were falsely advertising the ability to break Bluegreen unit owners’ contracts. Bluegreen’s complaint also alleged that TTT and its affiliates were inducing owners to divert payments from Bluegreen, causing legal damage (e.g., lost money) to both Bluegreen and the owners.

In June of 2021, TTT had lost multiple legal motions before the Miami federal court. Shortly thereafter, TTT shut down its business and closed its office in Colorado. When it did, it left scores of its clients — many of whom had paid TTT thousands of dollars — in the cold with no way of getting a refund or their promised timeshare exit.

Signs That a Timeshare Exit Company Won’t Do Its Job

Red flags in a row

What happened to TTT’s customers is terrible. They had already been victimized once by a high-pressure sales process and steadily increasing fees and assessments from timeshare resorts. Then, they were hurt again when they lost money paid to TTT. We feel for those owners, but you can learn from their experiences, which reveals red flags for any exit company.

Red Flag #1: Telling Owners Not to Pay Fees or Assessments

According to the Miami lawsuit, TTT told its customers to stop paying money to the timeshare developers. Presumably, this advice was given to make the developers think twice about refusing to negotiate with owners to take timeshare units back.

Any company, however, that instructs a timeshare owner to stop paying fees and assessments to a timeshare resort is giving that owner very bad advice in the best-case scenario. In the worst case, telling an owner to stop paying fees may be some kind of scam.

Failure to keep up with payments will just cause owners more legal headaches, including foreclosure. Even worse, if you owe money to a timeshare company, they can get deficiency judgments against you. Once they have a judgment, they can put a lien on your other property, like your home or business, and sell that property to pay themselves.

At the other end of the spectrum, Centerstone Group will often transfer units to a receiver in order to ensure payments to developers. That way, none of those bad results will come about for our clients.

Simply put, if an exit company tells you to just stop paying your fees, assessments, and/or mortgage payments to a timeshare resort, that is a sign that the company you are working with may not be the best choice.

Red Flag #2: Not Offering a Way to Get Your Money Back

Whether or not a company charges an upfront fee, a money-back guarantee can give you a lot of comfort. It’s very easy to say the words “money-back guarantee.” It’s quite a bit harder to actually follow up on that promise. When a company offers you a money-back guarantee, it’s always helpful to pause and think, “How would I actually get my money back, if it came to that?”

Some companies, like Centerstone Group, offer an escrow option. In other words, you put a payment into a neutral third-party account, and that money is only released to the exit company after it has done its job. That way, if the company fails to follow through, you know where your money is and have a better chance of getting it back.

Escrows are not the only way to ensure a money-back guarantee, of course. But the point is that if your timeshare exit company can’t answer this very basic question, you are putting yourself and your money at risk.

As an aside, keep in mind that no matter who your exit company is, attorneys do not generally offer money-back guarantees, and so any money paid to them is generally unrecoverable. You may have seen television advertisements for lawyers with contingency fees (e.g., “We don’t get paid unless you win!”), but that is not at all typical in this area of law.

Red Flag #3: Frequent Litigation

Pen on top of a lawsuit document

Of course, not all companies or people that get sued have done something wrong. To the contrary, good folks are involved in court all the time. So you shouldn’t avoid a timeshare exit company just because they have been involved in a court case. 

But if you are looking at whether to use a given timeshare exit company, you might want to pay attention to, one, how many lawsuits the company has been involved in and, two, what it was doing in those lawsuits.

For example, if you see that numerous customers or vendors have sued the company for not paying them, that is an excellent reason to stay away. Furthermore, if the company has engaged in repeated, frequent, or frivolous litigation, it may be a sign that this particular company is one you don’t want to work with.

Keep in mind that, in most cases, lawsuits generate publicly available documents outlining both allegations against companies as well as evidence uncovered in those lawsuits. If you find that a company is involved in a lawsuit, some more digging can give you insight into the problems with that company.

Even if pending cases don’t conclusively show that an exit company has done anything wrong, heavy-handed litigation by rich timeshare developers may result in multiple lawsuits being filed against a company. In some cases, this may result in a company being litigated into bankruptcy. Therefore, numerous excessive lawsuits against any company can also be a cause for concern.

Make an Informed Decision

If you own a timeshare, you have probably learned through experience that it can be very tough to make sound, informed decisions. Though you can never be 100% about anything at the beginning, it helps to look at all of the relevant signs and ask whether they indicate a company that will help you or make your problem worse.

For its part, Centerstone Group is a company that has workers with decades of experience in the timeshare industry. We are also a BBB-accredited business with a great rating and a collection of stellar reviews. If you are looking at timeshare exit companies, please contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation.

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