BELLEVUE, Wash., April 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Amid a pandemic that has drastically changed the lives of millions of Americans in just weeks, Timeshare Exit Team is reaching out directly to Jason Gamel, CEO and President of the American Resort Development Association, with a proposal to work together on finding a fast path out for owners who need relief from their timeshare contracts.
Dear Mr. Gamel,
Three years ago, I had the opportunity to have breakfast with you while you were the general counsel for Wyndham Resorts. Although we were on separate sides of the fence – with your team selling timeshares, and mine exiting people from their timeshares – I believe we shared a common interest in helping timeshare owners. You even suggested that we may be able to work together to find a path out for timeshare owners, "if we could just leave attorneys out of it."
I'll tell you now what I told you then – "yes." Right now, Americans are facing an unprecedented crisis unlike any other we've seen in our lifetime. Many have lost loved ones, while others are faced with medical or financial hardships. They have also lost their freedom to travel, including their ability to use their timeshare. The need for consumers to exit their timeshares is more relevant now than ever, yet their ability to exit is stifled by the red tape put up by the timeshare industry.
This leads me to a Resort Trades feature that ran on April 8th, in which you discuss how the timeshare industry is grappling with the COVID-19 crisis. I see your comments about private investors and asset-backed securities. I also see your comments about the well-being of timeshare companies and stakeholders. But I see nothing, absolutely nothing, about helping consumers whose lives have been forever changed by the pandemic.
One comment in particular that caught me off-guard was "It may be time to find a different consumer or create a different product. It may be that we come out of this as 'our best selves'." What does "find a different consumer" mean exactly? Move on from the older and more financially vulnerable Americans who have so often shared horror stories about feeling trapped in their timeshare we've seen and now are being hit so hard during this crisis? More importantly, why is there even a discussion about finding new consumers when so many of your current customers need help right now?
If the timeshare industry wants to come out of this crisis as their "best selves," then they should consider lending a hand to the countless Americans who are struggling to put dinner on their table and pay their medical bills due to the timeshare they feel trapped in, or the maintenance fees they're still being forced to pay.
For the past eight years, we've had our battles with your industry, but we are willing to put that aside and work alongside you to help our customers – who are also your customers – in a time when they need it most.
Specifically, there are a few ways your industry can help timeshare owners in distress, right now:
- Give timeshare owners a one-year hiatus on all maintenance fees. If they can't safely use the property, please do not charge them for it.
- Work with us to help both your customers and our customers, by providing Responsible Exits for all timeshare owners facing a hardship, whether medical, financial or other.
- All paid-in-full timeshares should be able to be transferred back to the resort at no cost.
- Resorts must establish a mortgage forgiveness program. The average timeshare this past year was sold for more than $20,000. At the typical interest rate of 17%, that's almost $350 per month that many of these owners can no longer afford.
In return, and in good faith, we will work with you; no attorneys, no third parties. Our exit specialists will make sure the paperwork is in order and walk customers through the process with your team to ensure a positive customer experience is delivered.
Now is the time for a consolidated effort to help those who need it most. If timeshare developers really want to demonstrate their "best selves," they should lend a hand.
CEO, Timeshare Exit Team
About Timeshare Exit Team
Timeshare Exit Team is the industry leader in helping people exit their unwanted timeshares. Understanding this hardship, Timeshare Exit Team started in 2012 with one goal in mind: help consumers find financial and emotional freedom from their timeshare situation. To date, it has helped more than 20,000 timeshare owners exit their timeshare contracts. For more information, please visit https://timeshareexitteam.com.
SOURCE Timeshare Exit Team