A timeshare can seem like a great investment and way to get a guaranteed vacation home each year. But for many timeshare buyers, what should be a vacation dream often turns into a vacation nightmare. Timeshare exit companies, like Timeshare Exit Team, promise to help get owners out of their contracts.
But do they uphold their promises or are they, like timeshares themselves, too good to be true? Take a closer look at what Timeshare Exit Team does to find out the truth.
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What is Timeshare Exit Team?
Timeshare Exit Team states that its mission is to help people get freedom from their unwanted timeshares. The company began in 2012 and claims to have helped more than 22,000 people exit their timeshares since then. Based in Washington, it has office locations across the U.S. and one in Canada.
Brandon Reed, the company’s CEO, founded it after going through what he describes as a harrowing experience trying to get rid of his own timeshare. After realizing that the cost of his timeshare didn’t work with his budget or lifestyle, he researched ways to sell or exit his timeshare but came up short.
He started the company hoping to offer other frustrated timeshare owners an easier way to get out of their timeshares. At the start, Reed and his business partner founded the company as ReedHein & Associates, LLC, which makes it sound like it’s a law firm.
It’s important to understand that no one associated with ReedHein & Associates, LLC or Timeshare Exit Team (The company’s “doing business as” name) is an attorney. The company doesn’t provide legal advice and won’t sue timeshare companies on behalf of its clients.
It does note that it will refer clients to attorneys if it believes that legal action is in the best interest of a customer.
Timeshare Exit Team claims to have a high rate of success. It’s confident enough in its ability to get clients out of their timeshares that it claims to offer refunds to customers who don’t succeed. The refunds are for the amount of the exit fee, minus any expenses incurred by the company.
How Timeshare Exit Team Works
Timeshare Exit Team’s process starts with a free consultation. A person who wants to get out of their timeshare contacts the company and is connected with an “exit specialist.” Depending on the individual’s location, their interaction with the timeshare exit company can be in person or online.
During the consultation, an exit specialist will review the potential customer’s situation. Clients who are interested in working with Timeshare Exit Team are encouraged to bring the following to their consultation:
- The amount they owe
- The timeshare contract
- The timeshare deed
- Paperwork for upgrades or additional purchases
- Maintenance fee statements
- Photo identification
The consultation typically takes about one hour and 45 minutes. At the end of it, the potential customer will learn if working with Timeshare Exit Team is a viable option and the exit strategy the company recommends for them. They’ll also find out the expected cost of working with the company.
Timeshare Exit Team is notably vague about what it does to help customers get out of their timeshares. It mentions providing each customer with a team of timeshare exit specialists who will take on the stress of getting out of the timeshare for the customer.
The company doesn’t describe what sort of efforts it makes, such as writing letters or making phone calls, or if a client is capable of taking those actions on their own.
On its website, the company lists three options for getting out of a timeshare. They include exercising the right of rescission, which is the right a consumer has to cancel a loan. One thing to understand about the right of rescission is that it’s only valid for three business days after a transaction. For most timeshare owners, it’s far too late to rescind.
The second exit strategy is to sell the timeshare. Timeshares are notoriously difficult to sell if an owner wants to actually recoup any money, though. There are way more timeshares out there than there are people who want to buy one. People who are interested in buying a timeshare can often find them for sale for $1 or on sites like eBay.
The third option suggested by Timeshare Exit Team is to contact it to learn more about its exit options.
Timeshare Exit Team Pricing
Timeshare Exit Team is pretty upfront in noting that the exact price for its services will vary based on a client’s unique situation. It doesn’t provide a range of pricing on its website and notes that it doesn’t have a fee structure because there is so much variation.
People who are interested in learning more about how much it will cost them to work with Timeshare Exit Team are encouraged to contact the company for more information.
Although the company doesn’t offer much guidance about its price, a look at the reviews of and complaints filed against it gives a general idea of how much its services costs. Current and past clients note that they paid the business several thousand dollars, often upfront, to work with it.
Some timeshare exit companies offer clients an escrow option, meaning that the fees paid by clients are held by a third party. The fees are kept in escrow until the company does what it promised to do. In this case, that would be getting a client out of their timeshare.
Timeshare Exit Company doesn’t appear to offer escrow. It gets the money from clients right away.
It does claim to have a refund policy, though.
But a closer look at the policy suggests that it might not be as good as it seems. The company will refund a client’s money, minus expenses if it can’t get them out of their contract. There’s not much information about how much “expenses” end up costing.
Timeshare Exit Team Qualifications: Who does Timeshare Exit Team Work With?
Timeshare Exit Team is transparent about the fact that every timeshare owner’s situation is somewhat different. Its exit specialists review potential client’s circumstances during an initial consultation to determine if the company can help or not.
The company claims to be able to work with timeshare owners who have a mortgage on their properties and with those who don’t. It doesn’t specify which resorts its works with or if it only helps owners at certain resorts.
Online reviews can give you an idea of a company’s reputation and how current and past clients perceive its services. People have reviewed Timeshare Exit Team on the Better Business Bureau’s website, TrustPilot and Yelp.
Interestingly enough, the company has also received an endorsement from the personal finance author and talk show host Dave Ramsey.
When reading reviews of the company, it’s important to keep an eye out for anything that seems too good to be true or suspicious. If the company has mostly average or negative reviews on one site then a series of five-star reviews on another, take the five-star reviews with a grain of salt.
Better Business Bureau Rating of Timeshare Exit Team
A look at Timeshare Exit Team’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) page might cause any cautious timeshare owner to keep their distance.
The BBB has not accredited Timeshare Exit Team and, even worse, has given the company an “F” rating. The BBB lists the reasons for its rating as follows:
- There are more than 400 complaints against Timeshare Exit Team.
- Five complaints against the business are unresolved.
- The company hasn’t responded to six complaints against it.
The BBB has placed a “Pattern of Complaint” alert, dating from 2018, at the top of the page for Timeshare Exit Team. The alert notes that consumers claim the company doesn’t give enough updates about their cases and that it doesn’t offer the refund it claims to.
Despite the high volume of complaints against Timeshare Exit Team and the BBB alert and “F” rating, the company has an average customer rating of 4.21 stars out of five on the website.
Other Online Review Sites
Customer reviews of Timeshare Exit Team on other websites are less rosy than on the BBB’s site. At Trustpilot, the company has an average rating of 2.5 stars out of five.
The negative reviews of the company note that the refund policy doesn’t actually refund their money, that the work the company claims to do didn’t actually get rid of their timeshares, and the company actually does nothing at all for its clients.
On Yelp, the company has a two-star average rating, out of five. Some of the reviews on the site mention “lies and excuses” while others note that the company is largely unresponsive to questions and concerns.
Timeshare Exit Team also has an interesting history with Dave Ramsey, an author and talk show host who is known for his strong opinions about personal finance and debt. Ramsey has been critical of the timeshare industry and at one point had Timeshare Exit Team on as an advertising partner.
Ramsey endorsed the company on his radio show, telling his listeners that it was the only company he knew of that would help them get out of their timeshare contracts. Several of his listeners who decided to work with the company based on the recommendation later reported to Inside Edition that they were out thousands of dollars and still stuck with their timeshares, years later.
Between the low star ratings on Yelp and Trustpilot, the BBB’s warning and the cautionary tales on Inside Edition, it seems that it might be in the best interests of timeshare owners to tread cautiously when considering working with Timeshare Exit Team. If you decide to work with Timeshare Exit Team, read any documents and contracts provided by the company closely before you sign or hand over any payments.
Timeshare Exit Team Lawsuits
In February 2020, Bob Ferguson, the Attorney General of Washington State, filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Reed Hein Associates, DBA Timeshare Exit Team. The lawsuit alleged that the company, which has its headquarters in Bellevue, Washington, engaged in numerous deceptive or unfair business practices.
An issue at the heart of the lawsuit is that Timeshare Exit Team advertised a 100% money-back guarantee. The lawsuit noted that many of the company’s clients have been unable to get refunds. Either the company denied their refunds or the customers had to fight to get their money back.
According to the lawsuit, timeshare owners who end up in foreclosure won’t get their money back from Timeshare Exit Team, because the company views foreclosure as the client successfully exiting their timeshare. The lawsuit noted that customers are often not aware of those conditions when they agree to work with the timeshare exit company.
The lawsuit also accuses Reed Hein of several violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act and the Debt Adjusting Act. Washington state has rules that companies that offer to adjust or manage debt for consumers need to follow. The lawsuit alleges that Reed Hein didn’t follow the rules, despite the fact that the company works with people it promises to get out of mortgages.
Under the state’s Debt Adjusting Act, adjusters can only charge up to $25 as an initial fee and not more than 15% of the debt. Timeshare Exit Team allegedly charges up to 30% of a timeshare owner’s mortgage.
The lawsuit also calls the experience and knowledge of the company into question. As a result of Reed Hein’s lack of experience in exiting timeshares, Timeshare Exit Team’s clients can face unanticipated negative financial consequences, per the lawsuit.
So far, the company has contracted with 38,000 customers and more than 17,000 are still pending. More than 4,600 of the company’s contracts have been waiting to get out of their timeshares for more than three years.
Finally, the Washington State lawsuit alleges that Hein and Timeshare Exit Team violated the state’s consumer protection act by promising a 100% money-back guarantee and regularly denying refunds to consumers.
According to the lawsuit, Hein believes that if the timeshare ownership is terminated in any way while a client is working with Timeshare Exit Team, that counts as an exit and fulfills the term of the contract the client has with the company. For example, if the customer works with the timeshare company directly to terminate their ownership, Timeshare Exit Team considers that a win.
Diamond Resorts has also sued Timeshare Exit Team, allegedly that the company advises clients to simply stop paying their timeshare mortgage, leading to default or foreclosure, ultimately hurting the credit of its clients.
Who is a Good Fit for Timeshare Exit Team?
Timeshare Exit Team stresses the importance of a client being a good fit for the company but doesn’t outline the criteria used to determine eligibility. Instead, people interested in working with Timeshare Exit Team are encouraged to set up a consultation to discuss their situation with an exit specialist.
Pros and Cons of Timeshare Exit Team
If your timeshare is proving to be more of a financial burden than a relaxing way to enjoy an annual vacation, you might wonder if Timeshare Exit Team will truly help you escape the burden of your timeshare. Take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of working with the company.
- It’s Helped Thousands of People
- There’s a Money-Back Guarantee
- Its Founder Has Been Where You Are
It’s Helped Thousands of People
Timeshare Exit Team claims that its mission is to help people get emotional and financial freedom from unwanted timeshares. And for some of its clients, it seems to work. So far, the company claims it’s helped more than 22,000 get out of unwanted timeshares.
There’s a Money-Back Guarantee
Timeshare Exit Team does have a refund policy and may give clients their money back if it’s unable to get them out of their timeshare.
The money-back guarantee comes with several caveats, though. The company and the client might have different definitions of what it means to terminate a timeshare. Additionally, the company might expect a client to work with it for a set amount of time before the client can request a refund.
Its Founder Has Been Where You Are
In a video on the company’s website, founder and CEO Brandon Reed describes his experience owning a timeshare and the realization he had that he wasn’t getting more from being an owner than people who rented condos at vacation resorts got. He also describes wanting to get out of timeshare ownership when he realized the costs of it didn’t line up with his priorities or budget.
Since the founder has been where many of the company’s clients are, he can bring a unique insight into the services provided to clients.
- No Escrow
- High Fees
- Being Sued for Violating Consumer Protection Laws
- Results Might Not Be What You Want
- Vague Process
One sign of a reputable timeshare exit company is an escrow option. With escrow, anything clients pay to the company is held in a separate account. The company doesn’t get a client’s money until they provide results to you.
Escrow offers consumers peace of mind that the company needs to do what it claims it would do, or else it won’t get paid. Without it, consumers have little recourse if the company doesn’t get them out of their contract.
On top of not offering an escrow option, Timeshare Exit Team’s refund policy is questionable at best. Many clients have reported not getting their money back or having to jump through hoops to get it.
Notably, Timeshare Exit Team doesn’t publish its fees on its website. But the lawsuit filed against it by Washington State noted that it typically charges between $3,000 and $9,000. If consumers have a mortgage on their property, the company might charge up to 30% of the value of the mortgage.
Being Sued for Violating Consumer Protection Laws
The fact that the company is being sued by Washington State for violating consumer protection laws might be a giant red flag to potential clients. Anyone interested in working with the company should proceed with caution.
Results Might Not Be What You Want
Timeshare Exit Team’s definition of a successful result might not align with what a client thinks is a definition of a successful result. For example, many people would say that having their timeshare foreclosed on isn’t an ideal outcome. But for Timeshare Exit Team, it’s a sign that the company did its job.
How exactly does Timeshare Exit Team get people out of their timeshares? It’s not very clear. The company stresses that the process might be different for different clients but doesn’t provide much detail about what it does for the people who decide to work with it.
Final Verdict: Is Timeshare Exit Team a Legit Timeshare Exit Firm?
There are a lot of red flags surrounding Timeshare Exit Team, from the high number of BBB complaints, the number of negative online reviews and the lawsuit from Washington state.
Timeshare owners who want to get out of their contracts most likely have better options for doing so, from working with more reputable timeshare exit companies to contacting the timeshare developer directly.
People who want out of a timeshare have already spent thousands of dollars in maintenance fees and other expenses related to the vacation home. They shouldn’t have to sink a few more grand into working with a company that might or might not deliver on its promises.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who owns Timeshare Exit Team?
Timeshare Exit Team is owned by Reed Hein Associates. The company was founded by Brandon Reed and his business partner in 2012. Before starting a timeshare exit company, the business partners sold rain gutter systems.
Where is Timeshare Exit Team located?
The headquarters of Timeshare Exit Team are in Bellevue, Washington. It has branch offices across the U.S. and one in Canada.
How is Timeshare Exit Team rated online?
Timeshare Exit Team doesn’t have a good reputation online. Despite being endorsed by personal finance personality Dave Ramsey for several years, it has low rankings on Yelp and TrustPilot. The BBB has given it an F rating.
How long does Timeshare Exit Team’s process take?
The company claims the average process takes about 36 months.
Is Timeshare Exit Team worth it?
With no escrow option, high fees and a shaky money-back guarantee, Timeshare Exit Team isn’t worth it for most people. The process can take years if it succeeds at all. Some consumers have ended up with damaged credit as a result of working with the company.