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Timeshare Relief
Timeshare Relief or Regret

Do you need a timeshare recovery program?

With the recent crackdown on timeshare resellers, self-proclaimed timeshare advocates or recovery firms are ready to fill the void. These newly formed businesses claim they can recover the money you paid to slick marketers who promised to sell your timeshare but never delivered a buyer. Do these firms really earn their fee or is it just another way to profit from unhappy timeshare owners?

The BBB has found that most "timeshare advocate" and recovery firms sell self-help information; often in the form of demand letters that you send to the offending timeshare resale company in an attempt recover your fees. While some of these advocates claim to have an attorney on stand-by, don't be fooled into believing that you are receiving legal representation. While the form letter may have been drafted by an attorney, the company's salespeople are quick to mention that they aren't giving you legal advice.

While the advocates may claim a success rate or guaranteed results, the resale listing company probably did as well. In this case, after paying a hefty up-front fee you may be required to do most of the work yourself.

Many timeshare resale firms are no longer in business. While some were closed down for illegal practices others reorganized and continue to prey on timeshare owners with a new name and pitch.

Claims that you may be able to recover the fees you paid are often false. While some government agencies and consumer organizations help people who have lost money, they do not charge a fee. Nor do they guarantee to get your money back, or give special preference to anyone who files a formal complaint.

If you have lost money to a timeshare resale or timeshare marketing company and have been contacted by someone offering to recover your fees, the BBB offers these tips:

* Ask the company what service they are providing and who will be performing the work.
* Ask the company how it measures its success rate.
* If the company offers a money back guarantee, ask for a written copy. Some companies will deny a refund if you didn't follow their plan exactly.
* Beware of businesses that claim credit for closing down fraudulent companies or claim affiliation with government agencies.

Contact the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org), state Attorney General's office, and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the company is located to find out if complaints have been lodged against the company.

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