Time Share Trouble

(WSVN) - Timeshares. A lot of people love them. A lot of people regret ever buying one, and getting rid of them can prove costly. That’s why one woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

It was 2001 when a divorced mother with two children decided a timeshare condo on Sunny Isles would be a good idea.

Gisele Cabrera, timeshare headache: “Affordable and also go to a family place that they can enjoy.”

Gisele paid $13,000 to use the timeshare one week each year.

As her children grew up, it was a good deal. In part because she could swap it out with other timeshare owners.

Gisele Cabrera: “We went to Palm Springs, California. Very nice. We went to Mexico, Puerto Vallarta.”

By 2019, Gisele had fully paid off the timeshare, and that $200 annual maintenance fee was now $350, but Gisele then got invited to a meeting about her timeshare and went.

Gisele Cabrera: “They start telling me about the maintenance fee is going up, up, up, and I was so afraid, like, I said, ‘Maybe I can’t afford that.'”

The salesman for the company that would help Gisele get rid of her timeshare had a solution.

Gisele Cabrera: “I have to pay them $4,000 to get rid of my timeshare that I already paid off? They said, ‘You don’t have to worry more about the maintenance fee.'”

The company would charge her $4,210 to help get rid of her timeshare, but their offer was only good for that day.

Gisele Cabrera: “And if I pass this chance in my life and after that, I’m gonna get more maintenance fee.”

Gisele said she was so worried, she hired the company, signing their paperwork that said it was legally binding contract and does not have a cancellation period. They then charged her credit card $4,210 dollars.

A couple of days later, Gisele said she realized she should not have agreed to the deal.

Gisele Cabrera: “Yes, it was a mistake.”

She left a voicemail with the salesman saying she did not want to get rid of her timeshare and wanted her $4,210 back.

Gisele Cabrera: “I said, ‘I am not agreeing with this decision that I did. I don’t wanna do it.'”

Gisele could keep her timeshare, but she was told since she had hired the company to try to get rid of it, she could not get her money back.

Gisele Cabrera: “They have to charge me $4,000 for nothing. I don’t think that is fair.”

Or does she have to pay the company, Howard, for a timeshare she did not get rid of?

Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “When you sign a contract that says you cannot cancel, you are out of luck. The fact that you feel like you were pressured into signing does not change the law, but because Gisele did not go through with the deal, and the company did not have to take certain steps, she can get that small amount of money back.”

We checked into VOI Consulting Group, who Gisele had signed the contract with. Online, their customers seem very satisfied.

VOI’s owner, Eduardo Balderas, told us they take great pride in their work. As for the $4,200 Gisele had paid, Balderas said they had spent money for their lawyer to draw up the paperwork, marketing, his salesman’s commission and merchant fees. There was still $1,592 left, and if Gisele wanted out of the deal, he would return that money to her.

Gisele Cabrera: “Yes, something is better than nothing.”

Timeshares can be complicated. Sadly, Gisele has learned just how complicated.

Gisele Cabrera: “I really appreciate all the time that you have taken, all the work that you have taken, and I imagine all the calls that you did to this company to get the money back — at least something.”

Glad we could get something for Gisele. Now, why would you pay someone to take your timeshare off your hands? Besides the maintenance fees, some people are just tired of their timeshare and want to get rid of it. If you want to out of a timeshare, be careful. Some exit companies are good, some are not.

Go online and research them, and also, contact the company you bought the timeshare from. Some might take it off your hands.

Got a problem that’s high maintenance? Got time to share it? Contact us. Hopefully working with us will be like a week at the beach.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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