Investigation finds timeshare exit companies scamming customers

Timeshare exit company scams

Last Updated Jun 6, 2019 11:52 AM EDT

Susanne and Ernest Jansson enjoyed their vacation timeshare near the beaches and boardwalks of the New Jersey shore for 14 years. But when the annual maintenance more than doubled to $1,500 a year, they could no longer afford it. 

"It got to be too expensive. Ernie and I are really senior citizens," Susanne Jansson said.

They received a flier in the mail from Vacation Consulting Services, offering them a free dinner and a way out.

"The salesman was charming," Susanne said.
 
The Janssons said they were offered a one time payment of $18,000 to get out of her timeshare contract.
 
"I don't know why that was appealing," Susanne said.

Time sharing vacation units is now a $9.6 billion industry. In a first of its kind investigation, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) discovered 10 timeshare exit companies in Missouri scamming consumers across the country.

The BBB's Michelle Corey said since 2016, timeshare owners in 46 states filed more than 700 complaints reporting millions of dollars in losses.
 
"Timeshares were booming back in the 1970's and 80's and now these people are on fixed incomes and can't afford them," Corey said.

The Janssons are on a fixed income. They put the $18,000 charge on two credit cards. But after six months of payments, nothing has happened.

The BBB said people should work directly with their timeshare company to get out of a contract. The Janssons are doing that now but are still on the hook for the $18,000.


Update: Vacation Consulting Services responded to CBS News after this story aired and disputed some of the claims made by the Janssons. VCS said the couple requested a delay in the transfer of the timeshare and have only had two months to work on it. VCS also claims they have tried to contact the couple multiple times. In a follow-up conversation, the Janssons said they have not been contacted multiple times.