Why Your Timeshare Exit May Be Delayed Amid COVID-19

While they typically signify relaxation and an escape from everyday life, timeshares are unfortunately another aspect of life that COVID-19 has threatened. For most, travel is not an option, whether due to fear of exposure to the virus, restrictions around out-of-state travel, or financial inflexibility.

For timeshare owners, this means either continuing to make payments on an unused timeshare or putting yourself at risk of getting sick.

If you’re in the process of exiting your timeshare with us, we know you’re eager to get it off your hands. The good news is: We’re working on it and are dedicated to getting you to the day you can say you’re timeshare free. The bad news? Like most other things happening right now, it may be delayed due to COVID-19. Here’s why:

Backlogs and missed time
If your timeshare is “deeded”, that documentation is officially filed with the county record office. Following the sudden shutdown in March, county record offices slowly went back to work many months later and were met with a massive backlog of documents needing to be filed. Typically, records are filed in chronological order, but with the backlog, recorders may be filing more urgent documents first.

We’ve seen extreme delays in Florida, for example, a huge timeshare destination. In a few cases, we’ve had county clerks inform Timeshare Exit Team that documents are delayed or waiting to be filed, but that it could be “another six months to a year” before they can get to them. Additionally, some of these smaller counties do not utilize online verification access platforms and so the only way to verify the details of the actual recording of the deed, which is what tells us your exit is finalized, is via phone calls where hold times can be anywhere from 1-4 hours and often result in a “we’ll have to get back to you” response. Rest assured, we are making these calls and will get the answers and verification that is needed for your exit.

Shortened staff and reduced hours
Like most businesses in the travel industry, most timeshare developers were forced to make major cutbacks and layoffs, leaving offices short-staffed and customer service functions diminished.

For example, InterContinental Hotels (owner of Holiday Inn) cut 10% of its corporate staff this August. With less personnel to keep things moving, the exit process lags. Holiday Inn’s Orange Lake Resorts set up a hotline for over 1,100 timeshare owners, promising to address their questions and concerns. But, the call line is severely understaffed.

Another reason for the delay is the reduced capacity of the U.S. Post Office. There are situations where physical documents must be exchanged for an exit to take place. If documents get delayed in the mail, the process is further postponed. At our office, we’ve had numerous documents postmarked in April arriving to our office in mid-June, accounting for nearly two months of lost time.

Developer Pushback
The COVID-19 pandemic decimated the travel industry. Many developers depend on these travelers to sell more and more timeshare points. Highly reduced visitors equate to highly reduced revenues. Feeling this pressure, the developers push back even more on exits.

Committed to You
Despite these setbacks, we can assure you that Timeshare Exit Team is seeking ways to mitigate delays wherever possible and hustling internally to get you out.

We understand and we share your frustration, and we are sorry. The exit process takes a long time under normal conditions. Now with additional bureaucratic red tape, we’re finding timelines being extended further. Our promise to you is that we will not stop working on your behalf until your timeshare is successfully exited.

We appreciate your patience and welcome your concerns. If you have a question about your exit, feel free to reach us at wecare@reedhein.com.