One of those companies that says they help people to get out from their timeshare has ended a suit against them on the verge of a jury trial. Reed Hein & Associates does business as Time Share Exit Team.
Court documents filed by Westgate Resorts, Westgate Vacation Villas, Westgate Lakes, Westgate GV at the Woods, Westgate Towers, Westgate Flamingo Bay, Westgate Myrtle Beach, Westgate Palace, Westgate Vacation Villas Owners Association, Westgate Lakes Owners Association, Westgate Towers Owners Association, Westgate Town Center Owners Association, Westgate Towers North Owners Association, Westgate River Ranch Owners Association, Westgate Palace Owners Association, Westgate Flamingo Bay Las Vegas Owners Association, Westgate Historic Williamsburg Owners Association, Westgate Park City Resort & Spa, Westgate Myrtle Beach Ocean Front Owners Association, Cedar Ridge at the Woods Condominium Owners Association, Westgate Branson Woods Owners Association, Grand Vista at Emerald Point Condominium Owners Association, Painted Mountain Golf Villas Condominium Association, Westgate GV at Emerald Pointe, Westgate GV at Painted Mountain, and Westgate Las Vegas Resort alleged the following:
Westgate is in the business of developing, financing, managing, and selling timeshare resort properties throughout the United States, including in Florida. Westgate is the world’s largest privately-held timeshare company and one of the largest resort developers in the United States. Westgate has twenty-seven timeshare resorts located in a variety of high-destination tourism markets and is supported by some 6,000 employees. Westgate also offers
financing to purchasers of Westgate timeshare interests and is the holder of promissory notes and mortgages extended to owners.
Defendants Brandon Reed (“Reed”), Trevor Hein (“Hein”), and Thomas Parenteau (“Parenteau”) control and dominate Defendant Reed Hein & Associates LLC d/b/a Timeshare Exit Team (“TET”) and serve as driving, integral figures in TET’s scheme described herein. Through TET’s promises on its websites and myriad paid celebrity endorsements from the likes of Glenn Beck, Steve Harvey, and Dave Ramsey, Reed, Hein, and Parenteau make false and misleading promises purporting to operate a “consumer protection group” offering a “100% guarantee” to relieve timeshare owners of their obligations, including owners of Westgate timeshare interests. If TET is unsuccessful in canceling an owners timeshare interest, TET promises to return their money.
However, TET – which is not a law firm is not providing redress to owners in situations in which a timeshare company, resort, or developer such as Westgate has done something illegal. Rather, TET simply redirects to TET the money the owners would otherwise pay for their annual maintenance, taxes, or mortgage payments to their timeshare company, resort, or developer.
Westgate Was Unhappy and Now So Was Timeshare Exit Team
On the verge of a jury trial, the parties found a way to resolve their dispute through a settlement that resulted in a Stipulated Final Permanent Injunction Order.
Timeshare Exit Team (TET) and the other named Defendants agreed to the following.
It is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the TET Defendants, individually and/or through its agents and employees, and all other persons or entities acting on their behalf, at their direction and/or in active participation and/or in concert with them, whether currently known or subsequently identified, shall be and agree to be PERMANENTLY RESTRAINED AND ENJOINED from, directly or indirectly, engaging in the following (“Prohibited Activities”) concerning Westgate or Westgate Owners:
a. Advising or inducing any Westgate Owner to stop paying or to breach any financial obligation associated with a Westgate Interest, including without limitation any timeshare contract, loan, mortgage, or maintenance fees.
b. Assisting any other person or entity in making any statement, directly or by implication, that directs, encourages, or induces a Westgate Owner to stop making any payment related to their Westgate Interest;
c. Engaging in any services provided by a TPE, as defined herein, for a Westgate Owner in relation to his or her Westgate Interest, including without limitation, impersonating a Westgate owner or advising or coaching a Westgate owner with regard to correspondence sent to Westgate or a regulatory or governmental agency concerning the termination of any such Westgate Interest;
d. Offering any product or service to a Westgate Owner in relation to his or her Westgate Interest;
e. Referring any Westgate Owner to a TPE in connection with a Westgate Interest;
f. Referring any Westgate Owner that is not an existing customer of the TET Defendants to any third-party credit repair organization;
g. Transmitting, communicating, or selling Westgate Owner leads, information, records to any person or entity acting as TPE; and
h. Mentioning, using or referring in any way to Westgate or to this settlement, including without limitation the fact of this settlement or the exit of Westgate Owners in any advertising, marketing materials, sales presentation, website, social media or any materials disseminated to the public.”
The Agreement Allows Timeshare Exit Team to Keep Doing This
“Notwithstanding the foregoing Prohibited Activities, nothing herein is intended to prohibit TET from:
a. Engaging in any conduct or activity in relation to a timeshare interest other than a Westgate Interest, or timeshare owner other than a Westgate Owner;
b. Engaging in conduct or activity in relation to any Westgate Owner or Westgate Interest that is party to or subject of an agreement with TET prior to the entry of this Injunction Order as permitted in the Confidential Settlement Agreement.
But Others Have Sued Timeshare Exit Team as Well
I’m not sure where this leaves consumers. At the very least, just exercise some due diligence and fully read and understand the client agreement you will be asked to sign with any company promising to be able to get you out of a timeshare agreement.
In the timeshare niche, I’ve seen all sorts of efforts that have ended badly. One of the past ways some promoted to be able to get you out of a timeshare deal was to claim they could help you find a buyer.
The Federal Trade Commission even put out this nifty infographic.
The FTC even has a page on Timeshares, Vacation Clubs, and Related Scams.
I hate to state the obvious but the best way to get out of a timeshare is to not get into it in the first place.