CLEVELAND — After the pandemic, so many people are looking to travel, but some want to put an end to their vacation contracts. They are timeshare owners, and for one local couple, it’s been a nightmare trying to get out of their timeshare as it’s become too expensive to maintain. Here’s a 5 On Your Side warning about one company that promises to help you.
“When it was all said and done, I guess we jumped in just like everybody else and ended up with a timeshare,” said Chuck McFarren from Massillon. He is like many people who have purchased a timeshare while on vacation.
“You could go from your room and go through the shopping center and shop ’til you drop,” he said, explaining one of the advantages of the timeshare.
He’s used the Las Vegas timeshare for about a dozen years, but the maintenance fees are now $1,000 a year.
“You could stay (in Vegas) for half of what we’re paying in just maintenance fees,” said McFarren.
COUPLE TRIED TO SELL IT
He attempted to get rid of the timeshare.
“We did try to sell it way, way back,” said McFarren. “And that’s like selling COVID-19. Nobody wants it.”
Then, in March of last year, there was an ad in the newspaper for a seminar at an Akron hotel. It was put on by Omni Ellis, a company that says it can get you out of your timeshare or your money back.
“And they called me a few different times, and they got down to a price that I thought, ‘Gee, this sounds pretty good,’” said McFarren. So, he told us he paid Omni Ellis nearly $3,300. However, today he’s frustrated. “We’re 14 months into this thing, and we don’t appear to be any further along than when we were almost when we started,” he told us.
He said he’s called the company numerous times, but there’s been little communication back.
“You might as well talk to the wall,” said McFarren.
BBB GIVES COMPANY F-RATING
“They had a multitude of complaints, a patter of complaints,” said Sue McConnell, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland. The BBB has an alert on the company and gives it an F rating. And if that’s not bad enough, on the Omni Ellis website, it claims it is BBB Accredited, but when you click on that button on the bottom of the company’s site, you are linked to the BBB’s site that clearly shows it is not accredited.
We contacted Omni Ellis several times asking for an interview and information. We never got a response. Its site says it has “amazing support (and) service," and it puts “clients’ concerns ahead of (their) own.”
“All my experiences so far with that company have been terrible,” said McFarren.
ADVICE REGARDING YOUR TIMESHARE
So, before using any timeshare-exit company, McConnell had these suggestions.
“Read that contract very carefully," she said. "If you can, have an attorney look at it before your sign it. Understand any refund policy that exists.” She said do your homework on the company by doing your own research online.
McFarren wishes he had done some more of that before giving Omni Ellis all that money.
“There’s no one to talk to so you don’t have a clue what’s going on,” McFarren said.