In a press release, Timeshare Exit Team described the company’s settlement agreement with Orange Lake Country Club as a “major win for consumers.”
In a pleading filed with the King County Superior Court in Seattle, the company’s lawyers bragged that the Orange Lake case was “another huge win for consumers, thanks to Reed Hein.”
Readers of this blog know the truth: The Orange Lake case was a humiliating loss for Timeshare Exit Team. The company threw in the towel only days before jury trial was scheduled to begin — agreeing to pay $750,000.00 to a major timeshare developer.
To a timeshare developer!
What About the Clients?
In a blog post published on May 24, 2020, we asked the following question:
On the day of settlement, Timeshare Exit Team and Brandon Reed had lawyers at the negotiation table who were working to protect their interests.
Who was the lawyer at the table protecting the interests of the people who owned an Orange Lake timeshare and who had turned to Timeshare Exit Team for help?
Now, we know the answer: No one.
As part of the settlement, Orange Lake hadn’t agreed to reduce the liability of a single Timeshare Exit Team client by a single penny.
Paragraph 2 of the settlement agreement states bluntly: “Orange Lake’s release of Reed Hein does not include any claims Orange Lake may have against the individual owners of timeshare accounts.”
Orange Lake had waived its claims only against Brandon Reed, Trevor Hein, and Timeshare Exit Team. The settlement did nothing to reduce or eliminate Orange Lake’s potential claims against Timeshare Exit Team clients.
What About the Exits?
The press release and the court filing had both proclaimed that Reed Hein had secured “timeshare exits” for more than one thousand clients.
In reality, Orange Lake agreed to stop bullying Reed Hein clients. Orange Lake had an established practice of treating Reed Hein clients more harshly than other customers. Orange Lake agreed to stop that practice.
Paragraph 5 of the settlement agreement states: “Orange Lake will remove special handling procedures otherwise applicable to the accounts of qualified timeshare owners that have been implemented due to their status as Reed Hein customers.”
Orange Lake Timeshare Owners
Consider a hypothetical Timeshare Exit Team customer who owns an Orange Lake timeshare. A married couple in their early fifties, they bought an Orange Lake timeshare in 2016 for twenty thousand dollars. They pay a mortgage of $400 per month and maintenance fees of $1,200 per year.
They signed up with Timeshare Exit Team in July 2018. They paid the company $9,000. The sales agent told them that the company has a “proprietary timeshare-exit process” that would terminate their timeshare obligations safely and legally. Because the couple understood themselves to own the timeshare until the process was complete, they continued making timely payments.
What has happened in the two years since July 2018?
The couple has made twenty-four monthly mortgage payments and two annual maintenance-fee payments. In total, they have made payments of $12,000 to Orange Lake Country Club. They made those payments on the advice of Timeshare Exit Team.
Having made those payments, the couple nonetheless renounced their right to use the vacation lodging for which they were paying — also on the advice of Timeshare Exit Team.
What did Timeshare Exit Team do with the $9,000 that the company received from the couple? Timeshare Exit Team used some portion of that money to (a) pay a settlement to Orange Lake, (b) pay for a press release trying to persuade the couple that the settlement represented a “major win for consumers,” and (c) pay a law firm in an attempt to prevent the couple from learning the truth of about the settlement.
Where is the couple today? Twenty-one thousand dollars poorer — and back at square one.
The Orange Lake settlement reveals fundamental problems with Timeshare Exit Team and the company’s entire representation model. On this blog, we will be discussing different aspects of the settlement during the next several weeks. Check back regularly.
Value to Clients
This blog post isn’t legal advice.
To schedule a free consultation with Hancock.Law, call us 24/7 at (206) 785-7019.