Local man finds himself in timeshare turmoil

A local man who loved his vacation home on Cape Cod now finds himself in some timeshare turmoil.

Timeshares can make for great vacations and for years, Jim Macaulay said he loved his.

“First five years I had a great time down there,” he said. “I saw all the sites.”

But, after a while, the fun ran out and Macaulay said the maintenance fees kept rising — topping out at almost $600 dollars a year.

Then, the weather turned dangerous.

“It really came to a head last year, when that tornado blew through the Cape,” he said. “The resort right next to us was the one that got the roof tore off it.”

Macaulay has been trying to sell his timeshare for years but he couldn’t find a buyer.

So he hired a company based in California to sell his place and paid them $4,245 to guarantee the sale.

“I just wanted to get out of it at that point,” he explained.

But Macaulay is still not out of it. A year later, he still owns the timeshare, still pays the maintenance fees, and the company is unreachable.

“I can not get in touch with them,” he said. “I leave voice messages, but there’s no reply.”

7Investigates called and emailed the company as well, but got no response.

Timeshare advocate Brian Rogers said this is a story they hear almost every day but there are ways for consumers to protect themselves.

“Always avoid doing business with a company that asks you for a large fee upfront,” he said.

The first thing an owner should do is contact the resort where the timeshare is located.

“Call their resort, call their resort developer, almost every major developer right now has a deed-back or surrender program,” Rogers said. “They have programs so they can give those timeshares back to the resort and end their ownership.”

Macaulay wants to make sure what happened to him does not happen to anyone else.

He has reported the incident to the state attorney general’s office, in both Massachusetts and California.

Macaulay paid the upfront fee with his credit card, so now that card company has opened an investigation into the transaction.

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