When you’ve paid thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for something, you expect to get good customer service. You can imagine the profound shock that many timeshare owners face, when they run into a timeshare bullying dispute with their vacation membership club. Service can be excellent, even while membership fees climb by 2%-5% per year, making timeshare ownership a financial burden for consumers. But that cordial relationship changes quickly, the first time you mention that you need to cancel your contract.
Suddenly, the proverbial “gloves are off” and you and your family are forced to go several rounds, and potentially years, legally disputing terms of your timeshare contract. Are they still friendly when you call? Do they return your call or requests for copies of your contract, or other written documentation?
Timeshares Are Known for Bullying Their Customers
If it sounds unbelievable that consumers would feel “bullied” by the company that sold them a timeshare, trust us when we share that our clients are often emotionally tired, stressed and angry when they are referred to us for timeshare cancellation. If you were to hear some of the back stories about how our clients were treated by some of the largest, and most ‘reputable’ vacation clubs in the country, you would never look at the timeshare industry the same way again.
The timeshare industry is not full of happy, service minded individuals who want to create memorable and affordable vacations for their customers. The industry is full of negative consumer complaints about administrative teams that excel at trapping consumers in an unfair, financially burdensome contract that is almost impossible to rescind (without some professional and legal help).
A quick search online can be an eye-opening experience for timeshare owners, and comforting. Just as timeshare sales teams are trained to get consumers to buy (even if it means using tactics that can sometimes border on illegalities and fraud), resort membership clubs have administration teams that are trained to keep customers. One way or the other.
A lot of psychology gets used (in our experience) to make the timeshare owner feel like they are the only individual who has had a negative experience with the resort. They are quick to remind consumers that terms and conditions were provided in writing on the contract. Vacation clubs generally don’t care if the consumer asked specific questions, and were provided with misinformation. Legally, they fall back to the legitimacy of a signed contract and the ‘caveat emptor’ methodology of ‘buyer beware’.
The first approach for a timeshare management team is to convince you, the contract holder, that you should have been more careful about the terms and conditions on the contract you signed. Period. And if you continue to argue your case, they may present you with some solutions that inevitably, cost you more money and rarely provide results.
How Timeshares Claim to Help Owners
After arguing extensively with a timeshare company, chances are that they may offer a few solutions to you, to stop you from pursuing legal action or from ceasing payment of your membership dues and maintenance fees. These solutions however, prove to be advantageous only to the timeshare, who has an opportunity to make more money from disgruntled contract holders.
The timeshare may offer to:
Help you find a buyer for your timeshare.
Provide a timeshare rental service to help owners derive an income from unused vacation weeks.
Buy back your timeshare contract (often without paying a dime).
Finding a buyer for a timeshare is a difficult process, and in fact, many individuals are willing to pay other people to resume their contract, simply as a matter of freeing themselves from the fees and financial burden. Of course, whether they find a buyer or not, the timeshare expects to be paid for their administrative effort, costing the consumer more money, while less than 2% of timeshares on average, are successfully re-sold.
Renting a timeshare sounds like a great idea, particularly if the owner believes he or she can make a profit on unused weeks. The problem is that the administrative fees are ongoing for advertising and promoting the unit for rent. In addition to paying that service fee, timeshare owners take a substantial risk renting out their weeks; if damage occurs to the property or the unit while it is rented, the financial obligation lands on the timeshare owner.
If occupancy rates are high at your timeshare resort, the resort may surprise you and offer to ‘buy back’ the timeshare contract from you. However, consumers never realize a payout that compensates them for the initial balloon payment at the commencement of their contract. In fact, most timeshare companies expect to accept a return on the unit, without paying the owner a dime. What is worse, is that additional fees including contract administration (legal) and transfer fees are charged to the timeshare owner. Worse than getting $0 for your timeshare, is getting a bill for the buy back service.
With very few exceptions around the world, the timeshare company is designed to make money by selling inventory, reselling returned units, charging rental fees and more. Investors in large timeshare developments earn even more through late payment fees, penalties and other punitive financial fees charged to consumers, who want to end their timeshare contract.
Understanding How a Case Qualifies for Timeshare Cancellation
No matter how many times the management or service team at your timeshare refuse to help you, or provide information and resources and compassion for your situation, don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Timeshare contracts vary, but if you have taken our online survey, you may have already realized that the contract you signed (or the way you were forced to sign it) was inappropriate and possibly unlawful.
Not sure about what might have been an illegal action on the part of a timeshare sales team? In the United States of America, it is unlawful to force anyone to sign a contract that they have misgivings about. In other words, if you had second thoughts about buying your timeshare, but the sales person pressed you into signing, you may be able to rescind your contract.
Other tactics and inappropriate behaviors from timeshares may include:
Refusing to provide a copy of the consumer’s original contract, when requested.
Failure to provide time, accommodations or other incentives that were promised in the contract.
Unexplained increases to maintenance fees that exceed the cost of operation average of 3% (like cost of living) per year.
Threats or intimidation used at the time of contract signing.
Refusal to allow the timeshare buyer to ‘leave the room’ or think about the offer before signing. This can be categorized as forcing an individual to sign ‘under duress’ which if proved, can negate the terms of the signed timeshare contract.
Misrepresentation of the length of the contract or the legal ‘back out’ period that buyers have, should they change their mind. In most States in America, a buyer has between 24 to 72 hours to cancel any contract they sign, and receive a full refund of any deposit made to purchase a timeshare.
Does a bad timeshare experience qualify as timeshare bullying? Absolutely, particularly when you consider that consumers who are communicating with their timeshare resort are looking for answers and an economical way to end their long-term lease (and all the surprise fees that go with it).
You are not alone. We’ve helped hundreds of families fight-back against fraudulent or unscrupulous timeshare sales teams and resorts. Aconsumercredit™, can help you find a path to permanent timeshare cancellation, and help you restore balance to your budget by removing the burden of timeshare ownership. Get started today!