In a recent survey by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) in 2016, “AIF Owner’s Study”, increased timeshare maintenance fees are responsible for 66% of consumers who wished to sell, or transfer ownership. In the study, 46% of owners said that increased maintenance fees were the “most important reason” for wanting to exit their contract. The survey also revealed that 30% of timeshare owners could “no longer afford” increased timeshare maintenance fees.
Worldwide, the timeshare industry reports that increase to annual maintenance fees are at par with inflationary costs of operation, which average under 5% per year. However, individual timeshares, or those that have merged or required significant improvement, result in consumers who report maintenance fees that doubled, or even tripled, in a 1-2-year period after purchasing their timeshare.
The costs of timeshare ownership have reached the point, where owning a timeshare has become frequently equal to, or more expensive, than the cost of individual vacations. If you have experienced a spike in your maintenance fees that have made ownership less affordable for your family, there are five steps you can take to determine whether you should keep, or part with your timeshare contract.
Step One: Contact Your Timeshare
It may seem unusual for a timeshare cancellation company, to suggest talking to your timeshare first, but the insights you will gain are valuable, and can help you if you decide to move forward with our guidance, to cancel your timeshare.
Do not expect your timeshare to be immediately responsive. Many resorts simply hope that you will ‘stop complaining’ and pay the fee, if they simply ignore it. That phase can last from a few weeks, to timeshare owners who have shared with us, that the resort refused to take their calls or respond in writing for over a year. Again, they hope you simply give up, pay the increased timeshare maintenance fees, and get back to ‘business as normal’ as quickly as possible.
If your timeshare does respond to you however, explain your circumstance. Everyone has unique and very personal reasons for canceling a timeshare. Health conditions can make travel difficult or impossible, making timeshare ownership impractical. Unemployment or financial troubles, can make membership fees and increased maintenance fees even harder to manage.
Whatever your reason, take the time to explain to them (in writing) and then follow up with a phone call about your case. Sometimes, timeshares can be compassionate and fair, with owners who need to end their contract obligation.
Step Two: Request Written Documentation of the Reason for Maintenance Fee Increases
It is the legal right of every timeshare owner, to request documentation from the resort or vacation club, that outlines why a substantial increase to maintenance fees are required. The timeshare may, or may not, provide an accounting and breakdown of why the fee increase is reasonable. This depends on the size and transparency of the timeshare management team.
Another way that timeshare owners can impact the rise in maintenance fees, is to get involved in owner association groups. Volunteering your time as a timeshare owner to the management board, you may be able to influence, or moderate fee increases for your timeshare. Volunteer members can get financial specifics and information, that can help you understand the rationale (if any) for proposed fee increases, which will give you additional information, and help you project what your timeshare may cost you in the future, by evaluating past and planned trends.
Step Three: Find Out If Your Timeshare Maintenance Fees Are Tax Deductible
Are your timeshare fees going up, for one or more properties that you ‘own’ but rent, for income? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows for specific tax deductions that include maintenance fee costs, only if your timeshare provides a personal revenue. If you rent your timeshare, you should be deducting these fees on your personal tax statements, and evaluating the benefit of the tax credit against the cost of remaining in your timeshare contract.
Step Four: Does Someone You Know Want Your Timeshare?
Many timeshare owners who want out of their contract, try to sell their weeks privately, hoping to transfer ownership to a new buyer. Don’t get too hung up on the amount of money you invested in your timeshare, ten or more years ago; less than 2% of timeshares are ever sold by their owners (or an agent) and it is rare that a timeshare owner recoups the investment value from the contract, at time of sale. The important thing is to calculate what you will be saving, in terms of membership and maintenance fees over a period of years, when you are free of your timeshare contract.
You might be pleasantly surprised if you put the word out, to learn that a family member or friend may be interested in owning your timeshare. There are transfer fees involved, and your timeshare must be free of any lien by the resort (for fees owed), but that is a solution for some individuals that has proven successful in the past. Ask around, and see if someone you know and trust, is interested in assuming your contract.
The biggest source of fraud in the timeshare industry, involves organizations that misrepresent their ability to sell your timeshare at a profit. A small number of these organizations have a good reputation and may be able to help, but do your research and get informed about the fees they charge, and assurances they provide. Online reviews can help you determine a legitimate real estate sales team, from timeshare resale fraudsters.
Step Five: Explore Your Timeshare Maintenance Fees Cancellation Options
If your timeshare is unwilling to work with you, and you are unwilling to retain ownership, schedule a free consultation call with one of our timeshare cancellation experts. Call: 1-800-587-EXIT for a free review of your options. Our friendly staff have helped thousands of American families navigate a legal path to timeshare cancellation.
In twelve months or sooner, AconsumerCredit can help you permanently cancel your contract, or we will provide a refund of our service fee. We don’t win, until our clients have earned freedom from their timeshare. Contact us today to learn more, or visit our Trustpilot review page, to see what former clients are saying about our integrity services, and support.