If timeshares were like a friend, it would be the type of person that likes to talk non-stop about how much fun you will have, but never really answers your questions about expense, risks or price. It’s hard to resist going to a timeshare presentation when they promise such incredible incentives like cash, or free dinners, cruises or tours.
The truth is that consumers are already in ‘vacation mode’ when they are invited to a timeshare presentation, and looking to have even more fun. That positive vibe and the faith that individuals have that resort is being honest and forthcoming about the terms of a timeshare makes consumers the perfect target for predatory and even fraudulent timeshare sales practices.
1. Increasing Maintenance Fees
Ask timeshare owners who have been unfortunately surprised by rapidly escalating maintenance fees, and they’ll tell you exactly how unaffordable a timeshare can become, virtually overnight. In every timeshare contract, there is a caveat that is sometimes difficult to find, and one that resort sales professionals try not to mention; if anything happens to the resort, your fees can double, or even triple with little notice or legal recourse.
The average timeshare owner is looking for the most economical way to enjoy multiple vacations per year, at a luxury resort. The most price sensitive buyers may also have a loan to service monthly, that was used to finance the upfront purchase down payment required for a new resort. Imagine that your timeshare is billed at an affordable rate of $199 per month, including maintenance fees, and in thirty days, that monthly bill increases to $399 or more. It doesn’t seem legal or even understandable to consumers, but it happens in the timeshare industry all the time.
Much like owning a condominium, timeshare owners are collaboratively responsible for the cost of maintenance, services and upkeep of the resort. Any natural disaster, from a hurricane to a flood or damaging tropical storm, can create tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. The resort legally, has the recourse to make the repairs for timeshare owners (to avoid disruption of service), but that expense is distributed among all timeshare owners. This action can result in a timeshare with increased fees for years. Interestingly, when fees go up, they do not always come back down, depending on the extent of the damage and expenses incurred. And just like that, the timeshare is double or triple the expense that the consumer signed up for, and a significant financial burden.
2. Inflexible Cancellation Options
Life happens. Owning a timeshare can provide years of enjoyment and fun for friends and family members, but when something significant happens to change the needs of the timeshare owner, they are shocked to learn how unmotivated most timeshares are to accommodate a cancellation or rescinding of the timeshare contract.
No matter how the timeshare ‘opportunity’ is explained by resort sales professionals, timeshares can still feel like a luxury service that you are renting, because you have chosen to spend time there and utilize the services. This misconception is perpetuated by the industry, as they do not want prospective buyers scared off by the thought that a timeshare contract is as legally binding as a mortgage, and equally difficult to discharge, without doing significant damage to the buyer’s personal credit.
Illness, or changes in employment or income status are all standard reasons why consumers would approach their timeshare resort to rescind the contract. If a timeshare owner cannot travel to the resort, he or she may not be allowed to cancel, regardless of the circumstance. If the owner has fallen on hard personal financial circumstance, the timeshare typically will not accept a cancellation of the contract.
The lack of compassion for very real personal circumstances is both shocking and stressful to buyers, who feel they were not informed at the time of purchase. And to compound the issue, timeshares are notorious for charging excessive late fees and other administrative charges for non-payment, adding to the stress of the consumer.
3. Cleanliness and Upkeep of Units
When you bought into the timeshare, you were probably shown a pristine model, with new furnishings and luxury appliances, a beautiful tropical view and state of the art electronics and appliances. One of the problems with purchasing a timeshare online or “sight unseen” is the potential to buy influenced by the appearance of a model suite, which may not represent the type of accommodation you will be entitled to use on the resort.
Over time timeshares can become run down, and some resorts attempt to cut costs by reducing cleaning services on suites. Have you ever checked into a hotel room that felt unhygienic? On a larger scale, furnishings can become damaged or stained, and the timeshare may not invest enough resources in sanitizing units between guests. Unless there is a safety hazard, changing suits is generally not allowed. Who wants to spend a few hours cleaning before they can relax in their timeshare?
4. Security and Safety
Part of the responsibility of any hotel or resort is to provide safe accommodations, but also to limit the access of the resort or gated community, to reduce theft and other crimes. Security is important to everyone, but even more so to families with young children and seniors, who can be exposed to dangerous situations where onsite security is inadequate, particularly in foreign countries or tropical locales.
Having belongings or money stolen from timeshares is not uncommon in resorts that provide inadequate security. After a negative experience, timeshare owners are often reluctant to return, even though they are continuing to pay monthly for the safe vacation they were promised contractually.
5. Resort Maintenance
How would you feel about arriving to your timeshare, to find a green, algae covered pool, overgrown paths or dead gardens? When a timeshare development is experiencing financial problems, one of the first things to slip is typically the landscaping and recreational facilities. Suddenly, your timeshare can become less of a luxury vacation, and more like staying at a cheap motel, that you are paying entirely too much for monthly.
Since 2004, AcConsumecredit™, has been an leading resource and authority to counsel consumers who are dissatisfied with their timeshare ownership and experience. We know these stories because we hear them every week, from Americans across the country, looking for a solution to the burden of ownership, or dealing with difficult timeshares.
If you are frustrated with your resort, and have tried unsuccessfully to rescind your timeshare contract, call us for a free consultation at 1-800-587-EXIT. Let our team evaluate your contract and provide options that can lead to canceling your timeshare for good, in twelve months or less.