What are the pros and cons of timeshare?

It’s not surprising to say that timeshares have attracted a lot of criticism over the years. They started off a great idea when the scheme was thought up many years ago. However as the industry has evolved it’s fair to say that timeshares have had to change to meet peoples changing needs, and some of these changes have left consumers considerably unhappy with their timeshare purchases. In order to survive and compete in the travel industry timeshares have relied upon locking people into lengthy contracts that are watertight and almost impossible to end. And the very way in which they are sold to people also sparks a lot of controversy. There are endless tales of people being mis-sold timeshares on the basis that they were investments. One thing is for sure, timeshares are far from investments. In fact they are a financial liability and more often than not cost way more than the average family package holiday. This is why there are so many unhappy timeshare owners, desperate to get rid of them. In fact, in many cases, you can’t even give them away or hand them back to the resort. So are there any pros and cons to timeshare ownership?

They are less expensive than buying a holiday home outright. If you like exclusivity, than a timeshare may be able to provide you with this as a lot of resorts are only available for timeshare owners to use. Or so they would have you believe. We hear from owners regularly, who one day whilst sitting at the pool got chatting to some other guests only to learn they booked at the resort using a third party. Quite shocking when you were promised the exact opposite and to make matters worse those very people probably paid less money to be there.

Timeshare resorts and holiday memberships do promise owners more options. Lots of resorts these days are affiliated with exchange companies where owners can trade points to use. However, many members complain that when they go to book peak dates are always not available, many people even say they have trouble booking up to a year in advance. Quite surprising when you consider what you are promised in the sales presentation.

You also have to consider the boredom factor. If you are limited to a fixed resort every year at the same place, it could get a bit boring as the years go on. Especially now as more and more exciting places are opening up, being tied down to the same place can lose it appeal.

Even if you don’t use your timeshare one year, you are still going to pay for it. If for some reason you find you cannot travel, or maybe you can’t get the time off work, or just a very normal life occurrence happens meaning you can’t get to your resort, you will still have to pay for it. That could mean your annual maintenance fees and any loan repayment you may have taken out to buy in the first place still needs to be paid.

Finally, don’t forget the sales presentation’s. If you’re a timeshare owner you will know exactly what we are talking about. Every time you visit a resort you will be asked to attend a meeting, maybe a members update meeting or a free lunch. However, this is simply another sales presentation and an opportunity for the resort to sell you another legally binding product.

Many people find that after years of timeshare ownership, the novelty has worn off and they want out. Many feel they have been mis-sold their timeshare in the first place and can no longer pay the unaffordable loans they were coerced into taking out by the sales person. If you feel you have been mis-sold a timeshare and want to discuss your options get in touch with us today. Our team of timeshare specialist can help guide you through the process or simply give you some much needed advice.

Diamond Resorts goes after another timeshare exit firm.

Timeshare giant Diamond Resorts has issued further proceedings against Pandora Marketing, a firm that have been marketing their timeshare exit services to consumers desperate to get rid of their timeshares.

Diamond Resorts is no stranger to taking firms to court who purport helping people out of their timeshare burdens, and currently has 15 lawsuits against timeshare exit firms in the United States alone. In new papers handed to the court in the case against Pandora Marketing, Diamond say they have fresh evidence that proves the company has been running a nationwide scam conning hundreds of Diamond Resort timeshare owners out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Diamond resorts have issued new legal filings to the court which includes statements from owners stating that the firm demanded large upfront fees in exchange for timeshare exit services. In some cases, the firm charged clients huge fees, some in excess of $100,000 for services they said were being performed by lawyers. What happened, according to witness statements, was that clients were misled and coerced into paying these fees, strung along for months on end and none of the services promised were performed. Diamond says that instead of actually performing any legal services for these people, the company misled people into believing they could stop paying maintenance fees, which eventually resulted in foreclosure and a negative impact on peoples credit ratings, which went down because of default on payments.

Diamond also state that they have evidence that the company was operating a scam and produced to the court saved messages from witnesses. In one a timeshare owner explained how he was made to believe a specialist group of timeshare lawyers would litigate the cancellation of his timeshare. Because of his belief in this company, he paid them $70,000 but later learned the firm took his money and simply employed a lawyer to send Diamond an exit letter which cost them $700. Another victim has been left with debts more than $120,000 in credit card bills after the company repeatedly demanded money from them.

CEO of Diamond Resorts, Michael Flaskey said in a statement: “It is absolutely despicable to hear how vacation owners have been scammed by these nefarious companies. We will continue to do everything in our power to protect our members from being misled by these companies and will aggressively pursue every avenue to hold these companies to account.”

Why are there so many timeshare scams around?

There are countless stories on the internet about fraudulent companies acting in bad faith and taking advantage of timeshare owners who are desperate to get rid of them. And Diamond may be correct on this occasion to go after a company that are clearly defrauding innocent people out of staggering amounts of money. Something which is unethical and immoral, especially when these people are simply trying to find a way out of something that is probably causing them financial problems, and by defrauding them, scammers know they are putting these people in further financial ruin. However, whilst resorts are happy to highlight companies acting fraudulently, they will not acknowledge the reason why so many of these companies exists in the first place. Firstly, these cons are often run by ex-timeshare sales representatives, so they know the system inside out. But they also know that resorts will do anything to keep hold of their members and their important maintenance fees and will make it as difficult for people to leave as possible. It makes knowing who to trust when it comes to anything timeshare very difficult and understandably, owners are often confused about what to do when it comes to exiting a timeshare. Perhaps if the resorts themselves looked at the way they treated people who had genuine reasons for wanting to end their contracts and acted with more compassion and understanding, fraudulent companies and scammers would not have a market in which they can so freely find people in which to victimise and con out of their hard-earned money.

When is it the right time to get out of a timeshare?

For those that have been persuaded to attend a timeshare presentation most leave either confused and dazed about what they have signed up to or the buyer’s remorse sets in quickly. Many of these people go on to struggle for years to pay loans they have been persuaded into taking out to purchase the timeshare, which are often high interest and were not assessed on affordability calculators before people were signed up. This has been the case with many timeshare resorts, whose sole goal is to make a sale and provided your credit rating sufficient, they do not care whether or not you can actually afford the extra monthly expense.

For this and the endless other reasons, many, many people find themselves desperate to get rid of their troublesome timeshare. The only easy way out for many is to cancel within the statutory recission period which can range from anything from 3 to 15 days, depending where in the world you chose to purchase. After that, for many the way out is difficult, long, and full of obstacles. So far, the industry has failed to find a viable exit for owners, despite what they claim, and this has paved the way for scam companies and individuals to take advantage of desperate people.

When looking to get out of a timeshare, because the industry is littered with scam companies, it is important timeshare owners be wary and realistic about their options. If someone promises to be able to sell your timeshare, stop and think. Timeshares are not in demand, far more people want to get rid of them than buy one, there are exceptions to the rule, for example Disney Vacation Club is highly sought after, but they offer something no other resort does and unless you are in possession of something like this, you are unlikely to be able to sell your timeshare.

You can ask your resort to take it back and in fact many resorts do have schemes where they will take the timeshare back if you are fully up to date with your maintenance fees. However, this also limits your options when wanting to make a claim against your resort. If you go down this option you will likely be asked to sign a waiver, which means you cannot go after the resort for any damages in the future. All very well if you were not mis-sold and you enjoyed your time spent at your timeshare. But for those who were mis-sold their timeshare in the first place, this makes sure you will never be able to reclaim any of the money the resort may owe you due to being mis-sold it in the first place.

Whatever the reason you want to get rid of your timeshare, you do have options and before engaging in services it pays to seek advice. There are many companies and individuals acting fraudulently in the world of timeshare so it pays to do your research and if in doubt check the Financial Conduct Authority register, there you will find a list of companies who are registered and those that have flagged up as acting in bad faith.

People who enter into timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.

The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these types of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.
If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a timeshare or a ‘holiday points’-based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.

Another Timeshare Termination Company Taken to court

Over in the States, yet another fraudulent timeshare termination company has been identified by officials who have taken the company to task about their activities in defrauding customers.

Martin Management operating out of Missouri, is accused of scamming timeshare owners across the United States. Investigators at the Attorney General’s office were alerted to the company after several people complained that the company had taken money upfront for timeshare relinquishment services but failed to carry out any terminations or negotiate on behalf of owners with the timeshare resorts.

Martin Management took fees from customers in excess of $10,000 to negotiate with timeshare resorts and get people out of their ongoing contracts. The company offered a money-back guarantee to its clients but according to disgruntled customers, the firm failed to carry out any of these promised services and when challenged failed to give people their money back. The attorney General’s office received complaints from consumers across the United States, many of whom complained that after the firm took payments from them, they simply strung them along for several months and in some instances demanded even more money from clients. Martin Management claimed that for the timeshare terminations to be completed, clients needed to pay litigation, transfer or liquidation fees to facilitate this. In fact, in many instances the company failed to relinquish any timeshares and victims were still left legally bound to their timeshares and having to pay maintenance fees. Many victims even suffered detriment to their credit scores as the company told clients to stop paying the fees but failed to terminate legal obligations with their resorts.

After filing for a judgement in court the Attorney General’s office announced that Martin Management Group has been permanently banned from providing timeshare relinquishment services in the state of Missouri and awarded over $222,000 in fines to the state and over $170,000 to compensate victims. They were also ordered to pay over $52,000 for costs incurred from the investigation and legal fees. The Attorney General’s office believes there are more victims out there and has asked anyone who had dealings with the company or has been scammed by any other timeshare termination company to lodge a complaint.

Following the ruling Attorney General Schmitt said: “Protecting Missouri’s consumers is one of my most important duties as Attorney General, and my office’s Consumer Protection Section works around the clock to fulfil that duty. I am pleased that my office was able to obtain a default judgement against Steve Martin and Martin Management, and we work diligently to ensure that Missourians who were scammed are refunded. It’s important for Missourians to remember, especially when dealing with timeshares, that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

People who enter into timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with. If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a timeshare or a ‘holiday points’-based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.

Warning about another scam company

The Better Business Bureau in the U.S is warning timeshare owners that a so-called exit company is running an unethical operation and victims are losing thousands of dollars.

The Better Business Bureau is the UK equivalent of Trading Standards in The United States and rates businesses by performance and trustworthiness. For those looking to use a reputable company, they can search the Better Business Bureau and learn if they are rated and how highly or not. Equally the organisation lists companies that do not act in the interests of their customers and scores them accordingly. In addition, the bureau also receives complaints from people who report fraudulent actions of companies and takes action when necessary.

The BBB often reports when they have detected a company acting in bad faith and scamming consumers and because of this is hot on the Timeshare scammers trails and often receives reports from people who have been ripped off by rogue traders. On this occasion officials at BBB report that Relief Solutions International (RSI) has failed to cancel timeshare contracts when they promised to within a certain timeframe, failed to provide refunds to disgruntled customers, gave misleading sales presentations, and provided poor customer service. They say over 100 people have complained from 33 different states, and they have even received complaints from residents in Canada.

The BBB first warned consumers about this company nearly two years ago when they first started receiving complaints. This new warning comes after several new customers have come forward with complaints. In one case a man St Louis had paid the company just under $10,000 to get him out of two timeshare contracts. The sales agent told him this would take 12-18 months to complete. RSI failed to terminate his timeshares and refused to give him his money back, instead they gave him a partial refund stating they had failed to exhaust every avenue during the termination process with the resort and because this man had stopped their work before the terminations were completed, he was only eligible for a partial refund of fees.

In a similar case, a man from New York, solicited RCI to terminate his timeshare and paid them $20,000 in July 2018 after attending a sales presentation. He says the company failed to provide any of the services it promised and refused to refund him any of the money, he also says he is still paying for his timeshare.

Michelle Corey is the CEO of the BBB and said the following in a statement to press after the warning was issued: “If the company cannot deliver on its promises of getting them out of their timeshares in a certain time frame, then they should issue refunds. Stringing them on for years only hurts the customers who continue to pay maintenance fees for those timeshares.”

In response to the BBB’s claims, co-owner of RSI, Russell Turner, released a statement disputing these claims. Stating that of all the people they had helped relinquish timeshares the figure of one hundred only represented a small percentage of people they had successfully got out of timeshare contracts. He went on to say that his company had assisted hundreds of thousands of people over the years and this figure only represented .0025% of their clients. He further claimed that it was the timeshare companies encouraging people to complain against small businesses and it was in the timeshare resorts best interests to do so.

People who enter into timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with. If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a timeshare or a ‘holiday points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.

How is the timeshare industry surviving during a pandemic?

It goes without saying that the travel and hospitality industry has probably taken the biggest hit due to the pandemic than any other and this is true globally. With travel completely halted for the immediate future, it seems unlikely that any business in this sector would be able to report any profits let alone any big purchases.

Despite this the timeshare industry seems not to have been to adversely affected by the pandemic and is somehow clearing a financial path through it and planning ahead to when customers can travel again. Only recently Wyndham Destinations acquired Travel and Leisure magazine for $100 million and incredibly stock market reports are predicting a 7.3% boost across the industry by the end of 2026.

In addition to this only days ago Marriott Vacations Worldwide announced they would purchase Welk Resorts for $430 million. You would be forgiven for not knowing the name, but they have been around for 57 years and started off quite modestly. Welk Resorts went on to become a timeshare giant over the years and now boasts over 52,000 owners and generated over $50 million in timeshare sales in 2019 alone. So, this looks like a savvy purchase for Marriott who say they will rebrand the resort and incorporate it into the Hyatt Residence Club which is owned by Marriott.

Seems incredible that during these unprecedented times of a pandemic when nearly every other industry is struggling that the timeshare industry is able to enjoy any positive news.

With the need for consumers to exit their timeshares more relevant than ever before, the industry was urged to show compassion for owners struggling. Despite this owners have not experienced much relief if any from resorts. In fact, it appears in many cases resorts have decided to go in another direction and employ deceptive practices to make even more sales. Recently the Orlando Sentinel, which regularly reports from inside the heart of the timeshare industry, released an article uncovering the deceptive practices going on at Westgate resorts. The article claimed the resort was using government relief money to pay travel bloggers to write stories promoting the company’s resorts. Over at Diamond resorts the chief’s in charge sent out emails to customers stating they were putting in place financial relief to those members that were struggling through refinancing deals. It sounded like all good intentions but on further investigation it became clear in the small print the resort was just using this as an opportunity to make more sales and push existing owners into new, more expensive membership programs and financing options. Timeshare giant Wyndham were less deceptive but more outright brash when CEO Michael Brown said the company would keep afloat through owner sales and push upgrades onto existing members.

It seems that most of the big resorts have continued to charge their members maintenance fees during the pandemic, despite most owners not being able to use the facilities at all last year. Some of the resorts have been providing refunds for booking fees but so far it seems none are planning to refund maintenance fees, offer any discounts or indeed move reservations to another time. It has left owners furious and wondering if they would be better off getting out of their timeshare contracts altogether.

If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘holiday points’-based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or simply want to end your agreement, get in touch with us today to see how we can help with a possible money back claim.

 

Are timeshares worth all the trouble?

If you are the sort of family or couple who enjoys taking a holiday at the same time and place every single year, year after year, then a timeshare might be right for you!

Similarly, if you do not enjoy planning your own holiday and you prefer to chose from a limited experience selection and be restricted in your choices, then a holiday club membership may suit your needs and lifestyle.

Whichever of these categories you fit into both come with an overwhelming amount of terms and conditions and fine print. And when we say fine print, we mean miniscule, it is literally hidden away in the dreaded legally binding contracts.

So, what exactly are the differences between timeshares and holiday clubs?

When you buy a timeshare, what you are actually purchasing is the shared right to a vacation property that allows you to stay there for a set amount of time, on set dates every year. The contract maybe indefinite or it may be set to expire after a certain number of years have passed and “you have had your money’s worth” (which is likely never the case). A timeshare can mean anything from a hotel room or apartment to a family sized villa or larger dwelling. You will normally always have to pay a one-off upfront fee for a timeshare, and this can be anywhere from £10,000 upwards. The only real flexibility with timeshares is where they are traded in or swapped with other timeshare companies or owners for different times and locations. However, the timeshare is set up, they are generally quite restrictive, this works well for some families if they must holiday during certain times of the year i.e. school holidays. But bear in mind many people find that when the kids have grown up and no longer want to go on holiday with their parents, you are still stuck with the same timeshare and it may no longer suit your needs.

With holiday clubs, or vacation memberships, the membership scheme requires you to prepay for your annual holiday. They do, however, allow for slightly more variation on the type of getaway you can plan, compared to a timeshare, but nether less are still incredibly restrictive when compared to planning your own package holiday. The system of points that members purchase is redeemed within a network of resorts. Most resorts offer these types of points-based holiday clubs and are moving away from the standard timeshare model, and there is one reason why! They are highly profitable for the resorts as they continue to trap people in lengthy contracts, upselling customers at every opportunity, slapping additional fees when customers try to book different resorts all while they continue to charge annual maintenance fees.

So are they really worth it? The best way to work out if this is a good investment or a financial drain is to calculate the cost compared to booking your own holidays. Over ten to twenty years (and holidaying in the same place) will you get your money’s worth? And do not forget to calculate the cost of maintenance fees, which will rise year in year out.

Holidays clubs do offer more flexibility to members, but that does not mean they come without restrictions. They all depend on the type of membership you buy, the higher the purchase price, the more options you have and a greater selection to choose from. However, compare this to booking your own holiday and not having to pay annual fees to do so, and they are rarely worth the money and trouble you will have trying to book through the complicated points system.

Paying for a timeshare is an expense that is simply not worth the money.

With tourism a thing of the past for the foreseeable future and people having less disposable income, paying for a timeshare seems like an expense that is simply not worth it. In fact, timeshares are simply not worth it, not worth the money and certainly not worth the trouble that comes hand in hand with ownership. Owners often feel once they have entered into a contract, they are trapped. Unfortunately, for many, the reality is a timeshare resort will do everything in its power to make owners feel trapped and left with no little choice but to continue paying up every year. If you are a timeshare owner desperate to be free from it, you may have approached your resort to try to get out of your contract and been met with one obstacle after the other. Or perhaps you are paying off a high interest loan that the resort arranged for you after the presentation. You may even be one of the many unlucky owners who have had their personal details forwarded on to a rogue company who are now targeting you by cold calling you offering bogus products and promises.

Timeshares were not always bad news!

Timeshare has earnt itself a terrible reputation over the years but that was not always the case. They first arrived in the 60’s and offered a new opportunity for holidaymakers to experience a unique way of travelling and gave owners a sense of pride as they felt they were investing in a little slice of heaven. They always had a pricey initial outlay to join, however they were not the rip off model they have become now. Owners still had a fee to pay, but it was reasonable in comparison to today’s exuberant fees. When they first became popular, timeshares offered good value for money and a unique luxury holiday for many people. The trouble is that in today’s competitive holiday market, they simply no longer offer value for money and resorts know this, that is why they try so hard to keep hold of owners and continually try to change the timeshare model to make them seem more appealing.

We have listed below some of the top reasons people are desperate to be free from their timeshares and indeed some of the top lines a timeshares sales representative will use to sell you a timeshare. In fact, these may also be the basis for which many timeshares are mis-sold to thousands of people every year.

Maintenance fees: A sales rep probably will not have gone into detail about the hidden costs of maintenance fees; however, they often start off pretty modest, maybe a few hundred pounds a year. But they quickly escalate and become unaffordable. Often cited as the number one reason for people wanting to leave a timeshare behind, after a few years of ownership they can sometimes increase into the thousands.

Investment opportunity: Timeshare has often been sold as an investment opportunity. Unfortunately, this is not the case and never will be. Despite what a salesperson will tell you, there are not hundreds of people lined up to buy timeshare so you can sell it later and make a profit. The truth is there are too many people desperate to get rid of their unwanted timeshares that the market is flooded and often people are so desperate they end up giving them away. The likelihood of making any money on a timeshare is almost slim to non-existent, but resorts have used this tactic to make sales, something which is not only unethical but also a complete lie.

High interest loan: Timeshare loans and finance agreements are high interest. More often than not, if you cannot pay for your timeshare in full, the resort will already have a finance partner they use. This means they have a longstanding credit arrangement with a certain bank or loan provider. Typically, these loans are high interest and over the years people end up paying way and above what the initial price of the timeshare was.

Can’t sell them on: You cannot re-sell them later. A timeshare is not worth anything, so it makes them extremely difficult to re-sell. In fact, they are notoriously difficult to sell and you cannot even give them away. The reason being they come with a lot of baggage. And we do not mean holiday baggage. To own a timeshare means you must take on all the negative aspects too, this includes annual maintenance fees which go up every single year.

The good news is that it is not too late to get out of a timeshare agreement and if you believe you have been mis-sold a timeshare and have suffered financially because of it, we may be able to help you. Contact us today for free expert advice and find out if you are legally entitled to compensation and be free from your timeshare burden once and for all.

Judge rules in favour of timeshare owner.

Over in the U.S. a judge has ruled in favour of a couple who legally gave away their timeshare after the resort refused to take it back and they failed to sell it on. Proving timeshares are almost impossible to get away from once you own, Mr and Mrs Riley were then sued by the resort who dragged them to court even though the Riley’s were able to prove they were no longer the legal owners of the timeshare.

Unfortunately for the couple, they both had been hit hard by the Pandemic and had been furloughed by their employers, so needless to say paying for a timeshare was not a priority for them at this time. They tried to work with the timeshare resort, but they refused to help the couple who were struggling financially. After legally giving their timeshare to a third party, the resort decided this was not acceptable, even though it was legal, and decided to take them to court.

Timeshare ownership in the U.S works pretty much the same as everywhere else apart from a few subtle differences. Generally, in Europe, timeshares provide for a stay in a fixed week, in a fixed room and at a fixed time of the year. The same is true in the U.S, except that timeshare are usually subject to a deed, meaning that the timeshare itself is registered. The laws differ from state to state; however, they usually operate in the same way. The main difference from Europe is that contracts in perpetuity were deemed unlawful a few years back and timeshare resorts are no longer allowed to sell timeshares with everlasting contracts. U.S timeshare contracts are also harder to extricate the consumer from, as they are deeded which is not a simple contract, it means an owner owns an actual physical interest in a timeshare property.

Because of this timeshare owners in the U.S often find themselves subject to tricky real estate laws which is something the timeshare companies use to their advantage to try to keep people locked in lengthy contracts. However, the Riley’s lawfully gave their timeshare away, meaning they deeded the property to someone else who then took over responsibility for the timeshare. Incredibly, even after providing evidence to the timeshare company that they had legally given away their timeshare, the resort decided this simply was not good enough for them and continued to take the Riley’s to court. However, the judge ruled in their favour and was sympathetic to the position they had been put in by the resort and the current Pandemic and employment status they both found themselves in. The judge ruled against the timeshare company and in his ruling stated no one should have to pay for something they cannot use or no longer want.

The case is just another illustration of how far some timeshare companies are willing to go to keep hold of their long-suffering owners and those precious maintenance fees they collect every year.

The Hidden Cost Of Owning a Timeshare

Whether you have attended a timeshare presentation or read all about timeshares, what they will not disclose to you is the true cost of owning a timeshare. These additional costs are hidden from you, and why would they tell you all about the negative aspects to ownership. They want you to buy, there and then. They want you to go away and tell everyone you know; how wonderful it is to own a timeshare. The problem is, timeshares are a liability, and for the millions of people all over the world that own one, these hidden costs only emerge after they have signed on the dotted line.

We speak to people on a daily basis who have paid anything from £20,000 to £50,000 on timeshares, they come to us after realising they were mis-sold their timeshare or simply realised it was not worth the money, not fit for purpose, not as promised and they were lied to by the salesperson. Understandably after forking out thousands of pounds they are more than unhappy. To make matters worse, they often come to us after pleading with the resort to release them from their contracts. Most resorts, even though they say they have policies in place to allow owners to exit their timeshares, make it almost impossible for owners to leave.

  1. The Hidden Cost: When you sign up to a timeshare agreement, they will tell you there are maintenance fees to pay, annually. What they will not tell you is that these fees are likely to go up above the rate of inflation, every single year and this is despite you using the timeshare or not. Even if the property goes into disrepair (this is a common complaint we hear) you will still have to pay maintenance fees.
  2. Being tied down: When you purchase a timeshare you generally sign up for an extensive period of time, years in fact. Some contracts are even for life, meaning you signed up until the day you die. And once you have signed up, it is almost impossible to leave, timeshare resorts don’t want to lose your business or your maintenance fees, so they make it very difficult for owners to exit. This seems unreasonable to most people, but incredibly, we deal with owners who are experiencing financial hardship, lost their jobs and even people who have serious health problems and their resorts still will not let them out of their contractual obligations.
  3. Freedom of choice: Whether you own a timeshare at a fixed resort each year or you have paid for a holiday points membership, most owners say they find them restrictive. Despite what you are promised in a sales pitch, resorts often oversubscribe their memberships, especially in peak holidays months, meaning they have sold more than they have to offer. This is a common complaint amongst owners, who when they go to book find that there is little to no availability or they must pay additional fees if they want to use their memberships where and when they want to. And if you own a timeshare at a fixed location every year, the resort will continually try to upsell you to another points-based program, which will cost even more money.