Leading up to the revelation of COVID-19, a good percentage of vacation owners were already struggling to enjoy their perpetual timeshare agreement. Whether minimal availability or an excess in unexpected fees was the culprit, it’s safe to say the product hasn’t rewarded everyone. All you have to do is review complaint forums or travel websites to find evidence of this. Now that resorts have been locked down for almost a year, the desire to end timeshare contracts is catching steam.
Although some buyers have extended their obligations or transitioned into points programs (to obtain first dibs when resorts reopen), many have begun to question the purchase altogether. Pandemic fueled hardship has forced many to reevaluate their spending habits and balance their budgets. At the end of the day, something you’re paying for but cannot use is often deemed expendable. But it’s not that simple here.
Be Smart If You Want to End Timeshare Contracts in 2021.
Timeshares may appear like an affordable venture, but they’re oftentimes simply an inconvenient liability. When you think about it, travel packages that are limited to one week per year don’t provide much value at all. What do you do when you try to make late reservations and the week you want is already booked solid – but you can’t take off work for any other dates? Where can you go if your vacation fund is wrapped up in the timeshare?
What happens when you realize maintenance fees are thousands of dollars and you can’t afford it? How much value does it provide when you have to work a second job on your days off just to cover the expenses and avoid penalties? These are all questions buyers fail to ask before making the purchase. By the time they realize the product came with handicaps, it’s too late. Perpetual timeshare agreements are proven to be extremely difficult to escape from. Especially if you’re misled even further.
The Timeshare Sales Pitches Never Seems to End.
You see, the impact of a timeshare purchase doesn’t end when remorse sets in. Timeshare companies and resorts know how to twist your arm and get you to spend more to make it worthwhile – since you’re contractually obligated to pay anyways. They’re not going to want you to get out of it. Moreover, third party “relief” agencies lick their chops at fractional owner desperation. Those willing to do anything to escape the burden are often met by scams that set them back even further. So be smart.
Sadly, most consumers buy timeshares because they’re led to believe it’s a deal of a lifetime. In the end, many are left wishing they never attended the initial sales presentation. What appears to be a chance at a quality vacation for a discount can quickly turn into a disastrous decision if you’re unprepared. The attempts to persuade you throughout the experience can be overwhelming to say the least.
Who’s Likely to End Timeshare Contracts in 2021?
In the timeshare industry, there are a number of things that can ruffle the feathers of buyers. Besides some of the traditional reasons for ending timeshare contracts, new scenarios are making life tough on vacation owners. Many are considering the idea of exiting their agreements for the first time. So instead of relisting general timeshare discrepancies, let’s take a look at the unique reasoning of many owners today.
1) Baby Boomers & Buyers With Health Conditions.
Those with heightened health risks or the aging community in general have commonly been afraid to travel since the pandemic began – and rightfully so. Masks have even been mandated for healthy people in order to protect those deemed more susceptible to the flu-like virus. The fear surrounding “the spread” has them thinking twice about nearly everything.
In turn, many elderly buyers are looking to end timeshare contracts for health reasons. In fact, some were already considering the decision due to physical limitations or sudden disease. The idea of visiting their timeshare was already fleeting and the pandemic has forced them to seriously consider a cancellation. Unfortunately, thousands of predatory agencies are waiting for them to ask questions. Senior citizens continue to be one of the most targeted demographic groups by the industry.
2) Furloughed, Unemployed and Uncertain Owners.
The one thing that all timeshare owners have in common right now is uncertainty. With the economy in a state of flux, it’s difficult for any of us to know what the government is going to do next. Because of the vague extent and reasoning for national closures and travel shutdowns, most people are not anticipating a return to normalcy – at least anytime soon.
Those that have now been laid off from specific jobs, that are no longer available, have been hit the hardest. Imagine working at the front desk of a resort or in hotel remarketing for the past 30 years. It’s nearly impossible to find anything similar in 2021 – not to mention the traveling perks and lifestyle that comes with these jobs. When you think about it, companies that service timeshare resorts are more than likely dealing with consequences too.
If you’re a vacation owner and your income has been struck down by the pandemic, then you’re probably looking for a way to end timeshare contracts. At the same time, be weary. Many former timeshare employees will be looking to prey on your desperation to make up for their loss of income.
3) Loyal Members That Are Now Inconvenienced.
Despite the overwhelming number of annual complaints by timeshare owners, some buyers have been satisfied with the purchase. Whether they’ve been financially set, able to book or misinformed on the realities of their agreement, it hasn’t been much of a concern. Today though, many loyal members are starting to realize the product isn’t benefiting them at all. If they end timeshare contracts now, they can avoid further letdown.
Over the past several months, timeshare resorts haven’t thrown them much of a bone. So paying for something they cannot use is growing old for the first time. On top of an unforeseeable future, many have been personally penalized for not rescheduling their reservations in 2020. This in itself is rather harsh – especially when most people (in general) had no idea when travel bans and hotel restrictions would end. In fact, some owners are still holding onto hope for a timeshare vacation in 2021.
4) Those Unhappy With Pandemic Related Assessments.
One of the hidden, potential outcomes of the pandemic for timeshare owners are assessment fees. Like maintenance costs, owners are obligated to pay these – even if they unexpectedly come at a bad time. For example, natural disasters are commonly included in special assessments.
While some contracts may include language regarding pandemic environments, most do not. Because of this, we have heard from many owners who were surprised by unexpected assessment fees related to the pandemic. If history repeats itself then timeshares will be more than eager to pass the buck of last year’s losses to fractional owners.
Do You Want To End A Timeshare Contract?
Each day that passes into 2021 shows us a new light of the immediate future of travel. While the dust of the presidential race settles, it’s becoming more and more clear that timeshare usage may remain at a standstill. To some, working things out with the resort is ideal. For others, the benefits of getting out from under their contract is more appealing now than ever before. Either way, truly understanding your options is key.
Despite your initial perspective, it’s important to communicate your stance with the resort. It’s also imperative that you think for yourself. Don’t allow appeal or empty promises mislead you. At the end of the day, you need to find someone you can trust and rely on.
At VOC, we aren’t in the business of being pushy to sell you on our services. We want to fully understand your situation too. We have to know everything about your contract and experience if we ever expect to point you in the right direction. Whether you hire us to end timeshare contracts or not, our reputation matters. Our consultants are only a phone call away.