Ex Timeshare Reps Sell Relief Services on Facebook During Pandemic.

Ex Timeshare Reps Sell Relief Services on Facebook During Pandemic.

In the timeshare industry, truth can sometimes be scarce. The problem is, not many vacation owners notice until it’s too late. There are hundreds of websites out there that serve millions of misleading advertisements geared towards timeshare owners. Nearly every buyer is prone to make a costly decision that eventually alters their experience. Whether they purchase a third party solution or upgrade with the resort, the return is rarely fruitful. 

Now that owners have been grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic for quite some time, many are getting restless. There’s a level of uncertainty because major resorts have failed to properly update them about usage and fees. What makes matters worse is the simple fact that a majority of timeshare companies have laid off their sales teams. In case you didn’t know, a majority of third party timeshare scams are organized by former timeshare employees.

Proceed With Caution in the Timeshare Relief Space.

Once we recognized that the pandemic wouldn’t be short lived, we started publishing content to help vacation owners understand what they could expect or prepare for in the coming months. After covering resort layoffs a few weeks ago, we started wondering what these former salespeople would do. Sure, they could find another sales gig, but what if they decided to join forces with fraudulent operations when timeshare owners are arguably more vulnerable than ever before?

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With that being said, we started looking into newly launched agencies that claim to aid vacation owners with relief. Although some of you may assume we’re looking to slander our competition, we encourage you to read the entire article before casting judgement. Upon completion, you’ll see that our intent is to protect timeshare owners from potential pitfalls. Even if they don’t hire us for cancellation services, it’s worth it to save them from further financial loss – in a less than ideal period of time. 

If you’re serious about liberating your timeshare contract and all it entails, then you have to do your due diligence before taking action. You should know by now that timeshare companies don’t even play by the rules, so how can you expect their ex-employees to? Approaching every offer as if it were a lie will bode well. If you’re going to use a third party service to exit your timeshare, then make them prove to you that they’re worth your business. If you don’t, most will tell you what you want to hear in order to convince you to pay them.

Facebook Driven Services Claim to Offer Timeshare Relief. 

No matter the industry, consumers should question any business that’s managed from a social media platform. This is especially true when ex timeshare reps sell relief services on Facebook. While the sales pitch may seem promising, nothing about this should appeal to you. Some of these entities position themselves as true consulting agencies that provide “mortgage relief, trade in options and travel services” for timeshare owners across the globe. But do they really?

According to one of these Facebook page managers, her company knows how to  “cancel your timeshare now” and “end maintenance fees forever!” It sounds like something worth looking into, right? Don’t be too sure until you’ve actually taken time to research the service. You’ll find that doing so actually leaves you with more questions than answers.

You see, far too many third party agencies in the exit industry make claims they can’t actually back up. Nothing about these Facebook profiles proves that they’re a credible source for timeshare cancellation. One of them even lists a P.O. box as their address for crying out loud. But it’s not the only clue that that should raise an eyebrow or two.

The simple fact that most of these pages only have a handful of reviews should tell you everything you need to know about her claims. We know how excited people are when they’re finally relieved of their timeshare obligation. The unlisted company only has two reviews and they were posted within 24 hours of each other in February.. BBB listings aren’t much better either. 

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More About these So-Called Expert Timeshare Agents.

If you dig deep enough, you can actually find out if a relief service on social media is an ex timeshare rep yourself. Many don’t update their LinkedIn profiles or may even still be employed as a timeshare sales representative while selling “relief services”. Sometimes, they even use their “experience” as a sales pitch to create value. They do so by publishing content on Facebook that talks about them starting the business because they couldn’t sell lies for a living anymore. 

If you take the time to research these “companies” and their sales reps, it’ll be a lot easier to make a wise decision. You have to realize that these types of people know how to lure you in. They were trained by the best. They use the same types of sales tactics that timeshare sales teams do.

How and Why Timeshare Experts Are Increasing.

Offering phony travel certificates help them generate business. Sweepstakes allow them to build pools of potential targets to market later on. State statute requirements are often ignored to chase sales. Even aggression and limited time offers are used to bait desperate owners. Unfortunately, this activity will continue to increase as the impact of the Coronavirus progresses.

At the end of the day, what experience do these pop-up sites have? When ex timeshare reps sell relief services by promising miracles, why do owners buy in? Other than the slighted conscious of selling timeshares, it doesn’t seem like they have much to offer. 

Just because someone used to work for a resort doesn’t mean they know how to help you get out of a timeshare contract. It actually means they’re experts at keeping you under contract. Anyone that lacks a reputation and tenure while offering cancellation, resale and new travel services shouldn’t be trusted. 

Timeshare Relief Isn’t Always What it Seems.

Bountiful scams that are predicated on timeshare relief often have 2-3 operations that work in unison. The first step is convincing vacation owners to resell or rent their property. Once these efforts are exhausted, further efforts (often from sister companies) attempt to sell owners on cancellation and a new travel option. Pulling off all three is easier when scam artists work together to maximize profits.

While it’s difficult to insinuate that any new timeshare exit company is capable of something like this, it can be very telling if they promote relief in all of these areas. Aside from zero credibility, this is something that should immediately draw a red flag. Most timeshare owners see this as a perk but it most certainly is not. If you have heart problems, would you visit a Facebook doctor that does everything or call a cardiologist?

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Further Insight on Facebook Timeshare Relief.

While this scenario may seem like an innocent ex-timeshare rep selling relief services on Facebook, there could be more to the picture. This is why researching your options is crucial. When website links published on business listings are redirected to another URL, it’s likely nothing more than an affiliate marketer making a profit off of your information. Any website creator can change links and redirect clicks anywhere they want to cover digital trails of deceit.

In other words, social media based timeshare agencies are more than likely paid a commission for leads. Many timeshare relief companies pay third party contractors to carry out their sales methods. So no matter who’s selling you the service, someone else usually takes over. 

Each of these sales agents are given certain resources to engage and persuade potential clients. Duplicate website templates (design) and marketing lingo is very common in the exit marketplace. Not only does this provide legal protection, but it gives the ringleaders an ability to pivot the operation at any given time.

Who Is Really Helping Owners with Relief?

Changing company names and hiring different sales representatives keeps unethical agencies on the move and difficult to track down. Since all of the agencies we researched had a multitude of altered links, there’s no telling where the information of timeshare owners is really going. Although it’s hard to tell if these overnight “shell operations” are on a Facebook agency as a part of a larger scam, nothing tells us they are not. 

Vague and loaded promises on altered websites isn’t a good look. There’s little transparency. The way everything is set up and managed is very suspicious. This is where common sense comes in handy. At this point, they’d need to provide an extensive amount of evidence to convince us that there isn’t a hidden ploy. If you smell smoke, there’s probably a fire somewhere.

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Ex Timeshare Reps Are Selling Relief Services.

Desperate timeshare experiences usually call for desperate measures. It’s safe to say that we can all agree that our country hasn’t seen this much desperation in a long time. The timeshare industry has been thriving and many salespeople have been making a killing for decades. Now that many have lost the income that supports their lavish lifestyle, who knows what they’ll do next. But it’s got to be tempting to continue targeting timeshare owners.

Understanding this element of vacation ownership will help you avoid further despair. Many vacation owners call us to inquire about certain services but don’t always like what we have to say. It’s not that we enjoy being critical – we just hate seeing people burned because they didn’t research the service themselves. No matter what you believe, it’s always important to have a plan B if it doesn’t work out. 

We’ve been experts in timeshare termination since 2014. We understand what it takes to get rid of timeshare obligations. Not only can we prove it, but our clients are more than willing to support our cause. We’d like to be seen as a good friend that tells you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear. Doing so helps you fully understand your options. During a pandemic, a Free Consultation could be the breath of fresh air that you need.

Hyatt Residence Club Publishes Statement on COVID-19.

Hyatt Residence Club Publishes Statement on COVID-19.

As our country’s lockdown progresses, more timeshare companies are publishing news releases to speak on the impact of the Coronavirus. No matter who we’ve covered over the past few weeks, all resorts seem to be singing the same tune. The Hyatt Residence Club is the latest conglomerate to promote patience and appears to be pointing blame at the government for induced inconveniences. In the meantime, vacation owners are waiting in limbo for answers on how they’re to use their expensive interval in the future. 

Even though the purchase may not have been a burden in the past, it most certainly can be viewed that way today. Millions of people are jobless and grounded and it’s only a matter of time before those experiencing hardship speak out. Expecting them to wait on something they’ve spent a lot of money on isn’t exactly realistic. But for whatever reason, timeshare companies continue insisting that owners should stop worrying and focus on “what’s most important right now.” 

How Hyatt Residence Club is Following Suit.

Keep in mind, the above quote comes directly from a recent COVID-19 statement made by Hyatt Residence Club. Apparently, the obvious cost of ownership isn’t worth considering right now. It’s almost as if buyers are supposed to accept that the perpetual agreement they signed gives them no choice but to adhere. While it’s nearly impossible to speak on all timeshare contracts, we do find it hard to believe that most are binding during a global travel ban and resort closings. So why is there no wiggle room here?

When you take the time to assess the strategies behind the timeshare industry, you’ll quickly realize that decisions rarely benefit timeshare owners. Whether it be an increase in maintenance fees or unexpected assessment charges, resorts clearly have an agenda: To make a lot of money. Vacation ownership is one of the easiest ways for them to guarantee income. Binding contracts always allow them to spread out costs or losses so their obligations remain low.

Timeshare Companies Want to Avoid Complaints.

To resorts, vacation ownership only becomes a hindrance when a majority of buyers complain. This is why they usually downplay disappointment or concern and blame other factors for the poor experience. Hyatt’s opening statement regarding COVID-19 clearly avoids the financial strain their agreements could be causing. 

It says, “We understand you have a lot on your mind. You’re facing unprecedented disruptions to your day-to-day life — and your vacations.” Instead of acknowledging that the customer’s primary concern is the cost of ownership (and no return), they’d rather distract and deflect. The intent of this introduction is to establish a sense of understanding or empathy and is followed up by an attempt to garner trust.

“We are here to help, with the most current information on reservation flexibility.” But if you really read between the lines here, information is the only guarantee. It seems like Hyatt Residence Club believes this is all they owe timeshare owners. Their promise is to provide up-to-date information regarding the “Novel COVID Virus.” Nothing in the publication actually communicates a plan to aid their primary customer with relief, rewards, benefits or any type of restitution. They simply ask for patience.

Are Hyatt Cancellation Policies Really Altered?

While the response is quite vague, Hyatt Residence Club did mention adjustments to their cancellation policy* (see below). This is something other resorts have yet to address. Truth be told, many timeshare owners have been penalized for untimely reservation cancellations while quarantined – waiving their right to use the property in 2020. Although it’s refreshing to see an olive branch being extended for those stuck at home, we’re still not sure what this actually entails (as a login is required). 

What’s Really Important to Hyatt Residence Club?

No matter what Hyatt thinks, telling timeshare owners to “pause now [and] play later” probably won’t sit too well with most. Even though resorts are losing money, those that were looking forward to a vacation (that they already paid for) can’t be too happy. But if you’re a Hyatt Residence Club owner, the resort only wants you to focus on, “taking care of yourself and those closest to you,” right now. 

But what if you need to get out of a timeshare in order to do so? What if the financial burden isn’t allowing you to focus on important things – like your family? These are all questions owners shouldn’t have to ask. Listen, nobody thought a global lockdown would last this long, but buyers shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill.

How Long Will Timeshare Owners Wait For Answers?

At the end of the day, timeshare companies are fully aware of the hindrance their perpetual agreements cause. Unfortunately, it seems as though most are content with blaming the outbreak, government, CDC, W.H.O. and the timeshare owners themselves for the current hardship they may be enduring

The longer they’re able to buy themselves time and keep owners in limbo, the better the outcome will be – for them. It’s why their salutations include stuff like “we’re in this together,” when it’s not even close. In the meantime, Hyatt Residence Club (and the timeshare industry as a whole) could easily debunk this with adequate updates that actually address the current concerns of many timeshare owners. We’ve heard from plenty over the past few months.

Maybe ARDA could even take the time to shed light on anything that timeshare owners would find valuable. After all, they claim to represent more than 1.5 million timeshare owners. Since vacation owners pay them a fee alongside maintenance costs, it would seem they’d be inclined to keep owners informed. It can’t be easy to make payments if you’re struggling financially from COVID-19.

What Should Owners Ask and What Can They Do?

Many questions remain unanswered. Will Hyatt Residence Club reimburse the annual dues of those that couldn’t use their timeshare? Will they free up the inventory that’s sold to Expedia and Priceline for their owners? Or will they continue to profit off the general public, making it even more difficult to find availability? How are they ensuring the timeshare offers a safe environment when an approved cure for COVID-19 doesn’t exist? 

While we wait for the industry to respond accordingly, we urge vacation owners to publicly share any information that might help somebody else. If you’re a Hyatt Residence Club member and you’re not sure “what your vacations are about” anymore than we’re always available for a free consultation.

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How Might Timeshare Owners Respond to a Pandemic?

How Might Timeshare Owners Respond to a Pandemic?

Social distancing has been a worldwide phenomenon for more than a month now. Billions of people are grounded, waiting on government aid to revitalize their hope. Now that the Coronavirus has everyone’s attention, certain expenses are being looked at through a different lens. Decisions are being made to a different tune. It’s difficult for anyone to know just how different the post-pandemic era will be. While it may be easy for most to cut costs, it’s not that simple for timeshare owners. So how might timeshare owners respond to a pandemic?

Over the past few months, we’ve discussed a number of possibilities that could make vacation ownership worse. Unexpected events, like job loss, medical emergencies or natural disasters could eventually place buyers in a really big pickle during a really tough time. Especially if they’re not even able to use the purchase. But aside from what you could expect or what to be leery of, it’s important to understand your options

Far too many struggling timeshare owners are predictable when it comes to finding relief. At the same time, it’s not exactly their fault. Some have an inaccurate or vague understanding of their perpetual agreement. They might even believe options like resale or buy-backs exist because of what they were told at the point of sale. Unfortunately, misleading presentations aren’t uncommon in the industry. After owners realize they’ve been misinformed or lied to, their desire to get out of the agreement usually grows. What’s interesting is most timeshare owners respond the same way. Let us explain.

What Might Timeshare Owners Be Thinking?

Looking through the lens of the consumer in these situations not only helps us understand how we can help, but also how to avoid further letdown. Oftentimes we speak to owners that simply need advice on something they’re considering for relief. Pressuring people to cancel the contract isn’t always in their best interest. Knowing what you’ve been sold and where to look in the contract for answers allows you to make intelligent decisions regarding your timeshare.

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With that being said, many of you are currently holding onto the hope that vacation ownership isn’t a mistake. As we’ve highlighted in our recent news articles, most resorts have talked about bouncing back better than ever before. Although they haven’t directly addressed how this might affect you, you’re trusting the timeshare will reward you for your patience. While the resort will most certainly appreciate your loyalty, it’s difficult to say if they’ll be eager to reward you.

THE PANDEMIC SHOULD ELICIT BETTER DECISION MAKING.

Based on the history of our clients, many of them hold out hope for the purchase to turn around. They’re told one promise after another, sometimes investing thousands more, only to find themselves back where they started – with a higher expenditure. Although our intent isn’t to mistake your loyalty for ignorance, we encourage you to reach out to your resort for clarity. If there are major changes to availability or fees increase, will the purchase still be worth it

We talk to thousands of people that wish they would have taken action sooner. This is why it’s so important that you think things through. Especially when it comes to an expense of this magnitude. Why wouldn’t you want to know if there is a way for you to suspend payments if hardship were to strike? If these programs end up costing you thousands of dollars in interest will it be worth it? 

Ask them what they would do if timeshare owners respond to the pandemic in a negative manner. Find out how they prepare to manage priority bookings in the future. Let them know you’re interested in all of the benefits they have to offer. But if you’re thinking about trusting a sales organization to do what’s “right” when they’re losing millions – you might want to think things through.

Thought 1:  I’ll Just Sue the Timeshare Company.

Before the pandemic even arrived, some of you may have already been frustrated with a timeshare purchase. While some see value in the vacation package, others feel like they’ve been forced to carry the burden for far too long. The Coronavirus will probably be the last straw on the camel’s back for many. But no matter how upset you are or how bad you think you’ve been screwed, you must proceed with caution

Aiming to hire an attorney and file a class action lawsuit isn’t always fruitful. An average lawyer just isn’t equipped to battle a timeshare company in court. Even those experienced in timeshare litigation struggle to keep pace. Unless you have visible evidence of sales fraud and you’re able to afford the legal process, then you could lose an awful lot of money. Many timeshare owners have.

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While lawyers do their best to represent you, timeshare companies have unlimited funds and elite legal teams that know how to use the contract against you. Even most sales laws benefit timeshare companies. Some states currently have an unlimited cap for assessment fees. Unfortunately, successfully suing the resort because your maintenance fees skyrocketed or a special assessment arrived in the mail is highly unlikely. Your contract says it all. 

Thought 2:  I’ll Just Walk Away From Payments.

Once timeshare owners realize that a class action lawsuit requires a lot of work, evidence, capital and patience – they often have the urge to refuse making payments. Look, we totally understand why. Anyone that’s been taken advantage of by a company they’re paying, no matter the number of occurrences, would find it difficult to be honorable. The binding agreement can seem meaningless when the other party doesn’t meet their end of the bargain. 

No matter how good it might feel to stick it to the timeshare company, it’s important that you don’t take a contract breach lightly. This is why we always recommend adamant communication with the resort. This at least proves that you tried. When you stop paying for the timeshare, it really stacks the odds against you. While you may not hear from the resort for a few months (or even years), you can most certainly expect they will come calling. 

Timeshare owners that think they’ve gotten away scott free are often surprised at some point with a series of ultimatums. Although the expense may vanish from your current balance sheet, it could require quite a bit of cash to settle out down the road. Are you willing to work something out with the resort or legally cancel the agreement now – or would you rather take your chances at the possibility of facing judgements, past due fees, interest and legal costs to name a few? Walking away from an expensive binding contract can be extremely devastating.

Thought 3:  I’ll Just Resell My Timeshare.

Timeshare owners that are able to quickly overcome their emotions tend to look for ways to recuperate their loss. Many immediately turn to resale platforms to see how they can make money leasing or selling their weekly interval. If you search on Google, you’ll find hundreds of resale options that seem promising. The problem is, there just isn’t a market for timeshares. When people are selling them for a little as $1 on eBay, it should be rather telling.

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Sadly, many vacation owners look at this as a safe way to endure the regret of the purchase and at least break even on the expense. But when a buyer doesn’t come knocking and nobody rents the condo then they’re back where they started. Some even invest in other platforms or pay for ads to increase exposure. But they just can’t get rid of them. Most timeshare buyers are aggressively sold at a timeshare presentation that they’re incentivised to attend. Almost no one is actively looking to purchase one. Especially now that vacation rental is huge. 

Not only can resale be a waste of time, but it can also be extremely costly. A number of online scams prey on vulnerable timeshare owners. This is also true in the exit industry. They’re definitely waiting to see how timeshare owners respond to a pandemic. Tons of tactics are used in the 3rd party marketplace. Some even use the names of real businesses to operate the fraud. So don’t let the pandemic lead you to haste. One of the worst things you can do is hand money to someone that isn’t really interested in selling, renting or canceling your timeshare. 

Thought 4: An Advocate Program Will Help.

Whether timeshare owners are burned by resale programs or pass on them, most simply want to find someone they can trust. At this point in their thought process, they’ve realized that working with someone who can represent them and advocate on their behalf is probably best. The problem is, many of these types of programs are similar to inadequate attorneys and even relief scams.

At the end of the day, an advocate simply communicates your plea or request in a professional manner. It’s the glorified way of making a demand so to speak. There is no guarantee, if at all, that this sways the timeshare company to respond in your favor. Even if you’re experiencing hardship. While we’d like to think timeshare companies will aid owners if restrictions last most of 2020, it’s highly unlikely. 

So advocate programs shouldn’t be valued any more today than they have been. If anything, there will probably be an increase in advocate scams during this time. When you have a strong case, you should seek some sort of legal consultation. But if you’re looking for a way to get out of a timeshare contract, then a professional company will benefit you the best. There’s no need to waste thousands of dollars with an unproven solution. 

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Thought 5: I’ll Just Give the Timeshare Away.

Most people wouldn’t donate a timeshare due to the burden or out of desperation. So it’s hard to assume this is crossing many people’s minds right now. But for those that are thinking about doing so, donating or giving away a weekly interval is risky for two reasons. Not only could a transfer scam leave the timeshare deed in your name, but the donation could cause the recipient additional financial problems. What happens if the party you gave the timeshare to wants to give it back?

In the middle of this pandemic, it won’t be surprising to see a high number of timeshare owners looking to discharge their contract or escape the burden altogether. But it’s important that you don’t act irrationally and simply hope for the best. The last thing timeshare owners need is further penalties during an economic standstill.

Thinking about these types of decisions and your timeshare options is one of the best things you can do right now. Not all timeshare owners respond to a pandemic the same way. But helping everyone keep a level head so nobody throws away money is important to us at VOC. If you happen to have any questions about our qualification process or your timeshare contract, you can always schedule a free consultation to learn more.

Will the Pandemic End Up Like an Unexpected Assessment for Vacation Owners?

Will the Pandemic End Up Like an Unexpected Assessment for Vacation Owners?

A global pandemic isn’t exactly something you can anticipate or really even prepare for. Within weeks, each of our lives have been altered in some way shape or form. No matter how social you were before, we’re all getting used to the disappearance of familiar faces and places. It seems like it was just yesterday that our time was dominated by busy routines and ulterior motives. Now, we’re faced with quite a bit of unknown. As a timeshare owner, you may have no idea what to do.

If there’s one thing that’s for certain though, it’s that a number of cost cutting measures will take place across the globe. Whether you’re the head of the household or a corporate CEO, you’re probably going to have to make some decisions regarding your bottom line at some point down the road. You might be forced to sacrifice some of the things – or even relationships – that you’ve grown accustomed to over the years just to pay the bills

The Result of a Global Budgetary Analysis.

As people scramble to find a way to make money during a stand still, it’s going to be difficult for them to ignore an overzealous budget. As a result, many will abruptly eliminate unnecessary spending habits to find immediate financial relief – creating a giant snowball effect that causes even more problems for others. When a large percentage of the population stops buying luxury items, those supplying these products and services will suffer – as will their employees.

While essential businesses will more than likely thrive during this time, some don’t even know how they’re going to survive. Billion dollar corporations that used to swim in their daily harvest are now barely able to rake in any type of revenue. Some are getting creative while others simply throw millions at online advertising, hoping it sticks. Either way, many will eventually look to take extreme measures to overcome extreme losses and sustain profitability. Oftentimes, this comes at the expense of loyal customers.

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Should Timeshare Owners Be Worried?

Most large purchases include financial options that aid consumers during a crisis or hardship. For the most part, companies are willing to work with their customers to ensure payments continue and collection or legal actions are avoided. This is happening even more frequently today as millions of people struggle to cover their expenses. At the same time, some operations are leaning on their contractual agreements to pull them through rough waters. 

To date, it seems like timeshare companies are sticking to the strategy that’s allowed them to rise to a state of prominence that many will never attain. In other words, it would surprise us to see timeshare resorts treat a global pandemic like a disadvantage to them – not necessarily their owners. You see, most view the decision to purchase a timeshare as a binding one. This means, through thick and thin or for better or worse if you will.

Whether you like it or not, you have to think of a timeshare purchase like that of a house or car. If someone unexpectedly changes all of the locks to your house, you can’t expect the bank to pay for the locksmith or a hotel stay. If your pool gets struck by lightning and the foundation is cracked then the homeowners association won’t buy you a season pass to the waterpark. You’re forced to deal with the cards you were dealt, in the house you chose to purchase. While a timeshare is literally nothing like a permanent residence, the resort will unfortunately view it this way because of the contract you signed.

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Why the Cost of Vacation Ownership Could Rise.

Over the years, many of our clients have hired us because they can’t even use their timeshare. The resort’s lack of compassion has already frustrated tens of thousands of buyers. If those with unexpected health conditions or financial problems haven’t been able to get out of timeshares in the past, is there actually a reason to believe this will change? Is it really plausible to think they’re going to bail out contracted owners when their entire operation is shut down?

Truth be told, COVID-19 has probably hurt the hospitality industry more than anyone. Resorts are completely empty, forcing many to let go of key members of their staff. It’s not exactly the perfect scenario for timeshare companies to have a change of heart. So as you continue paying while waiting for your timeshare to take care of you, it’s important that you consider the papertrail

When unexpected incidents occur at resorts, timeshare owners often foot the bill. No matter the level of inconvenience it causes, buyers are forced to adhere and wait for resolve. After all, it’s what they signed up for – even if you didn’t know. So for those of you that are wondering how your timeshare may handle this global pandemic, the best place to look is how they handle assessment fees

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Special Assessments Are Never Convenient.

If you’re hearing about assessments for the first time, just know you’re not alone. A good portion of first time buyers aren’t even aware of annual maintenance fees. So when an unexpected event occurs at the resort, they’re normally caught off guard when they receive an invoice. One of the most common scenarios involves natural disasters.

Unexpected Natural Disasters Are A Good Example.

People that purchase a timeshare vacation in a tropical destination rarely think about the possibility of a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, flood or even volcanic eruption. Even if they did, most assume they can travel around the occurrence. When you’re not a resident of susceptible areas, it can be difficult to know just how damaging a natural disaster can be. Either way, would they still make the purchase if they knew repair costs from natural disasters (in the form of an assessment) would be spread out amongst owners? 

The problem with the timeshare sale is that most agents don’t fully disclose all obligations. Timeshare companies aren’t concerned with their buyer’s budget when the property is damaged and unusable. If they did then, they wouldn’t ask for thousands of dollars in a matter of months or refuse access to anyone that doesn’t comply. What makes matters worse is resorts have been known to invest in shoddy repairs just to get the property back open for business. This was apparent in Houston when barricades didn’t stop the ocean from taking over the shoreline.

Owner Obligations Benefit the Resort.

Due to their contract, owners have to cover assessment costs in order to avoid a breach and further penalties. Aside from an inability to access what they paid for, they’re forced to cover the costs of a property that they truly don’t own. If you’re not prepared for something like this, it can be rather devastating financially. Kind of like a global pandemic. 

When unsettled owners complain about the inconvenience, most are met with a straightforward answer. They’re simply told that they should have known the risks of the area during the purchase and that they signed a binding agreement they’re obligated to honor. At the end of the day, timeshare owners help the resort maintain an income during an unexpected phase of construction repairs. So who’s to say they won’t lean on timeshare owners now?

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Hopefully Timeshare Companies Change.

Although it’s hard to tell exactly what will occur, it’s always best to be prepared for the worst. For all we know this could be over in a matter of months. If it is, timeshare companies may not have to do much to make inconvenience go away. But if the hospitality industry is shut down for a long time, desperate times may elicit desperate measures. While you may be hopeful about your timeshare contract now, it could get rather costly in the near future.

With that being said, we’ve found that a global pandemic has given us an opportunity to educate hundreds of timeshare owners across the country. Many of you are worried right now – and rightfully so – but clarity can go a long way. Speaking with a professional team that isn’t force-feeding you a solution can be extremely beneficial during this time. Just remember, one of our consultants is only a phone call away. If you’ve decided to commit to canceling your agreement, then you can always fill out one of our eligibility forms below.

What Vacation Owners Could Expect in the Aftermath of a Pandemic.

What Vacation Owners Could Expect in the Aftermath of a Pandemic.

Today, our world is nearly at a standstill as the aftermath of a pandemic looms. But most Americans can’t think about potential outcomes right now as they’re forced to focus on the here and now. No matter the precautions that have been put into place, every city seems to be caught off guard by the virus. Now that the unexpected has impacted thousands, U.S. citizens are beginning to safeguard their lives. With travel restrictions and local ordinances in place, we don’t have much of a choice. Whether you believe this is tip-toeing on Marshall Law or wish more people would stay home, each of us will be affected by the aftermath of a pandemic differently.

Unfortunately for those of you with timeshares (like we mentioned in our past few articles), this may not be the best time to be an owner. Just prepare yourself for that. It’s going to be awfully difficult to accommodate millions of travelers once limitations are lifted. If you’re already frustrated with the reservation system, then it’s safe to say your pain will more than likely resume. While we hope that timeshare companies will start putting their buyer’s needs first, it’s hard to know if this will ever be a reality. 

The Financial Impact of a Pandemic is Real.

No matter how many times the industry stubs their toe, they insist on continuing down the same path – in a rather aggressive manner. Their ability to keep timeshare owners under contract has secured them multi-billion-dollar profits every year for a long time now. Nothing about their sales presentations tells us they care about a fair deal. Now that our country is on the verge of a post-pandemic era, this becomes even more concerning. Fair or not, there will be buyers that won’t be able to afford their timeshare anymore. You might even be realizing this right now.

The Coronavirus pandemic has really wreaked havoc on our economy. Business closings, due to finances or a non-essential distinction, have altered a lot of lives. Industries that were thriving have been totally shut down. School closings have forced millions of families to find care for their children. Those that are still working may face difficulties getting to work – if they rely on public transportation. Job loss or an inability to find an income really urges people to take a long look at their spending habits.

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Budget cuts are going to have to be made for most people and businesses. But what happens when timeshare owners can’t escape the costly burden of their purchase? Will resorts really follow through with collection attempts, judgements and foreclosures? Do they really think owners will pay for a weekly interval they can’t use – in the middle of a financial crisis? While it’s easy to assume timeshares will care more about the loss they incur, there is always room for optimism. It’s been said that Hilton recently offered buy-backs, but we’ve yet to analyze the terms.

What to Expect After it’s All Said and Done.

Although it may be difficult to make a timeshare payment right now, facing reality can help you avoid a number of devastating outcomes. At some point, the resort has to acknowledge the aftermath of a pandemic. Staying in communication with them is the best thing you can do – even if making payments isn’t an option. This at least shows the effort was there

As our nation aims to get a handle on the outbreak, we have to understand that damage will be done. Being proactive and preparing for setbacks not only helps you act wisely but understand your options. Many of you have been ready for something like this and others have not. Either way, how you respond to this can determine how the next few years of your life goes. Truth be told, timeshares should be thinking the same way. With that being said, here’s what we see happening in the timeshare industry in the aftermath of a pandemic like this.

1. Timeshares Labeled Non-Essential.

As we walk into an unknown time of recession, how many buyers will simply stop paying for their timeshare? Like we mentioned before, you’d think it’d be an easy decision if it had to be made. The problem is, a decision to walk away doesn’t just affect them. While the timeshare company may come after the breaching owner for contractual obligations, annual maintenance and assessment fees still need to be paid. This falls squarely on the remaining owners group. 

The thing is, others might be facing similar financial hardships themselves. So the snowball effect can be rather burdensome. Even if resorts are able to find new buyers (which is extremely costly for them by the way), the loss from cancellations and contract infringement is hard to ignore. If the industry is desperate for new owners now, there’s no telling what they’ll do in the aftermath of a pandemic.

If history repeats itself, timeshare companies will surely remarket their users with enticing upgrades to increase profits. Sadly, this tends to negatively impact senior citizens the most. If a drastic decline in payments occurs because timeshare owners view the purchase as non-essential, then further financial consequences can be expected for those who remain loyal. Are you prepared to carry this burden?

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2. New Hospitality Health Standards.

In the aftermath of a pandemic like the Coronavirus, one can’t help but assume the hospitality industry will improve health and wellness standards. There’s no way we’ll ever know how many people contracted the virus from a hotel stay or their timeshare vacation. At this point in time, health standards for hotels, condos and even vacation rentals are basically self regulated. While there are rules, regulations and inspections in place for every state, it’s nowhere near where it needs to be. 

Improved health regulations will be a big win for all, but it’ll be rather costly for timeshare owners. Most travelers won’t care about paying a few extra dollars per night when they know it’s going towards overall cleanliness. The peace of mind is usually worth it. But when millions of dollars is poured into a resort for maintenance and wellness improvements, the annual fees for vacation owners can increase significantly.

There are also a few other items worth considering. If new health standards are implemented for the hospitality industry, are you prepared to pay for a special assessment? Have you ever heard of this or know what it means? This could be extremely costly if there is a surge in legal timeshare cancellations. 

Will all of this force timeshare companies to start assisting aging owners that develop disabilities, health conditions or an inability to make decisions? All of these things need to be considered before assuming a healthier environment actually bodes well for you – financially.

3. Heirs Will Be Opportunistic.

When it’s all said and done, I think we can all agree that the COVID-19 virus has impacted the elderly population the most. As we’ll find out, some of those that have lost their life were timeshare owners. This means, heirs will have to eventually decide what to do with the weekly interval. Some of which aren’t even notified until a mass amount of fees have racked up due to deceased payments. Even when a life is lost, the timeshare industry shows little regard. 

When it comes to inheriting something like this, most people are pretty eager to use it. Those that aren’t privy to the product tend to be extremely vulnerable – and timeshare companies know it. They’ll be more than happy to lower your parent’s (or original owner’s) penalties if you upgrade. While a majority of people will see this as opportunistic, salesmen only see them as an opportunity to make more money.

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In the aftermath of a pandemic, where we lose thousands of seniors, many heirs will find themselves in this predicament. A good part of deeded ownership is outdated because timeshares now prefer selling points. While aged contracts are pretty straightforward (specific week and unit at specific property), most point contracts work a strategic legal plan to deed the points through trusts with perpetual beneficiaries. If you inherit an aged timeshare contract, then you can expect to be pressured on a points program that better suits the resort.

4. A Severe Bottleneck for Traveling.

One of the main concerns for all timeshare owners right now should be availability. While a good number of travelers have had their timeshare vacations canceled over the past few weeks, plenty of people are waiting to see if their reservations will stand. Over time, this creates quite the queue. Who gets to go first? How will their allotted travel time be affected if the resort has to continue upending reservations? Will the resort be willing to halt retail bookings until vacation owners get what they’ve already paid for? 

Due to the screeching halt of the travel industry, we should all be expecting a drastic bottleneck to occur. Who knows how long it will last but the longer travel restrictions remain, the more difficult it’ll be for timeshare companies to win. Even if they make up a lot of lost money with maintenance and assessment fees

5. Vacation Resorts Will Suffer Loss.

Once timeshare companies start suffering tremendous losses, internal hits are inevitable. Long time employees and key staff members will be forced to pack their bags – at least for the time being. Hospitality chains simply can’t survive when tourists aren’t bustling and travelers aren’t filling their rooms. The lack of job security or fear of contracting the virus might even cause some employees to quit or look for other work. All of these things weaken hotel chains.

The problem with firing timeshare employees is the simple fact most former sales reps launch fraudulent exit programs in an effort to sustain their lavish lifestyle. In a time like this where we’re nearing the aftermath of a pandemic, timeshare owners are going to be more desperate than ever. During the financial crash a decade ago, a number of former sales reps launched illegal transfer schemes where they’d let Shell corps dissolve and leave the owners with the financial burden years later. If sales teams lose their jobs, it’s not a reach to say history could repeat itself.

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Say the hospitality industry is affected by this for a long time, how are timeshare owners impacted? Will resorts continue to rely on them to burden the cost while they pocket billions of dollars? Will they ask for more? Will it force them to finally find a way to offer an affordable vacation – even if they can only make $500 million? Only time will tell. But in the aftermath of a pandemic like the Coronavirus outbreak, it’s hard to know what to expect.

Vacation Ownership Consultants.

While there’s nothing more that we want than for timeshare owners to enjoy their vacations, we understand this can be a tough time for you. Sometimes, you just need to know how to exhaust all of your options with the resort. At VOC, our goal isn’t to close you on our cancellation service. We’d rather help you find the best path to a logical solution. You can schedule a FREE consultation anytime or proceed with our qualification form below.

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