Every year, the tantalizing nature of timeshare presentations lead thousands of consumers to believe they’ve bought into a fraction of paradise. Sadly, a good portion of these fractional owners quickly find out the mirage-like purchase isn’t quite what they expected. What makes life even more difficult is their inability to exit the contract they signed. While you might be thinking a timeshare settlement will force the resort to surrender, it’s important that you fully understand what you’re up against.
First of all, if you haven’t already noticed, it is extremely difficult to get out of a timeshare. A majority of buyers try to negotiate with the resort to make the purchase worthwhile only to find themselves enslaved by additional contracts and the same dissatisfaction. Even when owners turn to third party solutions, they have a hard time finding an ethical service that actually cares about relieving them of their timeshare woes. Hopefully you haven’t had to pay a few rounds of upfront costs without resolve in order to realize a bulk of the industry is purposed to keep you under contract.
Why is it Difficult to Get Rid of Timeshares?
In order to persevere through the deceit and come out on top, fractional owners need to understand why it’s so difficult to exit timeshare contracts. Once you’re locked into an agreement, you’re nothing more than residual income and an up-sell opportunity to the resort. To them, your decision to buy is a gift that keeps on giving. If you think they’re just going to let everyone with regrets walk away, think again. For the most part, they own all the leverage.
At the same time, the timeshare’s income statement isn’t the only thing impacted every time vacation owners exit contracts. One of the many ways resorts collect from their buyers is through annual maintenance and assessment fees. When one high-paying customer is relieved of their agreement, the remaining high-paying customers pay for it. They’ve kind of learned how to operate with their best interests in mind even when a timeshare settlement occurs.
Since most buyers already question the makeup of annual fees, they’re never happy when the total amount due continues to rise. When coupled with other frustrations, it may be the tipping point that motivates them to dump their contract too. This is the last thing timeshare companies want. The problem is, they end up focusing more on collecting payments than providing a positive experience.
Timeshare Companies Usually Balk at Settlements
Financial hardships or dissatisfaction by the consumer isn’t as important as the livelihood of the timeshare. Especially when grumblings by owners place its future at stake. You have to remember that timeshare companies are built to trap their buyers. They’re in business because of their ability to sell, not serve.
Unless you have proof of being misled during the presentation, you’re more than likely stuck without a legal advantage. At the same time, we don’t want to discourage you or tell you a timeshare settlement is unattainable. If you’re in a position where you find yourself at odds with the vacation conglomerate, then we’d like to help you reach your goal of parting ways. So, here are a few things you can expect and some of the outcomes that can transpire.
What to Expect Before a Timeshare Settlement.
If you’re going to pursue a timeshare settlement then you have to understand that the opportunity to do so probably won’t surface until the resort is put in a position to offer one up. This normally takes an extensive amount of documentation. For example, if you’re literally unable to make anymore payments, you have to be able to prove it. But not just one time. You’ll probably have to repeatedly plead your case until someone hears you out.
Once someone begins to listen, you can’t let your guard down. You must realize the inevitable goal of the call, for them, is to persuade you to stay. Even if the salesperson seems genuine, expect to be put through a retention process that’s focused on sales. Upgrade options and additional perks will be offered to you as “solutions.”
Timeshare Companies Like to Dictate Solutions
No matter how far you get in the process, it normally ends with the resort asking you to satisfy your outstanding mortgage before they do anything. Even after you do so, they request further payments to finalize the timeshare settlement. It can be maddening to believe you’re making progress only to find yourself back at square one. This is why you’ll need to make a scene before anyone will take you seriously. Owners that let the resort continuously dictate outcomes typically find themselves making irrational decisions out of desperation.
Anything and everything you say can and will be used against you. When you mean what you say and remain in control of the timeshare settlement then they’re forced to acknowledge your demands as valid. The total expense of fractional ownership can easily outweigh the mortgage. In their eyes, you’re eliminating decades worth of annual fees, taxes and other revenue streams. Their idea of a settlement may be totally different than yours. That’s why you must get them to understand it’s in their best interest to meet in the middle and move on.
Approach a Timeshare Settlement Confidently.
Think of it like handling a credit card debt. No bank willingly forgives a debt because someone lost their job and can’t pay. They have a well-oiled collection machine in place to stress you into continued payments. They always seem to find a way to profit from someone else’s inconvenience. Well, unless they have reason to believe a costly legal process could ensue if a timeshare settlement isn’t reached. Filing a legal action to recoup losses is expensive and they know their attempts may fail. Once your threats are taken seriously, it’s very likely they’ll take what they can get.
At the same time, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Timeshare companies usually have a few tricks up their sleeve. At the end of the day, they are creditors that you owe money to. Expect them to act the same way collection agencies do and try to collect as much as possible. Realize you’ll be very lucky to settle with them for free. But if you’re one of the few that obtains a reasonable response from the resort, it’s important to understand how to negotiate with them. One wrong move can reset the process.
Accepting a Reasonable Timeshare Settlement.
If your efforts result in a proposed settlement, try to mull it over with an open mind. Also try to leave your emotions out of it. Unless you have some serious dirt on the resort, you’re not going to get everything you ask for. The main thing you want to look for is some sort of language in the contract that relieves you of past, present and future financial obligations. While there may be some terms that benefit you, realize the timeshare probably does too.
During the sale, buyer possibilities are often highlighted more than actualities. This causes many to feel violated once they see what they actually signed up for. Some of our clients find contract details relating to future payment obligations and even charges based on a percentage of their principal mortgage balance.
Even if your signature waives the resort of any wrong-doing (or forbids you from suing or joining a class action lawsuit against them), a timeshare settlement is worth considering. Many buyers have already spent countless hours fighting the resort and other third party scams with nothing to show for it. They reach a point where there are willing to pay whatever just to eliminate the toll it could take on their credit.
While the agreement may not be ideal, the opportunity to settle and move on doesn’t happen often. For those willing to walk away from the timeshare out of principle, ask yourself if it’ll be worth the credit damage, collection calls, threats, late fees, deficiencies and judgements relating to lawsuits and other legal bills? If so, make sure you’re prepared to face the inevitable. But if you simply think the timeshare settlement is unfair, don’t forget you can always counter their offer. Although it’s very risky, it could work out in your favor.
Countering an Unfair Timeshare Settlement Offer.
What usually discourages owners from settling is a requirement to pay a fee equivalent to 1-5 years worth of maintenance fees and other surcharges. This is the resort’s attempt to cover costs while finding their next unsuspecting buyer through an incentivized solicitation. It can definitely be a tough pill to swallow, especially if you’re current on dues and the timeshare mortgage is paid off.
Because of this, it’s important to think logically before you proceed with a counter. You already have their attention and there’s no need to react emotionally and ruin your chances to get rid of the timeshare agreement. Remember, they are holding all the leverage with your signed contract. They can change their minds at any time. If you’re too aggressive, the timeshare settlement that’s on the table could increase or expire altogether.
Understand that the department handling your settlement acts similar to that of a third party collector. They have every right to rescind any offer if you offend them. They aren’t required to settle with you and removing names from the timeshare deeds, memberships or right-to-use contracts isn’t on their list of priorities. If they choose to collect a larger amount and create a sense of urgency for you to pay with stricter deadlines then there’s nothing you can do.
However, if you believe the timeshare settlement isn’t reasonable and you’re prepared to walk away without making payments then go for it. If you can force the timeshare into a position to render their proposition by ceasing to comply with the financial aspect of the ownership, it’s definitely worth considering.
Declining an Unreasonable Timeshare Settlement
Refusing an offer to exit vacation ownership can be tough. But sometimes, the proposition just doesn’t make sense. Your reason doesn’t have to be about money, we understand your stance on the principal of it all. However, before you reject a timeshare settlement out of pride, make sure you’re 100% okay with turning down an unusual opportunity to walk away in an amicable manner. It’s only going to get more ugly from here.
If you’re confident in your denial, then you’ll need to be prepared for some harassment from collectors and backlash from the timeshare company and its employees. While walking away can be risky, some owners simply realize they need someone to help them with the timeshare settlement. This is where we come in. It’s the first thing our attorney based cancellation service provides is a settlement attempt.
Every week, we process hundreds of inquiries by disgruntled timeshare owners. We understand your reasoning and why you’re firm on your demands. You only want what’s fair and you deserve it too. With that being said, try to put your emotions aside and look at the big picture. Weigh your options and truly make an informed decision that benefits your quality of life moving forward.
While we do specialize in terminating timeshare agreements, we always encourage buyers to do their best to reach an agreement with the resort. Diligence and patience can be invaluable during this type of scenario. When our clients are unable to settle with the timeshare on their own, the first thing we do is take over the process. We always have our client’s best interest in mind and an amicable timeshare settlement is always the best solution.
Concluding the Thought of Settling with the Timeshare.
Despite the straightforwardness of a timeshare settlement, there is one last thing you’ll want to consider before agreeing to anything. If you’ve financed maintenance dues or any portion of the original purchase through a third-party, then your obligation will remain with those lending institutions.
Often times, new owners are unknowingly signed up for third party financing on a branded timeshare credit card through Barclays or Comenity Bank. If you have a branded card, just flip it over and the financial institution will be listed on the back. This is separate from any settlement with the resort and you’ll need to manage this as well.
No matter what you decide to do, it’s always advantageous to have an experienced professional run through the terms of the settlement with you. Access to someone well-versed in communicating previous settlements with the same resort can be extremely fruitful. This blog is only the tip of the iceberg.
If you are unable to obtain a release from your timeshare, our cancellation services can help with everything mentioned above and more. We take pride in helping vacation owners exit contracts with clarity while being honest with them about their options. To learn more about our team and our client’s satisfaction, you can schedule a free consultation or proceed with a qualification form below.