The Timeshare Owner’s Perspective During the Sales Presentation.

The Timeshare Owner’s Perspective During the Sales Presentation.

Nearly every victim of a timeshare sale is on vacation when they make the purchase. Because of this, many eventually regret it. While it’s easy to blame the ignorance of their decision on a gullible mindset and the euphoria of their travels, it’s important that we take a second to look at things from the timeshare owner’s perspective. Although consumers do have an individual responsibility to make wise purchases, the presentation of products shouldn’t look to take advantage of them. 

Whether travelers are solicited to buy a timeshare at a tourist-heavy location (boardwalk, strip, shopping center, etc..) or around the resort, they tend to be instantly intrigued by the lure of free overnight stays, dinner vouchers, tickets and other attractions. Cut-throat salespeople are positioned in these places to talk people into exchanging their time for these gifts. Even if the offer is something inexpensive like $60 GatorLand passes, most people take the bait.

This is Where the Story of the Timeshare Sale Begins.

From the timeshare owner’s perspective, attending a “90-minute” presentation appeared to be a win-win scenario. Yea, they might miss out on some of their trip, but they’ll get to do something else, that sounds amazing, for free! Everyone likes free stuff, right? But fast forward 8 hours (yes, 8 hours later), and the presentation is still going. They’ve now sat through a manipulated podium presentation, listened to a number of misleading statements and find themselves exhausted and relatively confused.

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Just when they start thinking a timeshare may not be their cup of tea, a new sales guy offers another “today only deal worth listening to.” This could be justified due to their shirt being blue or it being Tuesday. Almost anything is usually said to make the attendee believe they’re in for an even better offer or that they are special. Because they’ve come this far, they usually continue listening to offers – hoping something makes it worth their time. But in the end, it simply wears them down while remorse begins to settle in.

At this point, most people feel like they have to get something out of the wasted day. How bummed would you be if you lost some of your vacation with nothing to show for it? This is exactly how timeshare sales teams want travelers to think. Even when the white flag is waved and they request the “free gift” for their time, most are met by another closer that finds a better way to relate to them. Many become so bogged down by information that they don’t even check contract terms. Some even feel forced to sign.

Analyzing The Perspective of a Timeshare Owner.

From the outside looking in, you might wonder why they don’t just walk away. But victims are strategically distracted from certain elements of the purchase and continuously presented with perks. It can be awfully difficult to see the drawback of the product from a new timeshare owner’s perspective. Especially when they’re uncertain if they want to let the “today only deals” they’ve been presented with expire. While it may not be financially ideal, they almost feel obligated to buy because they qualify.

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You see, the timeshare sales process is extremely methodical with a strong level of urgency. The time invested and the commitment to the spiel can be misleading in itself. Salespeople know who they can persuade and how to persuade them. Sales teams pair up with relatable attendees and relationships are forged. The new “friend” spends hours getting to know them and uncovers everything about their financials, family, interests in lifestyle. Pretending to care helps salespeople garner trust and close the deal.

How Else Are Sales Attendees Sold on Timeshares?

Knowing someone’s wife wants to go to the Bahamas or that an attending couple has family in Hawaii could aid them in closing. The idea of letting children or relatives use the timeshare week could also encourage people to buy in. Improved financing options for lower income families that help soften the monthly cost may also do the trick. Many sales teams have even been known to lie about revenue opportunities to get contracts signed. 

From a timeshare owner’s perspective, having an investment property and a new friend that can help him make money sounds like a sweet deal. Sales teams nudge them by asking, “You can see the value in this right?” Some people are even told points or property values will increase over time. But there’s really no way someone can prove this during a timeshare presentation as historical data proves this to be false. So when attendees fail to see the value, more aggressive measures typically ensue.

But, What Happens When They’re Still Not Interested?

When friendly sales don’t work and an attendee really just wants to go back to their hotel, the sales demeanor usually changes drastically. The presentation pivots from a helpful friend to a critical one. Quick jabs are often taken to convict them for walking away. “You can finally afford to take your family on vacation, don’t your children deserve to go on vacation?” This is where some people even feel like they owe their sales rep a purchase – because of how hard they worked on the deal. 

Or they might be told, “Don’t you want to take your parents on a trip before they pass away? You said they wanted to visit Maine.” “What about your wife? Don’t you think she deserves a treat every year for watching the kids while you work?” “Don’t you think your husband deserves an escape after working so hard?” “You guys look like you could use a vacation.” All of these statements really get under the skin of someone who’s already wasted an entire day.

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What to Do If You Want to Go Home.

At this point, the attendee’s perspective will become defensive or succumb to the relentless sales efforts. They’re either going to want to sign up for something or get their gift and go home. In order to exhaust every possibility of the sales presentation, let’s assume the attendees dodge every sales pitch and communicate a firm, “No” on several occasions. Even after another supposed “price drop”, they demand their gift. It’s been far longer than 90 minutes and they’re ready to go to bed and prepare for a day at GatorLand tomorrow.

The thing is, they’re now committed to getting these tickets. Which can take another 3-5 closers to receive. At some point in the process, they’re going to either be forced to leave the event empty handed or commit to some deal to get their gift. Once people are told they can always take advantage of the contract cancellation period, they usually sign up to execute the exchange. Sadly, the actual value of most free gifts don’t match the original perceived value and a majority of people aren’t aware the rescission period is less than a week (3 days in some states).

Signing Up to Escape the Presentation Usually Backfires

So in this example, the timeshare owner’s perspective is rather muddy at this point. In most cases, the buyer isn’t going to even look into the purchase until they get home. If they immediately return to work (or their normal routine) then it could be days or weeks before they even get around to it. By the time they do, they realize there were some restrictions to cashing in their voucher and the timeshare purchase is now perpetually binding. The entrapment of the presentation is to blame.

When the new buyer tries to get in touch with the friendly sales rep, they’re unable to connect. Days after the purchase settles in, the owner then discovers a secret compartment in the binder his salesman forgot to mention. It’s then that they realize all of the verbal promises made were lies. Things begin to be more clear and resentment starts to settle in. From a timeshare owner’s perspective, they’re a victim. Because of this, most people want revenge – but few are able to obtain it.

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The Struggle to Escape a Bad Timeshare Decision.

Unexpectedly finding yourself under contract can cause an aspiring determination to find restitution. But like many buyers, it only causes more trouble. Whether they walk away from timeshare payments, attempt to resell the property or look into cancellation, there are a number of pitfalls. Added costs with no resolve is common in this industry. Frantically guessing on where to turn for a solution leads many to scams. 

A sense of hopelessness, bitterness or anger can then settle in if the financial burden gets out of control. Especially if the unit itself is disappointing. Although many buyers are led to believe they have an affordable $15K contract over 10 years; interest rates (15-17.9%), travel costs and unexpected maintenance fees are also contractually binding. This can be a tough pill to swallow. 

After failing to find a way out, many are forced to look for a new way to make the most of the purchase. From the timeshare owner’s perspective, making some sacrifices to afford payments is better than fighting a battle where the odds are stacked against them. But if they struggle to book ideal dates or the destinations they were promised aren’t available, a tipping point is usually reached. And the cycle essentially never ends.

Making Wise Timeshare Decisions.

While there are plenty of ways this scenario can play out, it’s important to understand the purpose of this story. Signing up for a timeshare agreement may seem like an amazing opportunity, but there are a number of moving pieces that can make it a regrettable decision. We’ve published dozens of articles on this in hopes you can find the answers you’re looking for. 

Knowing what to expect during the entirety of this process can be the difference between an extensive setback or nothing at all.

Is the Timeshare Travel Strategy for COVID-19 Really What It Seems?

Is the Timeshare Travel Strategy for COVID-19 Really What It Seems?

Now that this pandemic has reached a point of no return, the general public has started to prepare for the aftermath of an economic crisis. Although timeshare companies were rather quiet during the first few weeks of the nation-wide quarantine, they’ve been adamantly working behind the scenes on a plan to sustain their business model. While most major resorts have communicated their losses, they haven’t said anything about the inconveniences their primary customers may face. So does this mean the timeshare travel strategy for COVID-19 won’t exactly be advantageous for vacation owners? 

Everything about the history of timeshare ownership tells us that this could be a frustrating time for interval buyers. Especially those that recently made the purchase this year. Can you imagine spending tens of thousands of dollars on a perpetual obligation that may not be usable anywhere in the near future? Why should you be forced to view a paid vacation as a loss? Even if consumers sign up for better or for worse, is the timeshare business model really worth protecting? While it’s not for us to say, we do know that millions of owners are currently in limbo awaiting answers.

Why Timeshare Owners Are Probably Getting Anxious.

So why do timeshare companies feel reassurement is the best choice of action? What makes them believe they’ll put high paying customers at ease by announcing more money will be spent on sanitation? How do announcements about resort layoffs help timeshare owners feel better about paying for something they can’t use? How long will they be able to buy time when the timeshare travel strategy for COVID-19 doesn’t even seem to include vacation owners.

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The timeshare industry, as a whole, racks in billions of dollars every year. No matter what they tell the public, it’s going to be hard for most timeshare owners to believe their loss is warranted. If maintenance fees rise or special assessments are billed for an influx in owners defaulting, then the average Joe (who’s probably drowning financially during the pandemic) is not going to be very happy – and rightfully so. Why should they be patient if the timeshare expense is a huge burden for them right now?

HOW ABOUT AN EXAMPLE?

Should Netflix subscribers be forced to pay their monthly dues if the internet went down? If you paid for a season pass at a zoo that caught fire, would you ask for a refund? Although these are significantly smaller dollar amounts, we can all agree that it would be bothersome to be on the hook amidst inconvenience on our end. Now imagine that the streaming bill or zoo visit cost you $350 per month. 

What if the website or zoo piled on maintenance fees at the end of the year (that you vaguely remember agreeing to)? How would a perpetual obligation to pay for these things make you feel? Imagine knowing your credit would be ruined or that judgments may be filed if you didn’t pay on time – in the middle of a global pandemic. Customer satisfaction would have to be at an all-time low.

Why Would Timeshare Travel Change It’s Strategy?

The thing about the timeshare industry is, morale hasn’t always been the best. Truth be told, complaints are often ignored. Every year, millions of dollars are wasted on lobbying and lawsuits to control public perception. Endorsers are paid to influence sales and politicians are rewarded for passing laws to their advantage. The billions of dollars in earnings haven’t been used to reward or serve their high paying timeshare owners. In other words, the timeshare travel strategy has always been self-serving – even before COVID-19.

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While we do recognize the industry as a business, it’s hard to justify their past actions towards the consumer. So why should we believe this will change during a crisis that directly affects their business? Over the last several weeks, we’ve taken the time to post a number of news articles about the current updates that timeshare companies have published online. We’ve spent a lot of time looking for hope for timeshare owners. But nothing has shown us change is in the near future

What Most Timeshare Resorts Are Saying About COVID-19.

After digging through dozens of news releases regarding timeshare travel and the Coronavirus, we’ve come to a few conclusions. First and foremost, it seems as though resorts are reaching out just to reach out. It’s as if they’re all saying the same thing. For the most part, it seems like the intent is to inform shareholders that there is a timeshare travel strategy in place. Communicating their ability to remain afloat through the storm seems to take precedence over anything else. 

Apparently, vacation owners are supposed to be content with their ability to use the resort when it’s all said and done. Promoting positivity and encouraging patience helps timeshare companies garner trust. Keeping owners in the dark distracts them from what could be seen as profiteering. What makes matters worse is the simple fact timeshare owners are not invested in the property. 

Buyers don’t have equity in the resort like that of a house. They don’t own it. So the types of announcements that resorts are publishing right now are worthless. No light is being shone on the real victims here. What this tells us is that hospitality chains are currently more concerned with brand equity than customer satisfaction – like they’ve always been. Why would they be when perpetual contracts guarantee income and eliminate retention.

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Informative Updates Turn to Public Relations Stunts.

Why should they care about their owners when they’re already obligated to pay? Vague news releases and updates give timeshare companies one thing – more time. When you think about it, a lack of disclosure is something they use quite often. Almost the entirety of the timeshare sales presentation is predicated on avoiding pertinent contract details. Keeping timeshare owners in the dark right now allows them to remain in control and profit in the meantime.

At the end of the day, hotel chains are using the idea of a timeshare travel strategy for COVID-19 as a PR stunt. Why else would they promote employee firings or boast about acts of public service when owners may be in need of answers? When the general public feels sorry for their losses and applauds their efforts, it makes it awfully difficult to notice struggling timeshare owners. Putting out good content and a positive image during a crisis is essentially an advertisement – not a timeshare travel strategy for COVID-19.

What Timeshare Resorts Are Actually Doing.

When it comes to the announcements that timeshare companies are making, their statements are rather misleading. If you actually take the time to research resort happenings you’ll find that layoffs aren’t exactly what they seem. First of all, most firings have occurred in the sales divisions. Since timeshares aren’t able to hold presentations right now, there isn’t a need for salesmen. This actually presents them with quite a bit of savings as millions of dollars are spent annually on new acquisition. It’s by far the highest cost of the industry. 

Other employee layoffs haven’t been as convenient like the way some resorts made it sound. Many staff members have been asked to take furloughs or mandatory time off with no pay. In other words, some people aren’t even getting laid off or fired. Timeshare companies are literally expecting them to wait out the pandemic in order to keep their job. This leaves the decision in their hands to quit or move on if they can’t survive.

Many of these positions, like sales teams, are easily replaceable. If anything, the resort will be able to employ a young, fresh and energetic workforce once their doors reopen. While they may be forced to cut costs and say goodbye to some tenured people, doing so is not in the least bit disadvantageous to their business. All stakeholders and key staff members will more than likely remain intact.

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Is There Really a Timeshare Travel Strategy for COVID-19.

The point of this article is to encourage vacation owners to look into things themselves. Far too many expect the truth from timeshare companies and rarely suspect deception. But in the wake of a pandemic – that directly affects the travel industry – they have to be able to expect the worst. Especially when the track record of the industry is rather consistent. Like we mentioned before, nothing in the past has shown us that vacation owners will be considered in the middle of a crisis. Even natural disasters or emergency situations haven’t elicited empathy or compassion.

Buyers of this type of product are customers. They aren’t shareholders and they don’t own anything of value. Most can’t even rent or sell the property for profit. There’s no return on their payments other than the possibility of a good time – that one may argue can be obtained at a cheaper rate and with more flexibility. A timeshare interval is not homeownership or an investment of any kind. Owners should not have to take on the burden when the business stops. They paid for something and they aren’t getting it. Just because the industry is losing income doesn’t mean the customer should suffer.

No matter how many lawsuits timeshare companies fight or lobbyists they’re able to pay – one thing remains clear. There’s always an agenda with this industry and it rarely focuses on the consumer’s concern. As long as they can keep timeshare owners calm, patient and under contract through the pandemic, they’ll come out of it in great shape. Sadly, many vacation owners won’t be able to keep up with the billion dollar industry.

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.

What Could Make Timeshare Ownership Worse During a Pandemic.

What Could Make Timeshare Ownership Worse During a Pandemic.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing a few hypothetical situations that vacation owners should most certainly consider. While it’s still difficult to tell when travel bans will be lifted or the economy will reopen, it’s safe to say that the hospitality industry will incur quite a bit of loss. Whether it be the consumer or businesses. As a vacation owner, you might be used to inconveniences – but no traveler is in a worse position than you are right now. No matter what happens, your perpetual agreement will more than likely keep you at the mercy of the resort.

There isn’t much that could make timeshare ownership worse during a pandemic than your obligation to pay for something you can’t use. But there are a few instances that could make those payments even more difficult to bear. Truth be told, vacation owners are more vulnerable than ever before. Although we’d hate for any of these things to occur, helping you understand what your contract entails could pay dividends down the road.

Are You Worried About Timeshare Ownership?

Listen, you have a right to feel uneasy about owning a timeshare interval during a global standstill. Especially if you’ve lost your job or simply realized that you need to cut expenses to do a better job saving money. The level of uncertainty in general, on top of your inability to use something you have to pay for, has to be burdensome. Some of you already know you’re not going to be able to afford your timeshare

YOUR AGREEMENT DOESN’T GIVE YOU MUCH LEVERAGE.

To date, all signs from timeshare companies have been pointing towards self interest. Nothing has shown us they’re contemplating helping the millions of owners that are paying their salaries during this pandemic. The binding agreement that timeshare owners signed allows them to expect payments and penalize refusals – even though they have an ability to help out. In short, waiting to act on your concern can be costly. If further disaster were to occur, then what?

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What Could Make Owning a Timeshare Worse?

While the chances of another setback occurring during a global crisis is slim, it’s not out of the question. The longer this pandemic lasts, the more the odds are stacked against you. The last thing we want is for you to be unprepared. Although it may seem like we’re trying to talk you into canceling your contract, we simply want to make you aware of possibilities so you may act accordingly. Sometimes, this is as simple as reaching out to the resort to work something out. Nonetheless, if any of the following events impact your resort, then your binding agreement could become quite regrettable.

1. Bad Weather Can Be Limiting and Expensive.

One of the worst things that could happen during a pandemic is a natural disaster. In a time where everyone is isolated in their homes, a loss of power or water can be devastating. Not to mention the immediate dangers that come with severe storms. Whether you experience a natural disaster yourself or your timeshare is hit by one, a timeshare contract is not going to come in handy.

Just in the past few weeks, there have been a number of deadly tornadoes in the southeast and moderate earthquakes on the west coast. We have no doubt that there are timeshare owners out there who are currently dealing with these unimagined scenarios. If your timeshare vacation was already cancelled due to the pandemic, what happens if your resort is damaged by an earthquake or hurricane this summer? It’s hard to tell when hotels will reopen for tourists. Anything could happen in between.

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SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS ONLY MAKE MATTERS WORSE.

What happens when you don’t get to vacation in 2020 at all but you’re asked to pay thousands of dollars in special assessment fees due to tornado damage? How would it feel to know the resort profited off of you and your fellow owners during a year where many suffered? Would it make you wish you would have reconsidered the purchase long before? 

A natural disaster would make it awfully difficult for you to find restitution for a lost year. If your timeshare is on a fault line, in tornado alley, in the Caribbean or next to a volcano then you might want to start thinking about what’s really worth it. If you’re already struggling during this pandemic, then assessment fees and further limitations would definitely make timeshare ownership worse.

2. A New Acquisition That Spurs Change.

If travel limitations stretch into the fall or holiday season, a handful of timeshare companies may look to off-load some of their resorts to cover their losses. Whether sales are low due to a pandemic or lost interest, resorts often benefit from change. And what better time to revamp a timeshare resort than during a global lockdown. Investors and developers that are able to endure this standstill will be eager to take over struggling properties in popular destinations.

The problem with an acquisition is the suddenness and lack of transparency that occurs. Owners rarely have a say in what transpires or what’s required of them. Oftentimes, those taking over have big plans to upgrade the resort at the timeshare owners’ expense. Receiving high maintenance fees and sudden assessments – because a wealthy developer wants to make more money – can be quite troubling during a pandemic. Especially for those that are already struggling to pay for their timeshare.

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BUYOUTS CAN BE MISLEADING FOR OWNERS.

Although an improved experience may appeal to most travelers, additional expenses could be devastating to some timeshare owners right now. Now that assessment fees aren’t capped in many states, there’s no telling how resorts could respond during a pandemic. Sadly, you’d have no choice but to adhere to the decisions of new management. Even if this means their budget cuts eliminated employees or services you’ve grown accustomed to.

Nearly every timeshare acquisition gets our phones ringing here at VOC. Many vacation owners learn to appreciate the little things about their locations and dislike being stripped of them without warning. If hospitality companies are expecting a lot of downtime, you have to know they’re going to be looking for ways to maximize profits once they’re able to reopen. New construction, landscape improvements, pool renovations and suite upgrades usually come with an acquisition. Unfortunately, these could occur at a really inconvenient time this year, making timeshare ownership worse during a pandemic.

3. An Owner’s Sudden Change in Health.

One of the most unexpected occurrences in a timeshare owner’s life is a decline in their health. Everybody wants to believe they can continue traveling forever. Nobody wants to think about physical ailments or health conditions limiting their quality of life. But things happen, and you have to be prepared to adapt or face the music. When it comes to timeshare travel, many purchases end up unusable because of this. 

Whether a property doesn’t have adequate handicap accessible lodging or higher altitudes are unsafe, visiting your timeshare can become a lost cause. Especially when the timeshare company isn’t willing to make it work for the same price. If traveling to the resort is already risky as it is, what are you going to do if your health worsens? While we see this the most in the aging community, one unforeseen tragedy or accident can alter anyone’s life in an instant.

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If you’re already struggling to get by during the COVID-19 crisis then how would you pay for the timeshare if you become terminally ill or are involved in an accident? If you have an underlying condition and traveling isn’t safe anymore, what will you do when the timeshare holds you to your contract? Understanding these types of scenarios and how timeshare ownership could get worse will help you navigate certain paths if they were to occur.

4. A Large, Unexpected Expense Arises.

There are a number of things that play a role in a vacation owner’s desire to legally get rid of a timeshare contract. But nothing is more convincing than an abrupt expense that takes a priority in their life. This could involve anything that’s unexpected with a high price tag. Funeral costs for the death of a family member or medical expenses can create quite the setback. Even caring for your parents or going through a divorce could quickly come into fruition unexpectedly.

If you lost your job of 30 years and are struggling to pay for your mortgage then homeownership certainly takes precedence over the timeshare. Maybe you purchased the timeshare before expanding your family and you’re just now realizing they need you more than you need the vacation. Kids are a lot more expensive than most people think. 

All of these things, during a pandemic, would definitely make timeshare ownership worse. Understanding what your options are will help you avoid further trouble down the road. At some point, you’ll want to decide if a total cancellation is the best way to save money over the long term.

5. What Else Can Make Timeshare Ownership Worse?

Look, there isn’t much worse than a terrible timeshare experience. Paying for an expectation that doesn’t transpire has got to be frustrating. But we have to start thinking about how this pandemic is going to alter the future of travel. Aside from dealing with an invisible enemy, we have to admit America is quite vulnerable right now. If international tensions arise, how will timeshare contracts be viewed? How burdensome could they become if a war or global conflict broke out – on top of the economic crisis our country is already facing?

Something else worth considering is an economic crisis that’s beyond what we’re currently experiencing. If you still have a job but you ended up losing it due to a poor recovery, how will this impact your life? Will you still have an ability to travel? If new laws, tolls or regulations for hotels add to the cost of your timeshare, is it going to be something you can continue to afford?

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The coronavirus will also affect a number of people psychologically. If you’re already a germaphobe, are you going to be able to get into an airplane or visit a condo that could potentially be contaminated with COVID-19? If you’ve experienced trauma during this time, will you feel safe in unfamiliar locations? If you lose someone close to you, are you going to want to go on vacation anytime soon? Anything that could make paying for timeshare ownership worse needs to be considered here.

Will Timeshare Travel Ever Be the Same Again?

No matter how you’re handling the pandemic, we can all agree there’s plenty of time for us to reassess our spending habits and priorities. If owning a timeshare just doesn’t seem like something that makes sense anymore, then cutting ties while you’re still ahead may not be a bad idea. Because of the way your resort has handled this crisis, some of you are ready to move on. If the unexpected were to occur, then your timeshare contract probably won’t help. 

At VOC, we don’t believe in pressuring timeshare owners to cancel their contract. In most instances, there’s a competent way to work things out with the resort. You just need to know your realistic options when it comes to your contract. Working with someone you can trust helps. If cancellation is something you’re interested in, you can always schedule a free consultation or fill out a qualification form to see if you’re eligible for our services.

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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