Lead Generation Sites Trick Vacation Owners by Offering Shadow Relief

Lead Generation Sites Trick Vacation Owners by Offering Shadow Relief

Last week, we talked about some of the bottom-feeders of the timeshare cancellation industry that prefer to hunt on social media for prey. Nearly anyone can set up a lead generation business online and Facebook makes it even easier to do so. The simple fact that predatory agencies have an ability to target and communicate with most timeshare owners at any given point in time is concerning to say the least. Online promotions and ads for timeshare relief can be extremely luring for unhappy owners. Especially when they’re desperate for a way to escape their timeshare agreement.

When you think about it, most expensive decisions are rarely made without much thought. Buying a house or even a car is hardly ever a weekend activity. Even planning a family activity isn’t something most can do in a couple of hours. But the timeshare industry operates differently. To most consumers, limited-time-offers alter their intuition. It’s one of the reasons why so many people let timeshare sales teams talk them into an unhealthy $20K+ purchase to begin with. 

When a remorseful vacation owner comes across a promising social media ad for a solution to their timeshare problem, it can be appealing. But it’s not always enough to convince them. Most have learned their lesson and will avoid making another impulse decision. While high percentages of online users make small Facebook purchases here and there, it’s highly unlikely they’ll ever hand over thousands of dollars for a vague solution on social media.

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Money and Influence Control Exit Market.

At the end of the day, the aggressive nature of the sale is what eventually persuades timeshare owners to pay for an exit strategy. While social media is a good tool to capture attention, follow-up sales tactics are what usually seal the deal. This requires a plan of higher complexity. One that usually involves multiple conspirators, timeshare owner information and a digital presence that is far greater than a Facebook page.

This is why it’s important to understand that the exit industry – especially in the aftermath of the Coronavirus – is a whole different ball game. Far too often, vacation owners are led to believe that someone is finally listening to them; that someone can help – but this is a dangerous time to be taking a company’s word for it without verifying the information. Millions of people are desperate for an income right now.

Truth be told, thousands of criminals scour the timeshare marketplace. They’ve already proven to be willing to tell you anything in order to convince you to hand over a few thousand dollars. Today, timeshare owners are more vulnerable than ever. Especially those facing financial difficulties. The more money these companies make, the more they’ll flood the marketplace – and advertisements that speak to a need are hard to ignore.

How Did Timesharing Get to This Point?

Limited offers and broken promises is why the timeshare industry has turned into a gold mine for greed-filled predators. This is why so many former timeshare employees continue victimizing vacation owners, even after they’ve been let go by the resort. Whether they turn to Facebook on their own or join a larger group of conspirators for leads, they’re looking for a fast return. It’s what they know best.

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Fortunately, a lack of resources (like mentioned last week) keeps most greedy salespeople from gaining much traction. It’s the cunning crowd you need to watch out for. They usually protrude a convincing fasad and possess an authority that’s predicated on success or fame. Don’t let them play you for a fool and hold onto your money. During this pandemic, it’s important you make the best decisions for you and your family. 

In most cases, it’s easy to find holes in a sales pitch or identify poor character traits. All you need to do is look. Now that we’ve covered the least of your worries, let’s see how damaging lead generation websites can really be.

Generating More Leads With A Better Presentation.

In last week’s article, we took some time to explain how relief companies pay a third party contractor for lead generation. Whether they’re former timeshare salespeople or online influencers, exit companies enjoy spreading out their nets. The problem with this is lead generators act as if they’re managing the process when they’re not. Some even go to great lengths to act as if they’re delivering results for vacation owners. In reality, they’re simply selling data to a number of third party vendors that know you want to get out of a timeshare contract.

Some of the companies we’ve come across over the past few months put a lot of money towards eliminating doubt. Lead generation sites do everything they can to get timeshare owners to trust them. Whether that be creating videos about timeshare ownership or paying for likes, shares and reviews; they’re cunning in their ability to persuade. As the internet continues to evolve, it’s concerning to see consumers manipulated by fabricated notoriety and aggressive sales tactics.It’s almost as if we’re losing our ability to think for ourselves anymore. 

Nonetheless, if you plan on shopping in the timeshare exit realm during this time, we urge you to proceed with caution. One contact form submission can eventually turn into a bombardment of phone calls and emails. No matter how good some of these guys and gals seem, it’s important that you don’t simply give them a chance because they have 5 star reviews. Do your due diligence and make sure you’re not causing yourself further frustration.

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How to Inspect Timeshare Relief Websites.

First and foremost, you have to know who you’re contacting. If an individual is offering the solutions, then research them. View their online profiles and look at their work history on Linkedin. Take the time to ensure the person is trustworthy with a solid reputation. This is the easiest way to identify former timeshare salespeople. If there are lapses in their work history or life, then that should raise questions, right? It’s not like you’re simply buying a pack of toilet paper here. 

There are also some simple ways you can inspect the website for red flags. If there are third party ads and links to other websites, it’s a good sign the site is more focused on revenue. One of the best things you can do is hover your mouse over the “submit button” on one of the website’s forms to see where the link goes (in the bottom left of your browser). You can also inspect links by right clicking on them. 

Online pages that redirect you through a series of tracking parameters or to an entirely different website are no bueno. This absolutely confirms the “provider” is not actually supplying the service. Lead generation sites are more than likely sending your personal information to someone else. When you’re unable to confirm competency, it’s not worth your time. Submitting your information only creates further susceptibility and gives nearly anyone a chance to charm you with what you really want to hear.

How Access To Your Data Can Be Costly.

When you think about it, selling a service you don’t actually provide is extremely shameful. Nothing about this promotes reliability. It’s like talking to a phony mechanic about your car for hours; then having no problem with him selling the work to the highest bidder. Maybe he even lets them all take a stab at it. If you’re acting as if you provide relief services – or even lying about credentials you don’t exactly have – then it’s wrong. Most people would probably reconsider the transaction, or at least ask a few more questions, if they knew lies were involved.

With that being said, it’s important that you understand some of these websites can be very deceiving. If you look hard enough, you can tell if someone is chasing opportunity or has bigger motives. A lack of ethics is typically traceable by means of in-person or online interactions. Somebody that’s willing and able to help vacation owners is going to be able to prove they’re consistently doing just that.

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When the passion or competency isn’t even evident, how can they actually guarantee or promise you anything. These lead generation sites simply paint a facade so they can collect your data and cut ties. Whoever they’re in bed with usually takes over the communication from there. This typically begins with renting opportunities, then resale programs, ending with an overwhelming amount of cancellation options. By this time, most owners forget who they contacted to begin with. In the meantime, these websites are using earnings to broaden their nets. Phony review sites do the same.

What You Pay Lead Generation Sites For.

The more relief programs that a vacation owner signs up for, the more the lead generator earns. It’s a disturbing transaction that takes place across a number of online industries. But this is how the timeshare industry works. The longer an owner remains under contract, the longer all parties make money. Sadly, this cycle continues for many owners. During this pandemic, we can only hope it doesn’t get worse.

If you’re considering getting rid of your timeshare then it’s important that you don’t simply settle for who you think the best option is. Oftentimes, the companies that owners initially find are those spending the most on advertising and marketing. Take the time to inspect review platforms and research different blog topics to see what the company is really all about. If you’re unable to find consistency anywhere then you have to cross them off your list. 

When you fall into a scam, you could be waiting for a resolution for months, assuming the financial burden would be gone, only to find out you’re still under contract. On top of that, you’ve lost thousands more only to worsen the problem. Getting out of your timeshare is a big deal. It’s not something you can take lightly. Finding a company that’s been in business for more than three years and following the remaining steps on our infographic will really help you with this decision. Lead generation sites are only the beginning.

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.

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.

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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