Why You Should Dump Timeshare Contracts Instead of Upgrading Packages

Why You Should Dump Timeshare Contracts Instead of Upgrading Packages

What many people don’t realize about timeshare ownership is that the sale doesn’t end after they’ve signed the contract. Timeshare companies know that once you’re locked into a perpetual agreement they can pretty much dictate where your travel dollars go. Aside from a high pressured approach during the initial presentation, they take additional measures to persuade their users to spend more money over time. Because of this, we believe it is highly beneficial for owners to dump timeshare contracts before they’re persuaded into buying upgrade options.

Before solidifying this claim, it’s important we understand how fractional owners got to this point in the first place. What exactly causes them to believe they need to take action? What element of the experience has them contemplating spending more money or dumping the expense altogether? Whether you believe our perspective is bias or not, many timeshare owners are plagued with this decision. Every day, we talk to dozens of disgruntled buyers looking for guidance or insight on their options.

Why Dumping Timeshares Is Smarter Than Upgrading Condos.

While it may seem like both decisions are irrational, you have to understand a majority of buyers have no desire to stay where they are. They’re seeking relief because they don’t believe they’re getting what they paid for. Although the first impression of vacation ownership typically involves excitement and anticipation, the level of enthusiasm normally dwindles over time. Anything from availability frustrations to unacceptable accommodations can leave timeshare owners in a pool of regret – instead of by the pool without worries. Aside from expectations not being met, they feel taken advantage of and vulnerable. They’re not sure who to trust or what the actuality of their timeshare really is.

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Enduring a purchase that hasn’t aligned with expectations forces many to hope for the best. Especially when they’re at the mercy of a perpetual agreement. Buying a timeshare costs a lot of money. For some, it’s easier to spend a little more to get what they want instead of throwing away the entire purchase. Let’s face it, some people just have the money to blow. While it’s easy for these types of people to swallow their pride a little, others become more prideful and refuse to give into obvious tactics that devalue buyers. But it doesn’t mean they won’t cave once a deal with appeal comes across the table.

No matter how upset owners become, customer service reps (CSR, AKA sales reps) are trained to deflect grief and connect with their owners. Most sales operations make their living off an ability to combat dissatisfaction. In some cases, timeshare owners are led to believe that the poor experience is their fault. That they bought a cheap package or that agreeing to additional options during the contract signing would have improved availability and enjoyment.

When reverse psychology doesn’t work, CSR’s have a number of tricks up their sleeves to reassure their users. Without going into too much detail, timeshare companies are equipped to force your hand. When the initial purchase flops, they basically dare you to cancel the timeshare while teasing you with intriguing deals and upgrade scenarios. Why wouldn’t they choose something they’ve already invested thousands into? Especially when timeshare cancellation companies are suspect themselves. CSR’s know the latter is risky so they’re willing to wait on you. You signed the contract and they owe you nothing, but will sell you anything.

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Like we said, signing the contract is only the beginning of a never-ending ales cycle. Any type of relief can turn into many forms of grief. It’s the way of the industry. Although your experience thus far might be forgettable, who’s to say it’ll get better when you pay more? Caving may seem like your only option, but is it a responsible one? While analyzing how timeshare owners got to this point provides us with substance, the real reason you should dump timeshare contracts lies in the aftermath of an upgrade. Let’s look at three consequences that solidify our stance on termination.

1. Saying “Yes” to Upgrades Puts a Target on Your Back

If you’ve worked in any type of sales environment before, you’ve probably heard the common saying, “take 3 no’s before giving up on a yes.” But what many fractional owners don’t realize is this rule doesn’t apply to them. Once someone has agreed to the timeshare contract, they’ve become susceptible to a lifetime of misleading, persuasive abuse. While the initial presentation can be overwhelming, the pressure to take advantage of discounts and special offers is limitless. If they can persuade people to pay $20-40K unexpectedly, they can easily add a few thousand along the way.

Some people don’t possess the ability to say “no” and they end up racking up all kinds of expenses because of it. Moreover, once they agree to an upgrade, the vultures start to circle. Incentivized sales teams know who the most gullible owners are. The worst part is that many of these “upgrades” don’t add much value or resolution to fractional ownership. If you’re constantly being harassed to upgrade your points program, understand it’s only a bidding war on secondary inventory that the general public doesn’t want. The goal isn’t to improve your experience, rather increase your annual donation so the salesman can go on vacation and the timeshare’s margins increase.

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2. Upgrades Won’t Resolve Your Complaints.

Have you ever confronted someone and they responded by offering you something? Although you really want to remain upset about the situation, the idea of being treated can be compelling. Sometimes, it’s enough to cause you to apologize for your holding a grudge or being mad. You might even forget about the problem or concern altogether – at least until they wrong you again.

Aside from maximizing revenues from fractional owners, timeshare companies know how to execute this “bait and switch” tactic as well. Instead of actually listening to your concerns and providing you with a solution, they’ll make you feel like the repayment was worth the inexperience. The relief doesn’t last, headaches resume and the resort is able to keep you from dumping the timeshare contract for a few more months until things unravel again.

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3. Dumping Timeshare Contracts Isn’t As Costly.

What many owners don’t realize is they end up paying more for the same problem. Instead of going with their gut, they give the timeshare another chance to deliver on something they promised. In their mind, they’re still owed. In the resort’s mind, they just want to remain in the driver’s seat. They know their obligated customer isn’t going anywhere. All they have to do is pretend they care and offer something to make you go away.

Aside from complaints not getting resolved, the cost of ownership rises significantly when you agree to new terms. The simple fact that additional contracts are being signed is often overlooked during the upgrade process. As agreements stack up, it becomes more and more difficult to dump timeshare ownership. In turn, legally exiting the timeshare becomes more expensive. Continuing to sign new contracts proves you’re responsible for your decisions. This gives the timeshare quite a bit of leverage. Remember, you have the ability to say, “No.”

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Understand Upgrades Before Agreeing to Them.

When you think about it, timeshare companies sell “what could be’s” instead of actualities throughout the entire process. After a few rounds of this, many owners realize dumping the timeshare contract is their only option. We’re simply here to tell you that you can legally walk away now and avoid the heartache. Thousands of people are reeled back into ownership every year and hundreds of thousands of dollars continues to go towards something that never improves. It’s how the industry has been able to thrive in a market full of alternative, convenient travel options.

Don’t be a statistic and get rid of your timeshare for good. Especially if you’re having second thoughts about the purchase. Over time, your decision can become extremely costly. Dumping your obligation and pursuing a sensible vacation can be one of the best things to ever happen to you. Even if you have to deal with the regret for a few years. For more information on VOC, you can schedule a FREE consultation or proceed with a qualification form below.

If You Want to Get Out of Your Timeshare, Watch Out for This Resale Scam

If You Want to Get Out of Your Timeshare, Watch Out for This Resale Scam

Timeshare ownership can be a difficult road to navigate. Once you’ve become immersed in the purchase, misconduct typically appears from all directions. It can be quite overwhelming, especially if you’re unaware of the actual intentions behind a majority of “can’t miss” offers. Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time educating timeshare owners (or those considering the purchase) on the possibilities of resort life. No matter how many hypothetical situations we express, we’ve found that actual stories resonate best. While most people don’t want to believe they’re being duped, listening to someone else’s bad experience tends to heighten awareness.

While it can be difficult for the average consumer to point out crafty misconduct, it’s important that they understand what other timeshare owners have gone through. The fact of the matter is, not everyone has had a bad timeshare experience. At the same time, many owners are left reeling when the purchase doesn’t work out. Dissatisfaction can easily lead to further mistakes that put them in a deeper hole financially. Some decisions can be life changing and even psychologically draining. In order to help you understand how, let’s take a look at Darren Kittleson’s story.

How The Experienced Realtor Was Scammed

When it comes to timeshare scams, even people that know real estate can be easily taken advantage of. This was proven when a savvy realtor was led to believe he could make money on his timeshare property. After being robbed of more than $24,000 for trying to sell his Garza Blanca Resort property in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Darren is now speaking up about his experience. He still can’t believe he didn’t see the scam for what it was. Despite 30+ years in realty, he was fooled during a real estate transaction. Even though he repeatedly did his due diligence throughout the scam, he wasn’t able to uncover anything that worried him. If you take anything from this article, we hope it’s how good the modern day pickpockets are.

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While losing that much money was tough, he views it as a learning experience. Now that he has closure, his goal is to help other timeshare owners avoid similar losses while spreading awareness on the deceptive practices of predatory resellers. In an interview with AZ Central, he touched on how he thought everything was 100% real by saying, “They were so sophisticated in how they did it.” No matter how many times he rekindles the experience, he can’t get over how “stupid” the whole thing makes him feel.

Sadly, many consumers are led to believe in timeshare solutions that don’t exist. The complexity of some of today’s scams are disturbing. The worst part is that relief-seeking timeshare owners are eagerly trying to get out of timeshare contracts when they’re bamboozled. Instead of finding resolve, they increase their loss. In Darren’s interaction with the phony reseller, everything seemed to add up perfectly. No matter his level of skepticism, the salesperson was always able to (shrewdly) reassure him that everything was going to work out in his favor. What’s sad is, he’s not alone. Fraudulent cases like this one tend to have a detailed plan throughout.

The Initial Phone Call and Supporting Misconduct

When Kittleson was first contacted by the scammers, they claimed to represent Westwood Realty in Phoenix, Arizona. They knew everything about his upcoming reservations and offered to buy the dates he booked. When he researched the company, the credibility of the Arizona business and brokerage seemed legit. At first glance, nothing stood out to him. Even their licensing was up to date. The manipulation that went into this first impression was crucial for the scam to work.

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What Kittleson didn’t consider was the simple fact that the caller did not actually represent Westwood Realty. It’s hard for most people to understand how easy it is to create a fake online business presence. Moreover, most law-abiding citizens can’t even begin to think like a criminal. No matter the level of deception, the average consumer is already at a disadvantage. What “they don’t know” is normally used against them. Since the scammers knew about Darren’s travel plans, it was easy for him to assume a con wasn’t in place. His ability to easily find company information and reviews only added to his confidence. A fraudulent company wouldn’t post their information online, would they?

Scammers Know How to Eliminate Disbelief.

Despite the persuasiveness of the phony broker’s business presentation, it wasn’t the only thing that gave Darren (and other timeshare owners) peace of mind. They even went as far as providing timeshare owners with bank statements that included real company letterheads and contact information. It’s almost as if they mastered the mistakes of other scams. Even phone numbers included area codes that validated the company’s level of congruence.

Once he was able to confirm that Westwood had a local brick and mortar location and zero complaints dating back to the 80’s, Darren was hooked – for a lot of money. According to Kittleson, he thought he was doing everything he needed to “in order to verify, verify, verify,” He even went as far as setting up a Google news alert for Westwood Realty in case something went sideways.

The internet has been a huge boon to unethical companies preying on timeshare owners. What many people don’t realize is, the lifespan of these fraudsters doesn’t have to last long. Once enough money is collected, they tear everything down and wait for the dust to settle before rebuilding the scam under a different brand name. It’s a scary thing to ponder. In Kittleson’s case, the scammer didn’t even go this far. They were simply using the credibility of an actual business to manipulate the sale. Westwood was nothing more than a bystander. In the end, there was nothing to tear down.

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If an Offer Seems too Good to be True, Don’t Take it.

Once the scammers established a level of trust with Kittleson and other targets, they made an aggressive proposal that was basically irrefusable. What many owners don’t realize, is the resale market for timeshares is basically non-existent. It’s hard to understand this until you experience it for yourself. While some resorts will tell you that you can always resell or rent your property (if it doesn’t work out), it doesn’t mean it’s true. Diamond Resorts actually got in a heap of trouble for selling prospects on this during presentations. Far too many fractional owners learn this reality the hard way. An unexpected, amazing resale opportunity should be the first sign that you’re involved in a scam.

Instead of continuing to shop for a reseller, Darren was absolutely thrilled with the price he was given. It was nearly 60-70% higher than what he actually paid for the property. Since the beachfront hotel in Puerto Vallarta had grown in popularity, he didn’t even think twice about the offer. “It didn’t seem far off,” he said. Not only was he talking to people whom he thought represented Westwood, he also believed in the best deal he’d received up to this point. Since he was called about his bookings, nothing really drew a red flag.

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How the Scammers Continued Leading Him On..

As the complexity of scams continues to be underestimated by Americans, Darren’s experience helps us highlight how deep the deception can go. When it comes to scams that rob people of tens of thousands of dollars, a simple bait and switch wasn’t going to be enough to pull it off. Once Kittleson signed a letter of intent with what he thought to be a local broker, he received a call from an escrow company in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At this point, he was informed that a Mexican bank would be working with them to deposit his funds from the timeshare sale.

The logistics of these transactions caused some doubt to surface for the realtor – but after researching both companies, he came away relieved again. What he didn’t know was the scammers were using the same tactic they used with Westwood to proceed with the transaction. Confirmations and communication also seemed legitimate and Darren was eager to put timeshare ownership behind him.

Additional Documentation Provided Peace of Mind

“All of a sudden, I get an email with a bank statement that looks like any bank statement here in the U.S. showing the funds have been deposited,” he said. Even when he called the phone number on the statement to double check, an actual person answered in Spanish, giving him the company name and their title. From his perspective, he was so close to receiving closure.

Although the anticipation was real, a few weeks passed and he still didn’t receive a payment. Amidst frustrations, he continued to pursue the resolution when he was told by a “company rep” that he needed to get a Mexican tax identification in order for the sale to go through. This forced him to make another payment via a wire transfer to an attorney the scammers referred in Mexico city. “I went online and looked at the Mexican consulate website, and it had this form they needed. It made sense,” Kittleson said.

Scammers Appear to be “Helpful” During Manipulation

Once again, he was relieved and the process wasn’t too far from ordinary. Shortly after, a document with a formal-looking government stamp arrived in the mail. This included what he thought to be his new tax ID. When the sale and his payment still wasn’t being processed, the scammers told him he needed to pay his taxes and the buyer would reimburse him. He was concerned, but his experience in real estate trumped his doubts. “I was nervous, but I thought, ‘OK, this is the first time I’ve done a property transfer in Mexico.” He even went as far as researching Mexican taxes online. He felt good about it and wired over more money. But the stalling continued when he was told he needed to pay additional taxes in the state of Jalisco.

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In order to feel good about making another payment, Kittleson initially wanted to fly down to Jalisco and make the payment himself. But he was informed that it wouldn’t be necessary. “They said, ‘It’s not like the U.S. You can come down, but nothing will happen for you,'” said Kittleson. Since he’d paid so much already (and had all the bank statements), he agreed. At this point it was almost as if he trusted the scammers and valued their opinion. This is how deep he had gotten into the scam. Money spent and documentation blinded him from the harsh reality. Because of the confidence in the deal, he didn’t even consider saving money to cancel the timeshare altogether.

Until You Abort, The Timeshare Scam Never Ends..

Although his payment for Jalisco taxes was taken care of, he was once again prompted to make another payment. This time, it was for an insurance bond so the bank could release the funds. The scammers claimed that it was necessary to protect the bank from possible “cross-border” fraud. Again, he offered to withdraw the funds in person, but was told the bank wouldn’t do anything without the bond.

“They had an answer to everything I asked about,” Darren said. It had now been 10 months since he made his first payment. When he was prompted to make another payment for another bank bond, he decided he’d had enough. Thinking back to that moment in time, Kittleson remembered, “At that point, I said, ‘I’m done.’ It was like, ‘Oh, I just got scammed.’” $24,000 was flushed down the drain and the timeshare was still his.

Aside from his desire to exit the timeshare contract, Kittleson pursued restitution by filing complaints with the BBB, the Arizona Attorney General’s office and even the FBI. Once he confirmed he was most certainly being scammed, he learned other victims had filed as well. Their complaints had already resulted in the Department of Real Estate filing a cease-and-desist order against the claimed names of the fraudsters. While the Arizona Attorney General is now helping people like Darren spread awareness, victims understand the probability of the criminals being caught isn’t likely.

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The Benefit of Getting Rid of Timeshare Contracts For Good

Stories like these can immediately create a paradigm shift for timeshare owners or those pursuing vacation ownership. Many people believe stuff like this can’t happen to them. They’re blinded by the possibilities of the deal. While a timeshare property can be the centerpiece of family memories, it can also be the root of financial hardship. This is why it’s important to take the time to thoroughly research travel opportunities and make sure you’re 100% confident in large purchase decisions.

Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion and always be skeptical of timeshare solutions. Far too many are scams are present in today’s travel industry. As you can see, not everything is what it may seem. If you’re looking for a way to get rid of your timeshare agreement, we’d be more than happy to go over your options with you. We take pride in avoiding pressure sales and we always take the time to qualify every prospect for timeshare cancellation services.

Timeshare Laws for Marketing + Advertising

Timeshare Laws for Marketing + Advertising

Over the years, the timeshare industry has transformed into a hospitality giant since it burst onto the scene in the 1960’s. Now that we’ve shared a solid overview on the history of timeshare ownership, let’s talk about some of the laws and regulations that hold the concept together. Although a number of initiatives, revelations and scams have shaped the industry into what it is today, timesharing is still a wild wild west of sorts.

Leading up to 2019, it’s been fairly difficult for programs and agencies to put a halt to unethical practices and the deceit within the industry. But it doesn’t mean society hasn’t progressed. It simply means greed is clouding the judgement of major stakeholders. Businesses fixated on revenue seem to always find a way around laws when the reward is worthwhile.

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A declining market share also adds a little incentive maximizing profits. If you’ve been following along lately, then you’re well aware of the financial rewards that can come with timeshare sales. The problem is, a big percentage of timeshare revenue is at the consumer’s expense. And most likely on purchases that aren’t really necessary.

With developmental expansion slowing down and major hospitality players slowly taking over, it seems like a more systematic approach is in order for the timeshare industry. As the dust continues to settle, a good portion of sales processes and marketing initiatives are becoming more regulated. The tactics that have allowed timeshares to thrive throughout history are now common knowledge because of the internet. Consumers are able to make more informed decisions now than ever before.

Timesharing is Prime For Competition.

Although progress has been made, it doesn’t mean standardizations will eliminate consumer problems. There are plenty of ways to improve which is why vacation rentals and travel clubs are increasing in popularity. Until the people are able to completely trust the timeshare pitch again, we can’t expect an industry rejuvenation. Although outlook has been dim before, consumers aren’t as gullible as they once were.

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The access to information is eliminating impulse purchases altogether. Because people want to know about timeshares, we want to help them understand what they’re getting themselves into. It’s not just about helping timeshare owners get out of their agreements. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the timeshare laws and regulations that have been able to keep resorts and predatory agencies at bay for the most part.

Timeshare Regulations for Marketing and Advertising

Before we talk about the aggressive sales tactics used by timeshare companies and resorts, we have to point out the role that marketing and advertising plays. Before most consumers arrive at the sales presentation, they’ve more than likely already been briefed on what to expect from the experience. In some cases, they might already be eager to sign the dotted line. Making an impulse buy with confidence typically means the marketing has done its job. What’s bothersome is that many timeshare companies know exactly what to say to get people in the door. If they can get you to arrive with minimal questions, they know it’s pretty much a done deal.

The Difficulty of Regulating Advertising or Misspeak.

Like other industries, advertising strategies don’t necessarily tell you the full truth. Trigger words and vague phrases are often used to manipulate consumers into believing the product is better than what it really is. Call it a mirage if you will. For example, food (especially produce) can market products with “organically grown” on the packaging. But it doesn’t necessarily mean their definition matches yours. Legitimizing phrases like “more fresh” or “healthier” is nearly impossible when you’re unaware of the actual standards of the term. When you think about it, it’s pretty difficult to define this type of verbiage anyways.

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How Marketing and Sales Work Together

The same can be said for timeshare marketing strategies. More often than not, consumers are distracted by free gifts and potential instead of focusing on what the purchase is or can be. Timeshare companies know to hype prospects up while intentionally leaving out the details on drawbacks (availability, annual fees, perpetuity, taxes and resale value). The excitement of something they’ve been persuaded to believe in can easily overshadow the actualities of the deal. Call it false advertising if you must. Consumers deserve to be protected from this.

At the same time, it’s very difficult for misled timeshare owners to find restitution in court. In order to penalize an entity for misleading marketing tactics, one has to be able to prove they’ve been lied to. Some lawsuits have won, but only after a lengthy battle with an experienced legal team. While it’ll always be difficult to regulate hearsay when contractual agreements are involved, there is now a strong push to protect consumers from major purchase decisions like this. The best way to combat marketing misconduct is to educate consumers on the front end.

The Legalities and Laws of Marketing and Sales

Aside from public information like this article, nearly every state now has its own marketing and advertising regulations with the FTC, FCC, consumer protection agencies and other state sales statutes. While regulations may never stop unethical companies from breaking the law, at least there are now some consequences in place. Since tourism is more prevalent in certain parts of the country, some states need to have laws that are a little more strict than others. For example, California actually has its own advertising requirements.

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While it’s good to see organizations keep an eye on an industry that can get out of hand quickly, we know it’s not the end all be all. With the internet still emerging, it’s only a matter of time before new regulations are implemented and reinforced. This is a tall order because the world wide web is still basically unregulated. Since regulations have increased marketing costs for timeshare companies, new acquisition is harder to come by. At the same time, it’s caused resorts to target their current fractional owners more aggressively to make up for the loss.

Combating Misleading Timeshare Marketing Tactics

Once you’re locked into timeshare ownership, not all hope is lost. If you feel as though you continue to be lied to, then you have every right to build a case for yourself. The timeshare industry uses a lot of 3rd party advertisers to re-market to their users. Understanding what they’re allowed to market will help you pinpoint unethical behavior and get out of your contract sooner than later.

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It will be interesting to see what evolves in the next few years to combat the extensive amount of fraudulent activity online. In the meantime, do your best to thoroughly understand major purchases and the rights you have as a consumer. There are plenty of things to look for and ask when attending a timeshare presentation. At the end of the day, doing your due diligence and understanding common timeshare marketing misspeak can save you a lot of grief in the long run. 

To continue reading about Timeshare Laws, click part 2 below. If you’d like to learn more about our timeshare cancellation company, we’d love to hear from you! For those interested in learning how we can help you find relief, feel free to submit a qualification form.

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The Evolution of Timeshare Ownership Since 1980

The Evolution of Timeshare Ownership Since 1980

While you might be reading this to help you determine if a timeshare is worth it, some of you may want to know why your timeshare experience isn’t what it used to be. The industry has come a long way since its conception over 55 years ago and it’s very advantageous of you to pursue a better understanding of the perpetual purchase. Knowing what to expect from timeshare companies and how to make the most of your purchase is important. The evolution of timeshare ownership after 1980 played a big role in what owners face today.

The Reality of the Timeshare Industry

Although traveling options have evolved tremendously since the 1960’s, the purpose of timeshare ownership hasn’t really changed. What’s actually become more clear over time is the intent behind travel corporations and the resorts themselves. Instead of vying for consumer attention with convenience, timeshare companies have slowly shifted their focus towards the mass amounts of revenue within the travel industry. When you think about it, you can’t really blame them. You’d think most people wouldn’t make an impulse buy of this magnitude, but they do. It’s been rather simple for many of these companies to persuade their way into million-dollar market shares without much consideration for those driving the revenue.

Whether timeshare owners view the purchase as fruitful or not, they’re still under contract with an obligation to pay. Perpetual agreements have been extremely beneficial to resorts and have fueled the success of the multi-billion dollar industry today. In reality, any business with guaranteed monthly revenue would thrive. In our last article, we touched on the infant stages of timesharing and the massive expansion efforts that followed. So, let’s travel back to the 1980’s and see what happened once the rush of the industry was in full swing.

How Timeshare Ownership Evolved in the 1980’s.

As the industry exploded in the 1970’s, many timeshare owners started to realize availability wasn’t what they thought it would be. Because of this, they slowly began demanding a little more flexibility from resorts. This trend continued into the 1980’s when even more unfavorable solutions continued to put a bandaid on the problem. Although “The Two Bobs” pioneered a points system to reward their owners early on, not all timeshare companies followed suit into the 80’s. The revenue-focus of the 70’s eventually clouded the judgement of resorts. Taking care of their primary source of income wasn’t a priority like it was for the industry’s pioneers.

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During this decade, resorts also began to experience a growth in general travel inquiries. This was due to the exposure they received from timeshare travel. In comparison to fractional ownership, retail opportunities during peak seasons provided a much higher return for resorts. They realized they could hike up prices during peak seasons and divvy out the remaining weeks to their owners. Sales organizations (which is what most timeshares companies evolved into), are always going to focus on what drives the most revenue. Because of this, timeshare owners typically received the short end of the stick. But it didn’t mean timeshare companies stopped trying to appease fractional owners. The problem was, their efforts weren’t sustainable.

Fixed Systems Evolve into Limited Floating Systems

In order to find a balance, timeshare companies began promising owners a certain number of weeks throughout the year to choose from. A well-known example is the float system. This was created to give users options outside of the traditional fixed system. They could either use their purchased unit (villa) during their scheduled week or they could use a floating week during certain times of the year on a similar unit (number or rooms, size or location). A typical unit in the 80’s consisted of two bedrooms and two full baths with a maximum sleeping capacity for six to eight people.

While this was a step above what owners received before, the ineffectiveness of the resolution actually created more problems. Today, many timeshare owners still face availability concerns and incomparable lodging. We can’t imagine what it was like in the 1980’s. Because of limitations, many developers began expanding into urban markets to provide users with a variety of options. But like the previous decade, far too many were offering packages and plans that didn’t even exist yet – throwing yet another wrench into the timeshare owner experience.

The Beginning of Timeshare Sales Regulations

By the early 1980s, the tactics of development companies began to get out of hand. While this affected the global trade, the United States was one of the first countries to take a stand. Since many timeshare destinations were located in Florida, the state became concerned with unethical selling practices that were affecting their tourists. In turn, they passed a law in 1983 that imposed strict restrictions that only complying developers could meet.

While the main objective was to eliminate unethical practices in Florida, this moment in time could have single handedly saved the industry from collapsing altogether. Another important accomplishment of the 1980’s was the formulation of the ARDA. What started out as a small regulatory organization slowly turned into a conglomerate that regulated timeshare sales while attempting to maintain a certain level of ethics within the industry. Coupled with the entrance of major lodging companies, like Marriott in 1984, government regulations strongly influenced consumers in the 80’s. Although the negative perception wasn’t totally removed, these occurrences added extensive credibility to timeshare travel.

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How Timeshare Ownership Evolved in the 1990’s

Although timesharing stumbled into 1990, expansion continued. The main reason was because the industry proved it could dominate holiday travel. At the same time, regulations still weren’t able to slow down misleading sales tactics and the number of complaints by users. Rapid expansion made it difficult for the government to keep up and once again things got out of control. While some may say timeshare travel was far worse in the 90’s vs the 80’s, it’s hard to say. Timeshare ownership had grown to 4 million global users and over 2,300 shared resorts in the 90’s. The increase in consumer dissatisfaction might have simply been caused by the drastic increase in owners. Either way, something needed to be done to get things under control.

What’s interesting about the 80’s and 90’s is the industry’s strategy to overcome its flaws. Instead of addressing the problems fractional owners had, timeshare companies continued to distract their users with anticipative efforts. Not much has changed today. In order to paint the picture of a brighter future, major hotel brands continued to step onto the scene. While Marriott got their foot in the door first, Ramada, Four Seasons, Sheraton, Hilton, Radisson, Disney, Ritz-Carlton and Westin all pursued the potential of timesharing in the 90’s. As sales continued to skyrocket, the experience remained less-than-stellar.

Rapid Expansion Left the Government Reeling.

By 1990, the Office of Fair Trading launched its first investigation and report for the timeshare industry. To give you some perspective on how bad sales had gotten, it took the government almost a decade to organize and respond to the overwhelming number of unethical sales and false advertising complaints. While many people felt as though the government failed them, forecasting this type of epidemic was nearly impossible. Nonetheless, the basis of these investigations and reports helped formulate the Timeshare Act of 1992.

No matter how many laws passed in the 90’s, nothing slowed down the aggressive tactics of sales organizations until Europe banned upfront payments in 1998. Despite progress for consumer rights, nothing actually decreased the number of complaints timeshare owners filed. In the end, misleading tactics continued to prevail because regulations were ignored or manipulated by companies fueled by greed. Those with disdain for laws and regulations simply continued to prey on vulnerable fractional owners.

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The Evolved Timeshare Industry of the 2000’s.

Towards the end of the 90’s, industry concerns became further complicated when rental properties came into fruition. Online communication and email also made it even more difficult for regulations to keep up. At this point, anyone could take a stab at the travel market. Aside from unethical sales practices online (that had also never been seen before), timeshare owners were now being marketed improved opportunities for lower prices. If they were disgruntled before, this only added bitterness to their experience. This is when predatory agencies began preying on desperate, gullible fractional owners. The deceit of the industry enhanced sales but only added to the negative stigma of timeshare ownership.

After nearly 4 decades in motion, the timeshare industry was still experiencing the same problems that troubled it’s users from the get go. At this point, some consumers had been dealing with dissatisfaction for a long time. Others grew tired of their purchase and were ready to find a way to move on from their agreement. Since major hospitality organizations controlled the marketplace, there wasn’t much users could do to escape their unwanted timeshare contract. This changed (kind of) when resale opportunities emerged.

Resale Opportunities Provided Hope For Timeshare Owners

Timeshare companies initially discouraged resales for obvious reasons, but were forced to compete when secondary markets began offering relief. These independent resellers whom consisted of smaller, local real estate brokers, used traditional real estate techniques to resell timeshare contracts. The problem was, most buyers didn’t purchase their timeshare through real estate channels, rather resort marketing programs.

Because of this, these tactics rarely worked. Either way, resorts wanted to make sure their users weren’t being enticed by possibilities to get out of their contract. Again, sales organizations aren’t focused on refunds and eliminating residual income. They viewed resales as another opportunity to sell fractional owners on something else and the manipulation continued. There are plenty of resale, transfer and exchange tactics from the early 2000’s that are still used today.

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Could the Timeshare Industry be History Soon?

No matter what tactic resorts rolled out, they were never really able to slow down the rising number of frustrated timeshare owners. Instead of focusing on the consumer experience when they had the chance, they slowly started to lose their grip on the travel industry. By the mid 2000’s, timeshare companies became so concerned with trying to get their users to forget about the past that the future of the timeshare industry started looking slim.

Once the vacation rental revolution finally started gaining traction, timeshares couldn’t compete with their ability to deliver on a positive experience. As the media grew it’s reach and social media took over the internet, the deceit and unethical practices of the timeshare industry became a bigger topic of conversation.

Timeshare cancellation services also began helping fractional owners legally get rid of their contracts for good. Despite continued scams, the legitimacy of these services are now at an all-time high. As awareness continues to grow, a majority of consumers are making informed decisions on timeshare ownership. Today, nearly ⅔ of timeshare owners unwillingly pay their annual maintenance and assessment fees. One could say the perception is at an all-time low. If the trend continues then we could see a drastic change in the timeshare landscape by 2025.

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Aside from a number of improved travel options emerging, consumers are now able to research and purchase travel packages that best suit them. While the timeshare timeline has lasted almost 6 decades, it looks like it’s time for the industry to start sharing the wealth with platforms that value the user experience. They don’t really have a choice. But it’s safe to assume they’ll continue targeting uninformed consumers until the market completely dries up. The history of timeshare evolution doesn’t really show us otherwise.

If you’re frustrated with your timeshare contract..

and want to learn more about canceling your agreement, we’d love to schedule a free consultation with you to go over your options. If you’d like to skip the guidance and jump right into the qualification process, then you can fill out an eligibility form below.

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The Result of Walking Away from Timeshare Maintenance Fees

The Result of Walking Away from Timeshare Maintenance Fees

As we’ve discussed in previous articles, timeshare ownership can be full of unexpected occurrences that don’t align with the anticipated experience. From booking frustrations to surprise assessment fees, the vacation haven can quickly shift from butterflies to a perpetual payment of regret. Not only can this type of expense drain people’s bank accounts, it can damage their perception of the travel industry – and rightfully so. Although it may seem like common sense to pay attention to every detail when planning a trip or settling on a timeshare, many travelers are distracted by potential. Once they become privy of the reality of their situation, it’s normally too late for them to turn back.

When you think about it, preparing for a vacation is stressful enough on its own. Adding additional fees and a lack of availability to the equation can create quite a bit of animosity – towards the resort and at home. Unfortunately, the timeshare industry could care less. If you haven’t already found out for yourself, its overflowing with deceitful promises. Once you think you’re in the clear, something else backfires. No matter how many options there are to find timeshare relief, they all seem to lead you back to the same problem. Owning the property can be quite the drag in this scenario.

Walking Away From Timeshare Maintenance Fees Sounds Good

Many timeshare owners despise the sight of their annual timeshare maintenance fees. They just so happen to arrive in the mailbox during this time of the year. Just in time to spread, I mean kill, some holiday cheer. If money is tight or the timeshare owner is simply fed up with the expense, they might consider doing something drastic. Some might look to make a statement and seriously consider walking away from timeshare maintenance fees altogether.

Whether they’ve paid off the contract or not, they might feel like the value of the purchase isn’t adding up. Dumping the timeshare and it’s fees might seem like a viable option to those that desperately want to get rid of timeshare expenses. Do you find yourself contemplating whether or not to walk away? It’s important that you don’t let your emotions or resentment cloud your judgement on this one. Thousands of timeshare owners have been and will be penalized for this decision.

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Why We Care About the Decisions You Make.

At VOC, we speak to thousands of unhappy, disgruntled timeshare owners every year. A good number of them simply cannot afford making payments anymore. It’s a sad truth that’s much more prevalent than most people know. The purchase has been a lot more overwhelming than they ever expected. Helping them find a resolution is important to us – whether they decide to cancel the timeshare or not. At the same time, in order to help them help themselves, we have to make sure they don’t act irrationally. Before you go through with walking away from timeshare maintenance fees, we want to explain what you can expect in return.

Why You Shouldn’t Stop Paying Timeshare Maintenance Fees.

When it comes to maintenance and assessment fees, the amount charged is unfortunately out of the timeshare owner’s control. These costs are determined and governed by a management company (or board) and the transparency is basically non-existent. Although they usually cover property maintenance, operations, budgetary concerns and improvements, a number of “various expenses” typically arise.

Even when timeshare owners don’t agree with the amounts being charged, they’re contractually obligated to cover the expenses of the resort. Almost all timeshare purchases involve perpetual agreements. In other words, they’ve agreed to pay for an infinite period of time. Getting rid of timeshare contracts is nearly impossible as is. If you breach your contract, you can typically expect the following repercussions.

1. You’ll be Refused Reservations and other Options.

When you veer off from the contract requirements, the resort reserves the right to deny your reservation requests. Although this may not apply to those wanting to cancel the timeshare purchase in the past, it’s still something the resort will make sure you’re aware of. If you do decide to book your week, the check-in desk will refuse the reservation due to a contract violation.

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Aside from your annual vacations, the timeshare will also refuse to process rental requests. You may think you’re being cunning by offering your week as a rental, but you’ll soon find out it’s not that easy. What happens when you have to process a refund and find the traveler another place to stay? Talk about a costly mistake.

You might think an exchange will work in your favor as well. But, when you’re not current on your maintenance fees, depositing your week (or interval) may no longer be an option either. You’re right to process anything regarding the resort is restricted when you decide to walk away from the obligation you signed up for.

2. You’ll be Pursued for Timeshare Maintenance Fees

Defaulting on the timeshare by walking away from the fees will also initiate attempts by the resort to hold you accountable for the breach. Failing to honor the contract gives them every right to pursue you to the furthest degree. This can range from aggressive forms of communication by an internal team to sending you to a 3rd party collections agency.

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The resort is going to do everything they can to pressure you into making any type of payment. Similar to the sales tactics used to close or upgrade you, they know exactly how to hit you where it hurts in order to collect. Many timeshare owners would rather pay the maintenance fees than deal with the consequences. But, some are stubborn enough to dare the resort to act.

In addition to collection attempts, it’s important that you realize the resort will also hit you with penalties and late fees. If you’re still paying on a mortgage and walk away, then you have to anticipate compounding fees for both. Most loans come from a 3rd party lender that has nothing to do with resort obligations. You could end up being harassed by two separate entities if you’re not careful.

When a certain amount of time has passed without success (normally 30-90 days), it’s almost a guarantee that your delinquency will be reported to a credit reporting agency. Although this may not initially worry you, a damaged credit history can eventually hinder your ability to borrow money for an extended period of time. A car loan or another mortgage may be out of the question until the negative reporting falls off. If the timeshare company is extra stingy, they can continue to renew the balance owed for a long time.

couple-unable-to-get-car-loan-or-home-mortgage-because-of-credit-damage-due-to-walking-away-from-timeshare-maintenance-fees-realizing-they-should-have-cancelled-the-contract-with-voc

Just like most timeshare owners hope things will work out in their favor, the timeshare company normally assumes you’ll eventually pay up. If they get the drift that you’re serious about refusing to pay, they may begin to threaten you with legal action. Although some of the smaller timeshare operations don’t have the capabilities or means to legally pursue you, a large majority do – and they will. Assuming this is another scare tactic can backfire on you quickly.

Aside from the time investment, a legal battle can easily cost you everything you have. Remember, resorts have the leverage of a legally binding contract on their side. They also have the firepower to legally pursue you to the fullest extent if they want to. Is walking away from timeshare maintenance fees really worth all that?

4. The Resort Can Pursue a Foreclosure.

Besides compounding late fees, collections and credit reports, the developer (or HOA board) also has the right to pursue a foreclosure on the property. No different than a legal battle, the timeshare can add foreclosure costs to the amount you owe them. Court fees, attorney expenses, filing costs and other documentation efforts can be financially damaging.

The foreclosure process can be dragged out for years if it has to be. Even if you think you’re in the clear and collection agencies stop calling, a foreclosure may be in the works. Some timeshare owners don’t hear about this for years and are blindsided by the repercussions. Once the courts are involved, the outlook isn’t very favorable for the timeshare owner. Just like delinquent balances sent to collections, a foreclosure can drastically impact your credit scores.

5. Other Owners at the Resort Will Pay the Price

What can be hard to swallow for most timeshare owners, is the impact their decision has on their peers. On top of individual repercussions, walking away from timeshare maintenance fees causes other owners to pick up the slack. The resort may initially absorb the costs, but they’ll eventually disperse the loss amongst their remaining fractional owners. Although this takes time, it’s inevitable.

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In most cases, this affects those that are in good standing with the resort. Resorts have no problem charging those that pay their bills on time. In other words, you’re giving owners without problems the same frustrations that caused you to walk away. Resorts will make sure you’re aware of this. Guilting you is another form of leverage they’ll play in order to get you to pay. Even if it’s by force, they have no intention of losing you as a customer or their residual income. At the end of the day, someone will pay for the maintenance fees so the resort can cash in on the profits they estimated for the year.

Walk Away From Your Timeshare Legally with VOC.

Understanding the result of walking away from timeshare maintenance fees can be gut-wrenching. If you were set on ceasing payment, the reality of the repercussions may cause you to lose the little bit of hope you had. But, you’re not alone. Escaping the clutch of timeshare ownership is on the minds of thousands of travelers across the country. We want you to know there’s no need to give up and give in if you’re serious about getting out.

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At VOC, we specialize in helping timeshare owners find a resolution. Once you’ve exhausted all options, we’re able to provide you with guaranteed timeshare cancellation services. What differentiates us is the simple fact there are no pressure sales, no broken promises and zero misrepresentation. Since 2014, we’ve upheld our reputation by terminating 100% of our client’s timeshare contracts. Not only have we followed through with our promises, but we’ve provided timeshare owners with the professional experience they deserve. If you’re considering walking away from timeshare maintenance fees, we’d love to point you in the right direction. The only result you should be focused on is a memorable vacation that’s timeshare free.

Check Your Eligibility

View our eligibility form below to inquire about our qualifying for our timeshare cancellation program. This is the first step in getting to know how to get out of timeshare maintenance fees and the contract with the resort altogether.

How Timeshare Assessment Fees Are Different Than Maintenance Costs

How Timeshare Assessment Fees Are Different Than Maintenance Costs

Purchasing a timeshare can be an exciting time for those that have dreamed about vacationing every year. It’s easy for most to commit to a monthly agreement that seems to be cheaper than spending money on one-time vacation packages. But, they soon find out that additional expenses and fees easily push them outside of their budget while expectations typically don’t match the presentation. Aside from maintenance costs catching new property owners off guard, timeshare assessment fees can be maddening. Moreover, they can be devastating. Getting out of a timeshare may be desired, but the financial burden can handicap their ability to cancel the contract when they need to the most.

Unlike vacation rentals or travel deals, timeshare ownership leaves many feeling trapped. Once they sign the contract, they’re obligated to adhere to the terms they agreed to – even if the details weren’t ever made clear to them. As we’ve mentioned in other articles, far too many interested consumers are distracted by the value propositions of owning a timeshare and overlook the actualities that come with a purchase of this magnitude.

Know the Details Before Signing the Contract!

For whatever reason, timeshare sales presentations are so persuasive that many travelers don’t even research the opportunity before spending tens of thousands of dollars into the property. If they did, they’d quickly realize most timeshares have zero resale value. A large percentage of timeshare owners aren’t even aware that their financial commitment can drastically increase when repairs, damage or acquisitions occur. Misinformation is common in the timeshare industry. But, pointing fingers at unethical sales practices isn’t going to solve the problem.

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At VOC, we take pride in helping potential timeshare owners understand what they’re getting themselves into before making the purchase. Educating current owners on the terms of their contract also allows us to help them find the best way to cancel their timeshare for good. So, before you call the resort to complain about unexpected expenses, let’s discuss the major differences between timeshare assessment fees and maintenance costs. Knowing what to expect will help you better navigate the muddy waters of timeshare ownership.

What Are Timeshare Maintenance Fees?

As we discussed in our previous article, timeshare maintenance fees are annual charges that go towards maintaining the resort and the operational costs of the property. If you’d like to see the resort invest more money in laundry services or to update the carpet, then the cost of these “upgrades” will eventually come out of timeshare owners’ pockets. For example, properties with excess greenery or golf courses use yearly timeshare maintenance fees to spread out landscaping costs. The amenities and elements of the resort that initially caught your eye during the presentation aren’t necessarily included in your mortgage.

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Unexpected Maintenance Fees Are Unpredictable.

What’s worse, is that these yearly fees fluctuate every year depending on what the timeshare claims as maintenance. There’s no questionnaire that goes out to property owners asking for their opinion or input on decisions about the premises. At the end of the day, they can basically bill their occupants for whatever they want. What’s more concerning is that yearly timeshare fees continue to rise. A 10-year mortgage for $20,000 can easily become a $30,000 expense when you factor in maintenance fees. Keep in mind, this isn’t even including your interest rate (15-19%) and unexpected timeshare assessment fees.

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What Happens When You Pay Off the Timeshare Contract?

Do you still think owning a timeshare is cheaper than your family vacation for four? What many don’t realize is that they’ll still be on the hook for maintenance fees once they’ve paid off their timeshare mortgage. Contracts don’t become expendable once payments are complete. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. As long as you’re under contract, you’re responsible for your share of property expenses. This is when a good number of timeshare owners begin thinking it might be a good idea to dump the timeshare altogether.

What Else Can Increase Maintenance Fees?

You’ll typically see a large increase in timeshare maintenance fees when an acquisition takes place. If the resort decides to transform the location into luxury suites, property owners are expected to quietly foot the bill. Similar to a new property management company gutting an apartment complex, the acquirer will say major changes need to take place in order for the resort to be profitable. In other words, they justify the increase with a few open ended promises.

Unfortunately, most don’t improve anything about the property and simply spread out acquisition costs through maintenance fees. A $500 increase for 100 rooms with 50% occupancy can generate them a quick $1.3 million in the first year. While maintenance fees can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, timeshare assessment fees can be substantial.

Explaining Special Timeshare Assessment Fees

Unlike maintenance costs, timeshare assessment fees are not annual expenses that you can anticipate (or save up for) every year. In most cases, these unexpected fees are sent out to timeshare owners after a natural disaster or extensive damage occurs to the property. Hurricanes, wildfires and volcanic eruptions have led to several recent lawsuits regarding timeshare assessment fees.

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Instead of rolling out damage control or resort improvements over an extended period of time, most timeshare companies give their owners a few months to pay them hefty sums of money. Unless you’re up to date with everything going on at the resort, you’ll more than likely get blindsided by timeshare assessment fees. Some vacation owners are forced to hand over the deed to the property due to their inability to pay the fee on time. Losing the timeshare can be a punch to the gut, but dealing with collection agencies and a damaged credit score can be even more devastating. Failure to pay timeshare maintenance fees and assessment costs can even result in a foreclosure if you’re not careful.

What Can Impact Assessment Fees?

With an increasing number of owners legally cancelling their contracts or defaulting on payments, timeshare assessment charges have been used as damage control. When there is less money coming in, the resort needs to make up for the difference. The costs that timeshare companies deem “billable” isn’t going to change when there are less timeshare owners in the building. It simply costs every remaining owner more money to keep their share. At the end of the day, the resort’s board of directors has total control over what they charge their timeshare owners for. 

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Are Timeshare Assessment Fees Related to Maintenance Costs?

Similar to maintenance fees, people under contract really have no choice but to pony up the cash for timeshare assessment costs. The only time the two charges are related is when “special” assessment fees are issued because the revenue from maintenance fees wasn’t an ample amount. Whether fees are considered “required” upgrades (like a new pool during the offseason or improved telecommunications) or uncovered costs, timeshare companies will find a way to distribute the expense. Unfortunately, they have every right to do so.

Why Legal Timeshare Cancellation Makes Sense

By ignoring contract details during signing, many timeshare owners end up being held hostage by their agreement. Fees can end up doubling or even tripling their anticipated annual expense. This makes it easy to understand why ownership turnover is so high. A timeshare sold for $20,000 can realistically cost consumers $40,000+ over 10 years. Not everyone has this kind of money laying around. Either way, the timeshare profits at the consumer’s expense. Although some scams are obvious enough to lead to class action lawsuits, not all timeshare owners are presented with ample relief options.

Once disgruntled owners start to consider timeshare cancellation, hundreds of predatory agencies and con artists await their desperation. Attempting to find an affordable solutions more than likely puts them even further in debt. What seemed to be a small investment towards a great time can become a headache with no end in sight. Although many are stubborn about the purchase, a good number know what they have to do.

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How to Get Rid of Timeshare Fees Altogether.

Whether your timeshare contract is paid off or you still own a mortgage, unexpected fees can be a nuisance. Most of our clients decide to finally get rid of timeshare obligations when the value of ownership doesn’t add up to the cost. Maintenance and assessment fees getting out of hand makes it easy to look for relief. The problem is, many wait until they’re in the hole financially to take action. It makes it very difficult for them to do anything at all. Walking away from these fees can also make matters much worse.

This is why we provide eligible timeshare owners payment options for our services, like $0 down and 0% financing. At VOC, instead of preying on desperation and over promising, we actually take the time to understand your situation. Paying for a timeshare cancellation service after spending thousands to own the timeshare may sound crazy, but the long term benefit is evident. In order to eliminate the fees associated with owning a timeshare, it’s important that you realize time is not on your side. The longer you put off getting out of the agreement, the more fees you’ll experience over time. Money saved is money earned when it comes to getting out of a timeshare.

If you think you are ready to legally cancel your timeshare contract we’d love to schedule a free consultation with you. Give us a call or fill out our form today to get the process started. We aren’t going to ask you for your credit card to simply answer your questions and have agents standing by to educate you on how our process works. There’s no need to worry about pressure sales or broken promises anymore. Take control of your situation, eliminate your timeshare assessment fees and become contract-free with VOC!

Apply For Our Timeshare Cancellation Services

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