8 Things to Look For in a Timeshare Vacation Package Before Signing Up.

8 Things to Look For in a Timeshare Vacation Package Before Signing Up.

At VOC, we understand that helping timeshare owners doesn’t always mean providing a legal contract termination. Oftentimes, they simply need honest feedback on where they are or what they can do with their timeshare. Unfortunately, far too many buyers never totally understand the purchase until they run into problems. There’s a reason why sales teams aggressively rush consumers during the presentation. So, if you don’t even know what to look for in a timeshare vacation package, then you shouldn’t put yourself in a position to buy one until you have the information needed to make such a commitment. 

Understanding the product before signing the agreement is absolutely crucial. Those that don’t are often convinced before they even think about reviewing all verbal guarantees and promises. But it’s not exactly their fault. Over the course of the summer, we intentionally spent a lot of time explaining the deception behind a timeshare sale and how consumers are misled throughout. This is important because leisure travel will resume at some point in time and timeshare companies will be looking for new unsuspecting buyers. 

What to Expect When Closed Resorts Reopen.

When travel bans and local restrictions cease, millions of tourists will be exposed to the ever-luring timeshare sale and thousands will be sucked into a presentation. It’s difficult to talk someone out of “the deal of a lifetime” when they believe it to be true. The point is, the only way to slow down the misinformed purchase of timeshares is to reach consumers before they’re sold. 

What Does An Ideal Timeshare Vacation Package Look Like?

The thousands of inquiries we’ve processed over the years prove that bad, impromptu decisions can be painful and expensive to fix – kind of like getting a random tattoo that says “no regrets” one crazy night while out with friends. The next morning, the reflection in the mirror may elicit a different set of emotions. Bad decisions that are said to be permanent can be erased. But the removal process will cost additional time and money while possibly leaving behind a few scars.

So, if you’re considering vacation ownership or planning a trip in the near future, here are 8 things to look for in a timeshare vacation package before signing up. If you honestly can’t confirm these critical elements of a good vacation, then you should be able to confidently say “No” and walk away without any remorse. 


1. The Timeshare is Available During Ideal Dates. 

One of the most common causes of timeshare regret is limited availability. Although a number of sales teams claim booking options are nearly endless, it doesn’t always pan out this way. Buyers rarely consider the element of retail travel and don’t realize timeshare companies send a good portion of their inventory to 3rd party booking agencies (Expedia, Priceline, etc.) throughout the year – especially during peak seasons or dates with a high demand.

As a paying owner, it’s frustrating to be told your annual trip is not available. Especially when you can book the same trip on a retail travel site that’s available to the general public, for less than what you are obligated to pay as an owner. So before you buy a timeshare travel package with a seemingly vast selection of trips, understand that availability can be somewhat of a mirage.


If your family’s schedule limits you to specific dates or a certain week of the year, then it’s important you’re able to guarantee availability in the terms of your timeshare agreement. Assuming the best typically makes timeshare matters worse. Those fully reliant on verbal promises and an ambiguous contract often learn the hard way. Even after stumbling through ownership, many continue to inconveniently force an undesirable vacation just to get something for their money.

If this is not important to you, then by all means, sign away. But it should be. Many consumers fail to ask these types of questions prior to executing such a binding agreement. The thought of running it by a contract attorney is discouraged and rarely even crosses their mind – setting them up for disappointment. Answers don’t come easy at a timeshare sales presentation, but requesting a contract review is easy. Specific language that confirms promised availability should give you confidence in the product – vague information should not.


2. Reservations Are Available in Ideal Locations.

Similar to booking certain dates, availability in certain locations or destinations can be just as misleading. Take one of our clients, Maria, for example. Immediately after purchasing her timeshare vacation package (because of family discounts to the Dominican Republic), she was not able to find any availability or discounts. When she called the timeshare, she was essentially told it wasn’t their problem.  

Just because you purchase a package from a prominent resort doesn’t mean you’re going to be flooded with options. Now that points systems are in play, it’s easier for resorts to limit access and offer upgrades. The initial purchase is often used as a foot in the door that leads buyers down a rabbit hole of conditional upgrades, claiming to carry a much better experience. The problem is, further purchases often result in additional contracts and unexpected fees.

In order to avoid all of this mess, you have to ensure your expectations are in writing. Far too many consumers buy a timeshare vacation package thinking they’re going to be traveling to Hawaii for Christmas. A few months later, when they go to schedule the trip, they realize every resort in Hawaii is booked solid and Wisconsin Dells is the only option. There’s no need to have a weary Christmas and a crappy New Year. If the contract language doesn’t secure your “ideal” trip then expectations can’t be high.

3. All Anticipated Costs Are Fully Explained. 

Timeshare sales teams have been known to intentionally avoid the pertinent details of the contract (annual fees, interest, travel expenses and other hidden costs) in order to manipulate the actual cost of timeshares. They do this for good reason. Aside from the thousands of dollars that could be billed at any time for maintenance or special assessments, no bank will refinance the purchase. Interest rates drastically increase the overall expense and a $20K product can easily turn into $45K over a 10-year payment period.


This is why it’s important for potential buyers to take the time to determine if the financial commitment makes sense. Just know it’s rare to work with a seller that’s willing to take the time to explain every aspect of the contract and forecast costs while comparing them to your budget. Because of this, confirming an accurate estimate is crucial. 

Language in the contract should state whether or not you’re obligated to pay for special assessments (also known as liability) and what you can expect in annual fees (maintenance, taxes, transfers, etc). Moreover, does the timeshare contract disclose a cap on how much fees can rise each year? It’s also important to factor in how much your timeshare vacation package could cost you in food, drinks, entertainment and transportation. By considering these things, you may find that you in fact do not have an adequate budget for the purchase.

4. Contract Is Fully Disclosed By Sales Teams.

Although dates and locations are a big part of vacation ownership, understanding the totality of the agreement is far more important. A timeshare is not something you can easily ditch when it’s no longer fruitful. The purchase is not like a car that can be sold. No, you’re essentially buying a second mortgage for a vacation property you can only use sporadically according to the terms of your contract and the state of the industry.

While it’s nothing like homeownership, there are some penalties and binding terms that you’re going to want to know and understand. Underestimating the product can lead to a number of financial disasters if you’re not sure what to look for in a timeshare vacation package before signing up. Why assume you’re in good hands without confirmation?

If you happen to be told there is no time for an attorney to look over your contract, or that you’ll lose your “today only deal” if you do, then you should most certainly walk away. The salesperson is undoubtedly using unfavorable urgency and time close tactics to push for a rash decision that benefits them. A seller that encourages you to take the time you need to look it over usually has your best interest at heart.


5. Trial Period and Customer Care Is Reasonable.

Anyone that has owned a timeshare before knows that the customer service teams are oftentimes far below average. You could even assume most are simply another layer of incentivised salespeople. Nonetheless, you can normally gauge the level of service rather quickly by asking a number of critical questions and demanding straightforward answers. A sampler timeshare vacation package that delivers could be worth considering.

If sales or customer service teams are eager to serve you (no matter what) then you’re probably getting a soft preview of the experience. Most timeshare sales people look to butter you up, so you have to be willing to look past the sales pitch. All trials should match the description of the presentation and all upgrade options should be clear. 

6. Available Opt Out Clauses With Conditions.

If you don’t plan on owning a vacation home (or week) for the remainder of your life, then why are you looking at timeshare vacation packages? Far too many buyers think payments cease once the mortgage is paid in full but fees and other expenses can easily add to the lump sum of the cost. If you’re led to believe you can cancel the timeshare contract at any time, then it needs to be in writing. 

Almost every timeshare purchase includes a rescission clause (cancellation period) that expires 3-7 days post contract signing. Some buyers are privy to these types of options but most are not. For the most part, once you sign up, you’re in it for the long haul. It doesn’t take much research to confirm that hundreds of thousands of buyers spend countless hours and money attempting to make the purchase worthwhile

If you’ve come across a timeshare travel opportunity that provides you with an opt-out clause or certain conditions that protect you as a consumer, then it could be a good deal. While you should still work hard to confirm other elements of the transaction, a convenient opt-out clause does communicate that your business is valued.


7. The Acquisition or Takeover Process is Clear. 

One of the most unexpected scenarios of timeshare ownership is a transfer of power. This can occur when other prominent chains have more authority, know-how or capital in a certain region (and they strongarm the competition); or it’s a simple acquisition that benefits both parties in some type of way. Either way, this usually does not benefit vacation owners.

When another entity buys out another, their rules and requirements normally take over – hence the word. This means, the timeshare vacation package that was originally signed could become obsolete while being replaced with new terms and obligations. This can often get hairy for buyers, but there’s not much they can do. 

This is why it’s important to review the contract of a timeshare vacation package to ensure there is favorable language in the event of an acquisition or takeover. If you’re unable to garner quality information regarding this or the salesperson responds with a bunch of fluff, then the opportunity may not be for you. Although a buyout may not devastate you financially, there is a real possibility that it could at some point in the future

8. There’s No Rush to Make A Decision. 

Like we’ve mentioned before, the pressure and urgency of a timeshare presentation can be overwhelming. Thinking on your feet while someone tries to convince you that a “deal” you weren’t expecting is going to expire can make one extremely uncomfortable. Listen, no sales process should ever be this way. If you’ve found a timeshare company that allows you to take the agreement home, or to review with an attorney before signing, then you have reason to be hopeful.


At the same time, don’t let one checked box convince you. There is plenty of reason to remain skeptical. Once they’re able to prove their willingness to honor terms, respect your time and exemplify all of the above characteristics should you be confident the timeshare vacation package you’re looking into. Nearly every timeshare experience is different and we hope you’re able to find something that works for you.

If you happen to be a vacation owner with questions or concerns about your contract, you can always schedule a Free Consultation to learn more about your immediate options.

Maria & Luis Wanted to Escape Vacation Ownership | Maria & Luis’s Story

Maria & Luis Wanted to Escape Vacation Ownership | Maria & Luis’s Story

Over the years, we’ve talked to thousands of vacation owners about their timeshare experience and the regret of the purchase as a whole. Whether it takes them days, months, years or decades to denounce the product, each tells a unique story. While the entrapment is fairly consistent, the consumer reaction and corresponding misfortune is rarely the same. Because of the depths of the deal and magnitude of the transaction, some even struggle to pinpoint where it all went wrong. But for one couple, it was clear right away that they needed to escape vacation ownership immediately. 

Unlike many consumers, they took the large purchase very seriously. In other words, they didn’t completely buy into promises and were highly critical when expectations weren’t met. They asked questions and pressed the timeshare giant for answers as they believed their hard-earned money seemed to be going to waste. In the end, escaping what they felt was an inaccurate purchase was proving to be exhausting. 

But before we get into the details of their misguided journey, let’s better understand why Maria and Luis bought the timeshare in the first place – and why they feel it turned into such a devastating blow for their family.

A Timeshare Purchase to Celebrate a New Life.


Originally from the Dominican Republic, Maria and Luis worked hard to become U.S. citizens and chase the American dream. To them, this “dream” wasn’t just about earning money. It was more about raising a family with rights and values in a land of opportunity. During our discussion with Maria, she looked back at their life saying, “Luis and I had to work a lot for a long time just to go on a trip.” The last thing they wanted to do was fight to escape vacation ownership.

For most of their life, bills consumed them. After going to school, Maria took on the occupation of a medical assistant and the couple began saving for their future. Once they paid off their mortgage, they turned their attention to their son’s college tuition. No matter how far ahead they were able to get, setbacks usually kept them from truly rewarding the family’s work ethic. While this would discourage many, we could hear a sense of pride in Maria’s voice. 

As she continued explaining their story to us, it was evident that determination has carried them. Even a surgical procedure last May, that cost them 6 weeks of pay, didn’t detour their aspirations of escaping reality one day. By the time their boys graduated, and bills seemed to settle, Maria and Luis eagerly took a 7-day Florida vacation for two. 

While the intent was to enjoy a well-deserved getaway and “celebrate a new life”, the experience didn’t exactly go as planned. Here is their story and why they decided to legally escape vacation ownership.


Anticipated Vacation Interrupted by Misleading Raffle.

On September 7th of 2019, Maria and Luis were having a “great time” on vacation. After getting up early to go sightseeing, the couple decided to go on a bus tour to explore the city. They also went on a “boat trip” with a large group of people to see more of the Florida shoreline. Once aboard, they were promptly “approached by two gentlemen pitching a raffle.” Like most people on vacation, they decided to take their chances. 

“They gave us a form asking for our information, like how much we make a year,” Maria said. This should have been the first red flag. No raffle needs to know this to give something away. Despite this, Maria and Luis ended up “winning” and were presented with a “trip for their next vacation.” This really caught them off guard. “We never win anything,” said Maria. Now that they want to escape vacation ownership, the deception is clear.

The Appearance of an Award Misleads the Travelers.

“That is when they arranged for us to go to the timeshare hotel to claim this special deal they were offering,” she recalled. “We were not told the specific details of what that entailed and were only told that we had to go to the timeshare to claim our prize.” Upon exit of the boat, transportation was already waiting for them. From here, they were taken to meet Daniela Rausseo, a guest service representative at the hotel. But they soon found out that Daniela wasn’t exactly handing out the prize they had “won”.


“She greeted us and took us to a conference room where she brought us a binder full of information [with] benefits of being a member of the timeshare.” The couple was then ushered into a sales presentation to hammer home the perks, she recalled. “The presentation was this whole flashy show about the great amenities, prizes, memberships, clubs – basically becoming a part of this timeshare ‘family’. They also gave us a tour of the facilities [and] kept us there and fished for more information.”

The Reality of the Ploy Was Difficult to See.

As Maria reflects on the experience, you can tell her perspective of the sales pitch is totally different today. In hindsight, she wishes they never partook in the raffle. She believes they were viewed as easy targets and handpicked to win. “They got us into signing up for the package and a credit card without being fully transparent of what this was,” she said. Maria also pointed out the couple has always been strict with their money and never this gullible. But after being worn down by relentless sales pitches, they fell for the deal.

“They took advantage of the exhaustion of keeping us there for six hours from 4pm to 10pm,” says Maria. Aside from losing out on the vacation time they worked hard for, they felt deceived. “We thought it would be simple to just get information on this, but instead, we got roped into something we did not want.” Aside from their income, the couple believes they were easy targets for “predators” because they were middle class, low income tourists that were new to empty nesting.

How Does a Free Trip Turn Into Discounted Timeshares.

One of the hardest things for the couple to get over is the character of the timeshare’s salespeople. “They seemed to be genuine [and] they pretended to be friendly and honest,” she recalled. The couple doesn’t believe they’d be trying to escape vacation ownership today if someone would have simply been honest with them. “We thought they were our friends and we would have said, ‘No’.” But because they were implored to trust the pitch, they were misled.


How Did Trust Impact Their Final Decision?

It’s important to understand that this type of misrepresentation further blinded the couple from additional red flags. At one point, they totally forgot about the “free trip” they were supposed to “quickly” receive. “It was overwhelming,” she said. By the time they gave in, Maria said guest services “worked very fast and quickly to check our credit and begin the process.” Without many questions asked, Luis and his wife were quickly assigned a “universal room” that was said to be the same as their tour.

The couple’s minor raffle prize wasn’t even explained or awarded until after $1,624.55 was charged to a new credit card account and 10 years worth of timeshare mortgage payments had been scheduled ($255.55/month at 17.99% interest). The agreement they’re now looking to escape also included about $1,000 in maintenance, tax and assessment fees they weren’t fully aware of. Instead of focusing on contract terms, “guest services” sent them on their way with a helpful guide on how to use it all. 

Aside from their subconscious desire (like most people) to travel as empty nesters, Maria and Luis finally gave in because the pressure of the sales environment was too much to bear. Sadly, thousands of innocent people like this are worn down by timeshare sales presentations every year. While it was their decision to buy, it’s safe to say the lure played a major role in the outcome. Unfortunately, most buyers never escape vacation ownership.

The Couple Felt Uneasy About the Purchase Right Away.

“They run their business like a smooth sales machine. From the beginning they have the recruiter ready to go. They have the conference room setup, the guest representative waiting, a supervisor on site and a notary on standby. It was the perfect set up to convince the guests even more to sign up for this deal – and especially to apply pressure to couples,” said Maria. “What they did was predatory and not okay.”

She went on to say, “They know how to play this game. They know what they’re doing, how to manage it [and] what they’re doing to wrap people around their feelings.” By the time the couple got home from vacation, they started wondering about the effect of that $300/month payment. “You start thinking, there goes my electric bill,” she said. But despite intuition and a subtle buyer’s remorse, they decided to give it a try.

The Timeshare Didn’t Provide Much of an Escape.

The couple’s first call to the timeshare occurred a month later (October 2019) when Maria tried booking her brother a trip to the Dominican Republic. After logging into their account, she realized prices were still high and no deals were available. She remembers wondering, “why would he have to pay this much for something we already pay for?” She told us, “That’s when I came to the realization, Oh my God, what have we done? This is nothing like they say it was – nothing like it.” 

According to Maria, no matter how many phone calls she made, she was not able to speak to someone that could help. The card that Daniela Rausseo (who’s actually registered as a realtor in Dade County, Florida) had given her with contact numbers was bogus. “No one is allowed to talk to the sales representatives or teams,” she said. Breaking free from the binding contract started to seem impossible.

Even though valid complaints were immediately made and three timeshare cancellation letters were written, the responses they received showed them they’d have to seek outside help to escape vacation ownership. Maria and Luis were told, “You have the timeshare, it is your responsibility to sell it, pay it or take care of it on your own,” she said. Here is one of the replies from the timeshare company:


The Couple’s Timeshare Experience Was Devastating.

When asked how this made them feel, she replied, “I felt very taken advantage of and felt like an idiot for falling into their trap – I can’t describe with words how I feel.” In the past, the couple’s determination has carried them. But effort hasn’t provided them much satisfaction to date when it comes to escaping their timeshare.

“A lot of my family members have no idea,” she said. Despite deception being the culprit, there’s a lot of embarrassment and shame in her story. “I’m disappointed in myself and for my husband and kids. My life is absolutely destroyed.” Everything they’ve worked for is now turned back due to a purchase they were talked into. Helping Luis and his wife manage this situation is a privilege. 

In our next article, we’ll talk more about the couple’s experience with VOC and how they’re looking to move past their timeshare decision. If you’d like to learn more about how you can help Maria and Luis escape vacation ownership financially, leave us a comment below! If you’re currently in a similar situation, you can always schedule a free consultation to better understand your options.

Additional Tourist Destinations That Timeshare Operations Have Taken Over – Part 3.

Additional Tourist Destinations That Timeshare Operations Have Taken Over – Part 3.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been covering some of the areas of our great country that have been taken over by timeshare operations. While many gleen in the idea of an economic boost, tourist destinations also present the community with a number of drawbacks. One of the things we’ve glossed over to this point the simple fact timeshare sales teams aren’t the most morally-driven citizens. In fact, many former timeshare employees recount a sense of having to “sell their soul” in order to find success in the industry.

Moreover, many are forced to lean heavily on misconduct to support the lavish lifestyles their commissions have granted them. Living in tourist destinations is not cheap. Sadly, the crafty, enabling culture and financial reward of selling timeshares changes many. Once some employees taste the greed-laced kool aid, profiting at the consumer’s expense becomes natural to them. While the goal of this article isn’t to prove crooked career paths trickle into societal issues, it is worth noting when analyzing the impact of timeshares in our local cities.

Have Timeshares Truly Boosted Local Economies?

A few years ago, David Segal (CEO and Founder of Westgate) boasted in a publication about the timeshare industry’s impact on the economy– specifically in Orlando. As one of the largest employers in Florida, he believes his business endeavors have been fruitful. According to FTN News, the timeshare industry stands at a $10.2 billion dollar industry with consecutive growth year over year for the last nine years. Understanding what and who has been impacted is key here as money can’t always be the only motive.


What about the residents that have been lured into timeshare contracts or morally altered by their sales job? How many buyers have gone through financial hardship from a timeshare purchase? What about the luring, carny-like salespeople that flood the streets of cities that were once known for true hospitality? One sales representative could affect 20 families every month. To put that in perspective, 1K sales reps could easily impact 20K people – 240,000 families annually.


Much of today’s narrative is controlled by hearsay and money. As time passes, it’ll be easier to measure the true economic growth of tourist destinations. In the meantime, we can always assess some of the concrete facts surrounding some of the most beautiful places Americans travel to most. By looking at the history of these locations, we can easily understand how they evolved into tourist destinations that timeshare operations have taken over.

Two More Cities Eventually Taken Over By Tourism.

Many of America’s popular cities are lined with OPC (Off Premise Concierge) kiosks and incentivized contractors spewing information about special offers and “free” packages in exchange for tourist’s time. You have likely unknowingly passed one of these kiosks while on vacation, disguised as an “information” booth to attract tourists. Places like Las Vegas, Park City and Orlando immediately come to mind. But not all tourist destinations are jam-packed with corporate sales pitches as the cultural community often carries the slack. 

In other words, the livelihoods of locals in some tourist destinations count on the travel industry. Not every destination city was once a vast frontier, taken over by developers. Sometimes, hotels and resorts are the foundation of the economy and its ability to sustain. Islands often take on this purpose – unless owned and used for a specific purpose. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

5. Cancun, Mexico.


Up until the 1960’s, Cancun is said to have been a deserted island for most of its existence. This is hard to imagine as it’s now one of the most popular beach destinations for tourists across the world. Although history is rather desolate, there are traces of the Mayan culture sprinkled throughout the island. But unlike other inhabited areas of land, there was no siege – at least not one recorded. 

If so, the Maya Civilization would have definitely put up a fight. According to historical documentation, the promontory city was somewhat of a fortress that overlooked the ocean while providing the community with high ground. Like many civilizations, disease and conflict is said to have wiped them out. But there is no scarcity of artifacts throughout the area as Cancun connects to a number of Mayan sites in the Yucatan Peninsula.


A majority of these landmarks have been restored and maintained, limiting the expansion of tourist attractions. But this didn’t discourage developers from building resorts around the island’s remnants. In fact, the natural draw of Cancun is one of the main reasons it became one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world overnight. Once major developments were in place, travelers began exploring.


The History of Cancun tells us most of its growth occurred in a short window of 10-15 years. Development was approved in 1969 and construction began the following year. Once roadways connected a small airfield and the nearest port city, Puerto Juarez (now the Marina Town Center), public interest started to grow. But because the site was across borders and little information was known, wealthy Americans hesitated to invest. In turn, the Mexican government funded the development of the island’s first hotels.

In 1974, the “Temptation Resort” (first hotel in Cancun) was completed and opened to the public. Later that year, the resort cut the ribbon on a brand new international airport. Along with establishing the FONATUR (National Foundation for the Promotion of Tourism), this proved to be one of the most iconic events in the history of Cancun, Mexico. By the 80’s, the word had spread of Cancun being one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the Gulf.


As investors found their way south of the border, further exploration and growth started to occur. Although the island endured a terrible hurricane (Gilbert in 1988) and the impact of the 9/11 attacks impacted tourism, they’ve been able to thrive. Not necessarily because of timeshare sales but because of the unique draw of the islands. But make no mistake about it, timeshare resorts have definitely taken over Cancun and benefited from the 500K people that now reside there. As the image above depicts, much has changed in the span of 50 years.

6. The U.S. Hawaiian Islands.

For more than 1500 years, the Polynesians have called Hawaii home. Before the luxurious resorts and private estates, it’s said they discovered the volcanic island, full of rare magnificence, by using the stars to navigate the Pacific Ocean. Although the inhabited landscape eventually invaded the traditions and lifestyles of the Polynesians, their culture is still much a part of the Hawaiian experience today. It’s one of the many reasons why (like the Mayan presence in Mexico) the 49th state of the union is now one of the top tourist destinations in the world.



Despite the current peace on the islands, much conflict occurred throughout history. During the late 1700’s, warfare between island chiefs and native clans was widespread. None of the tribal kingdoms were able to establish dominance until a European Captain by the name of James Cook docked at the Waimea Bay on the island of Kauai in 1778. Cook and his crew initially met King Kamehameha I (a prophetic warrior, diplomat and leader) and immediately joined forces with him in an attempt to unite the islands.

Although Captain Cook was killed at Kealakekua Bay a year into the agreement, his advice and weaponry aided King Kamehameha I during intense battles at Nuuanu Pali on Oahu and Iao Valley. By 1810, a royal kingdom was established and the Kamehameha dynasty reigned in Hawaii until 1874. This is an important time in history because many natives believe the island would have eventually been torn apart by other ambitious westerners if unity wasn’t achieved.


During this time of peace, missionaries migrated to preach, sugar agriculture exploded, the “King’s Band” was formed (still performs today as the Royal Hawaiian Band), Honolulu became the capital and Asians were recruited for hired hands. But one of the biggest missteps of Hawaiian development occurred when The Great Mahele Kamehameha III failed to educate his people on land ownership.


Although ⅓ of the land was available to claim, they didn’t understand the concept or why they needed to make filings under the Kuleana Act. In the end only 1% was left in native hands out of what was originally available to them. This opened a door of opportunity for western influence and foreign expansion.


From here, the government continued to garner more control over local decisions. In 1887 the last of the Hawaiian monarchy was stripped of most of their authority by force – leaving legislation in charge. By 1893 the deconstruction of the Kingdom of Hawaii began and the United States officially annexed the islands through the Newlands Resolution. Two years later, The Organic Act legitimized the Territory of Hawaii.


Once the land was available and a government was in place to sell it, development could begin. The first wealthy landowner to take a chance in Hawaii was Walter Chamberlain Peacock. On March 11, 1901, he opened the first luxury hotel in a deserted area of Waikiki, Hawaii. The Moana Hotel was loaded with 75 rooms and a plethora of rare amenities (like an electric elevator).

Lodging like this especially appealed to upper class consumers. Because of this, tourism slowly became a major factor in the Hawaiian economy. The risks that Peacock took to build his hotel and the success that followed encouraged many others to follow suit. Since much of Hawaii’s land was undeveloped, it quickly became a new frontier with high rewards for wealthy investors.



Over time, high bidders and travel partnerships started to transform the landscape of Hawaii into a money making vacation haven that benefited natives. It’s hard to tell if any of this would have occurred if nationals would have claimed their land or the original kingdom’s remained divided. Either way, it doesn’t take much research to see who reigns over the kingdom of Hawaii today. Lavish resorts, amenities and entertainment have taken over the warrior protected habitat for good.

Traveling To Island Resorts Via Timeshare Ownership.

Much of the natural beauty in these tourist destinations still remains, but the tranquility of both islands will never be the same. While hurricanes, the attack on Pearl Harbor and Kīlauea’s volcanic activity have delayed the economic growth – travel appeal was inevitable. At the same time, it would have been cool to see how the Polynesians or Mayans would have handled hospitality. We think it’s safe to assume that the experience – not the money – would have been a primary motive.


Nonetheless, if you’ve bought a timeshare in these locations (or elsewhere) and are struggling to enjoy the experience, it doesn’t have to be a burden. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to understand these agreements which is why we offer free consultations for all vacation owners. We take pride in answering your questions or concerns so we can help you find an effective solution. Although we do specialize in legally canceling timeshare contracts, we know it’s not always the best option. Just keep in mind, a timeshare isn’t the only portal to paradise in Mexico or Hawaii.

Two More Travel Destinations Ruined by Timeshare Developers.

Two More Travel Destinations Ruined by Timeshare Developers.

In the United States alone, there are thousands of captivating landscapes that are easily accessible by timeshares and hotels. While some areas of the country (like the Grand Canyon) are fairly well preserved, nearly every corner of our country’s natural beauty has been exposed by the travel industry. But there was a time before tourism dominated port cities and mountain peaks. Like we pointed out in last week’s article, settling the land and sustaining a town was required before any real plans could be made. Even so, most travel destinations weren’t even founded on the concept of tourism. 

In the years of exploration, towns either thrived on their own or wealthy businessmen were needed to turn fortunes around. Failure in attractive places provided successful people with opportunities to shape the landscape into money-making havens. One could even say the foundation of hospitality was based on mistakes and others’ ability to capitalize on them. Turning the great outdoors into astonishing indoor attractions was the goal of many. Nonetheless, by the time vacation ownership was an option in the late 1960’s, many U.S. cities had already been primed for the product.

More History On Today’s Hot Travel Destinations.

We decided to cover this topic because we believe it provides consumers with a healthy amount of insight on the motives of the timeshare industry. Today, each of the following locations are known to be littered with timeshare companies vying for consumer attention. For the most part, this occurred because  prime real estate is usually always sold to the highest bidder with the best economic plan. By the time hospitality dominated the marketplace, there was no looking back.


3. The Inland Peninsula of Orlando, Florida.

As one of America’s favorite travel destinations, Orlando, Florida, now boasts a magical kingdom and plethora of resorts made especially for kids and families. But it wasn’t always this pleasant and enjoyable. After taking over the land occupied by the Seminole Indians in 1838, American settlers leveraged the terrain to build a fortress (Fort Gatlin). This helped them better protect women and children while alleviating local attacks. As beautiful as Orlando is today, it’s hard to believe the region was once filled with conflict, fear and greed. 

Nonetheless, the battle for owners’ rights against Native Americans in the southeast peninsula was short lived. Technology, weaponry and brute force didn’t give them much of a chance to defend their territory. By the time the 1840’s rolled in, the dust began to settle and a small town named “Jernigan” (named after one of the first families) emerged. Within a decade, they began moving away from the walls of the fort and even established the community’s first post office. By 1875, nearly 100 people resided in the area and the name was changed to “Orlando.”


Before Disney, Epcot, Universal Studios, swamp tours and parasailing, the city was flooded with opportunity and ambition. Over the next 20 years, Orlando’s population grew tremendously. Not only was it said to be one of the most peaceful places to live during The Civil War (not confirmed), but it was the perfect place to plant and harvest a bountiful citrus crop. To this day, Orlando is still atop this agricultural market and many families have lived well off the land. Even “The Great Freeze” of 1894-95 didn’t slow down production as it provided more opportunities for wealthy groups to thrive.



In the 1920’s. the American economy began to take off and the city’s real estate prices roared. Like we mentioned before, this allowed Orlando to lean on some of the country’s premier developers to establish hospitable appeal in central Florida. Housing hit its peak and the famous San Juan Hotel was constructed during this time. Until tourism turned Orlando into a legitimate travel destination, most residents made a living at Kennedy Space Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or the orchards.

Shortly after the foundation of the city was stabilized, Walt Disney announced his plan to build a mega-theme park in the area – which led to a tsunami-like wave of timeshare resorts and other tourist attractions. Today, you can’t even walk around Orlando without being bombarded by sales pitches and deals. While Disney World and other resorts have allowed the city to make a lot of money for a long time, travelers will never find the peace, tranquility and lemonade that was once found in Jernigan.

4. South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head.


In comparison to some of the other popular travel destinations across the globe, this stretch of land is a lot more open and relaxed. While Myrtle Beach does have a strip for entertainment and food, most of the region is full of quiet, natural beaches and golf courses that let tourists unwind for a week or two. If you travel south on the 95 for a few hours to the Hilton Head, you’ll pass hundreds of restful areas worth taking in. 

Despite the zen appeal of today, the South Carolina coastline didn’t initially attract part time visitors. The land wasn’t exactly easy to live on and a number of factors made life difficult for early settlers. Marshes, Indians, Diseases and Pirates were all said to make the early years strenuous. In order to settle, a plan and level of dedication was required. The Waccamaw River, abundance of timber and ability to produce rice became a crucial element of success, giving the town a little momentum by the 1900’s.


Although the economy was still struggling through its infant stages, the first hotel (Seaside Inn) was built in 1901 by the Burroughs & Collins Company. Shortly after, the company also played a role in naming the city. The widow of of Franklin G. Burroughs came up with “Myrtle Beach” after the wealth of wax myrtle trees growing wild along the shoreline. Over the next 20 years, the community started to experience a large influx in development that started with the erection of an upscale resort called The Arcady

By the roaring 1920’s, the Grand Strands of beaches had its first golf resort, Pine Lakes International Country Club and Ocean Forrest Hotel. From this point on, nearly everything was constructed with tourism in mind. Waterways were stretched inland to create even more appeal while expanding guest possibilities. Improved commercial shipping gave new companies like Sports Illustrated an ability to thrive in Myrtle Beach. Once the city was incorporated in 1938, the pavilion, carousel, historic band organ and Air Force base popped up quickly. At this point, the city began its transformation into one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.



In 1954, Hurricane Hazel changed everything. While Myrtle Beach didn’t exactly “fail” and it wasn’t totally destroyed, a “reset” button was necessary. This is where golf attractions began gaining traction. Ever since the 60’s, a golf course has been built almost every year in the area (There are about 115 available courses today). During the rejuvenation efforts of the 1970’s, improved amenities, attractions and retail centers took root. As the population tripled, more than $75 million was invested into new construction. 

Today, the Grand Strand from Myrtle Beach down to the Hilton Head welcomes more than 14 million tourists per year. Between 2016-2018, Myrtle Beach was the #2 fastest growing cities in the U.S. and continues to grow to this day. But how long can they sustain growth and preserve the relaxation? The Hilton Head is one of the most gorgeous places in the area and it’s littered with American corporations and timeshares. Is it only a matter of time before South Carolina is in the same boat as Florida? Let’s hope not.


Travel Destinations Will Always Exist.

People that can’t afford to purchase a luxury home in a lavish location will always crave for an ability to visit one. No matter how you feel about the travel industry, there will always be money to be made. Developers will always be eager to build the next best resort in the most amazing and unthinkable of places. If you live in any of the travel destinations that we’ve discussed, then you’re probably fully aware of the local construction projects that never seem to end. Although it may be difficult to stomach the ongoing element of change, at least you’re not starting from scratch in the wilderness.

Moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see which uninhabited area of land is developed next for tourist-driven revenue. With technology improving, there’s no telling how far timeshare corporations will go to retain their market share. As long as they’re able to present bigger and better promises, consumers will always be intrigued by the appeal of fractional ownership in new travel destinations – even if it jeopardizes the captivating, natural beauty of America’s landscape.

2 Major Vacation Destinations Ruined by the Timeshare Industry.

2 Major Vacation Destinations Ruined by the Timeshare Industry.

In recent years, the travel industry has exploded with a number of options that provide an array of experiences across the globe. But even as younger generations have grown accustomed to variation travel, the timeshare industry has defended their dominance with major resorts in desired vacation destinations. In fact, some of the most prominent pieces of land are owned by timeshare companies and major resorts. Money and power has always provided them with an advantage.

Setting up shop in tourist-heavy locations helps them strategically leverage local attractions to promote “free” incentives to lose-spending travelers in exchange for attending a high pressure sales meeting. This extremely complex process misleads and captivates people that are already in a state of euphoria while on vacation. Generally, 1 out of every 3 people lured into a timeshare presentation end up going home with extra baggage.

Why Does VOC Care About the Timeshare Sale?

At the end of the day, people travel to prominent vacation destinations to relax and rejuvenate – not listen to a sales pitch. A $25k+ timeshare mortgage with limited usage can easily become a regretful souvenir. But because so many resorts own premier real estate in beautiful places, the enchanting snare will always be there. The goal of many is to make a lot of money – not matter the consumer cost. At VOC, we prefer to help travelers establish “good memories” and work hard to prioritize satisfaction over sales

Far too often, the timeshare purchase (and the vacation on which it was bought) become deeply remorseful experiences. Getting out of the timeshare trap is not only emotionally difficult but physically costly. This is why we’re so passionate about this topic. The avoidance of industry pitfalls is more important than understanding ownership itself. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the vacation destinations that have been completely ruined by the timeshare industry

Some of the Travel Destinations Ruined by Timesharing.

Although a majority of our content consists of educational material for timeshare prospects and owners, it’s always good to garner a further understanding of the industry as a whole. Each of the following destinations have seen quite a bit of change since the early days of travel. Whether they’re littered with mountains, golf courses, attractions or sandy beaches – some of the most beautiful places in America have been shaped by the timeshare industry.

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

Just before the start of the 1830’s, America’s first commercial caravan forged a new route (now known as the Old Spanish Trail) from New Mexico to the California Gold Rush. The migrant’s arid journey, led by Antonio Armijo, eventually stumbled across a desert oasis about 100 miles southwest from camp during a routine search for water. As you can imagine, the beauty of the grasslands and abundance of fresh springwater captivated the group. One of Armijo’s scouts, Rafael Rivera, came up with the idea to call the region, “Las Vegas” – after the vastness of “the meadows.”


Before Las Vegas became the entertainment capital of the world, it was primarily used as a rest stop for those looking to strike gold on the west coast. Early on, the town mainly consisted of Mormons and Latinos that lived in adobe huts and farmed the land. But once the San Pedro railroad decided to erect a Vegas train station in 1890, rapid change occured. By 1905, the town was jam packed with new lodging, shopping and saloons – thanks to business-men (like William A. Clark) and their ties to the railroad.


The early 1900’s is really where Las Vegas started to transform into the “sin city” that it is today. In these times, the Wild West was pretty wild. The negligent sale and embezzlement of land by risk-taking entrepreneurs set a shaky foundation for the city. This was later taken advantage of by criminals that flocked to the autonomy of the desert frontier. Once national gambling bans were implemented in 1910, east coast mobs began to see Las Vegas as a city of opportunity. And boy were they right.

By the mid-1960’s, billionaires like Howard Hughes started running mob-owned hotels and casinos out of town. Once the 80’s arrived, entertainment and lodging started to be the primary focus. Wealthy developers like Steve Wynn improved on the ideas of smaller players by creating more of an “entertaining” experience through design. By the end of the century, 13 of the 20 (65%) biggest resorts in the world and nearly 90K rooms were available in Sin City.


What was once considered a beautiful oasis full of natural life is now known as a unique human experience full of lights. The awe of the landscape isn’t so tranquil anymore. While suburbs and the city itself aren’t anything extraordinary, the strip is packed with advertisements, attractions, sales pitches and lust – making it one of the most entertaining vacation destinations in the world. It doesn’t take much to notice the dominating presence of timeshare developers and resorts at the crossroads of the west. What could have truly been a beautiful oasis retreat in the desert was turned upside down by money and entertainment.

2. Park City, Utah.

Similar to the Nevadan Oasis, Utah had its own little slice of heaven nestled in the pacific northwest. Park City, located east of Salt Lake City and the Twin Peaks, was originally discovered by American soldiers in 1868. After leaving their Salt Lake base and trekking through Big Cottonwood Canyon for silver, they stumbled across a plot of land worth settling on – and the rest is history. By 1870, the First Transcontinental Railroad had the region connected to a good portion of the country’s population. 

Once the word of silver mining spread, hundreds of people eagerly left home for a chance to strike a fortune’s worth of silver. Some, like George Hearst, did just that – making more than $50 million from his Ontario Mine that was bought for $30K. But not everybody found success and fortune in Park City.



Although the town grew 5,000-7,500 residents from 1889 to 1898, a disastrous fire destroyed nearly everything. Roughly 15% of the population was left homeless. But residents were no stranger to adversity and they were able to rebuild and reinforce most structures and houses within two years. The sense of community and pride for what they’d been able to accomplish together echoed for generations.

Since the settlement was nestled in between peaks, most affordable, build-ready plots were taken by the early 1900’s. Because of this, a significant amount of money was required to buy land in Park City. By the time the 1930’s rolled around, the silver market was dwindling and skiing had become a local hit. Despite more than 1200 miners losing their jobs in a short period of time, the idea of a winter attraction gave the city hope for its economy. So in 1946, they built the first ski lift at Snow Park (now called Deer Valley). But it wasn’t that simple.



5 years later, Park City was reeling and the population receded to 1,150 residents. After receiving federal funding, Treasure Mountain Resort was constructed and marketed across the country. People started moving back and the slopes began to garner high praises and media attention. Major hotel chains and timeshare developers began moving in once cultural events and other winter recreations expanded. By the 1990’s, most of the available land had been developed for people to come and stay.

The economy was thriving again and even hosted some of the 2002 Olympic Games. What was once a proud town of hard working miners, forging their living in the Utah mountains, is now a bustling city of tourists drinking hot cocoa. Any given ski day could see nearly 1 million people scattered across the Park City slopes. Billion dollar timeshare structures now cast shadows on the fire-proof brick buildings that pioneers built more than 100 years ago.


Many Popular Vacation Destinations Have Reached Their Peak.

The United States is home to thousands of beautiful pockets of nature and wildlife. But most have now been overrun by the travel industry. Because of the ambitious and indulging nature of human beings, we’ll never know just how stunning these regions were in the early 1800’s. It’d be even more interesting to know just who might’ve lived there before. Depending on how you look at it, the current attractions in these places could be seen as an astonishment or a sight for sore eyes.

Either way, there’s nothing we can do about the current state of these vacation destinations. It was bound to happen as nearly every western traveler passed through one of these locations at some point in time. There are plenty of places to visit, explore and protect for the time being. Next week, we’ll talk more about a few Atlantic cities and wrap things up in the Gulf of Mexico and Hawaii.

The Timeshare Owner’s Perspective During the Sales Presentation.

The Timeshare Owner’s Perspective During the Sales Presentation.

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

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

This is Where the Story of the Timeshare Sale Begins.

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


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

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

Analyzing The Perspective of a Timeshare Owner.

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


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

How Else Are Sales Attendees Sold on Timeshares?

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

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

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

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

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


What to Do If You Want to Go Home.

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

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

Signing Up to Escape the Presentation Usually Backfires

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

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


The Struggle to Escape a Bad Timeshare Decision.

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

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

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

Making Wise Timeshare Decisions.

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

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

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