Vacation ownership will always be known for its ups and downs. No matter the level of deception exposed, demand still remains. When you think about it, nearly anyone is willing to listen to a pitch about the “affordability” of timeshare travel. Especially when free gifts are involved. Although the sale itself is obviously concerning, the multitude of questionable post-purchase options is definitely noteworthy. Aside from the resort’s in-house solutions, most timeshare owners eventually become bombarded by 3rd party agencies. This is because many buyers immediately look into timeshare interval exchange companies once they realize there’s limited availability at their home resort. Resale, exit and enhancement solicitations (like travel clubs), usually don’t surface until buyers give up on the resort and acknowledge the purchase was a mistake.
Why Timeshare Owners Are Pushed to 3rd Party Solutions.
When timeshare owners find themselves dissatisfied with their purchase, many believe complaining will invoke resolution. But in this industry, demanding satisfaction gets buyer’s nowhere. It’s awfully difficult to work things out with the resort when demands or claims lack substance. If a contract was signed, then an agreement was made. You can’t expect them to budge. At the same time, if misconduct occurred then owners deserve restitution. It’s important they understand the more they know, they better their chances are. Thinking irrationally only allows the resort to use their emotions against them.
Before we talk about exchanging weeks, there are a few things you should know. Timeshare sales teams have been extensively trained to defuse conflict. They’re surprisingly good at turning complaining buyers into upgraded customers. But many timeshare owners eventually realize paying more (for a desired experience) doesn’t solve their problem. When all hope in the resort becomes lost, searching for another form of relief seems logical. While a majority immediately turn to resale or legal services, some initially believe their interval exchange program will solve their main problem with lack of availability, but it comes at an additional expense.
Avoid Irrationality When Selecting an Exchange Program.
Just like any other form of relief, timeshare interval exchange companies need to be thoroughly evaluated before you do business with them. Fractional owners need to realize that 3rd party services can be just as (or even more) misleading than the timeshare company’s ploy. No matter how many guarantees are thrown your way, nothing matters when lies are involved. If you think you’ve been liberated because you’ve officially given up on the resort, guess again. Navigating the waters of hopeful solutions need to be taken seriously or you can easily make matters worse.
So, What Exactly Are Timeshare Exchange Companies?
Before selecting an interval exchange company, you have to understand what you’re exchanging so you aren’t taken advantage of. A timeshare interval is the actual length of time that you bought from the resort. While most time periods come in week-long intervals, some resorts sell one tenth or a quarter (year) intervals. When you make an interval exchange, you’re essentially trading in the time period of your contract for something similar in value. Many assume this is an equal exchange, but that is not always the case. This is why hiring a reputable company to help with the switch is important.
The main responsibility of timeshare interval exchange companies (in our opinion) is to ensure owners receive similar value in return. This includes properly valuing points before converting them into weekly intervals. At the end of the day, exchange companies should be focused on providing fractional owners with extensive options that extend the life of their timeshare. Anything less than fair is pretty much a slap in the face.
We have to remember that when unhappy buyers contact an exchange program, they’re still trying to get what they paid for. They don’t deserve to be downgraded. But that doesn’t mean an enhancement program will shows empathy. Many deem desperate timeshare owners as an opportunity to earn, not to serve. Although your timeshare sales representative may have said you could freely exchange with 100% of the properties available (on the exchange platform), this may not always be true. It’s important that you inspect your agreement and understand all of its terms before moving forward with the transaction.
Before Contacting a Timeshare Exchange Company.
If you take the time to do your research, you’ll find that exchanging a timeshare can be done in a number of ways. So you need to determine what makes the most sense. Whether you’re off-loading points or straight up swapping the property, get started by listing the companies that suit your needs best. Some options provide geographical perks while others include a wide variety of resorts in destinations across the world. Take the time to compare one-time exchanges and membership programs against each other. Whatever you do, make a confident decision and stick to it.
Before reaching out to any business in this industry, you also need to make sure the operation is a legitimate one. Unfortunately, hundreds of scams dwell in the shadows of the timeshare industry and many of them know how to hide pertinent information from you. In order to combat deceitful practices, you have to know what to look for before reaching out. Confirming business information is a good place to start. If you’d like some tips, we wrote a blog that helps owners identify red flags when seeking relief. We even created an infographic if you don’t feel like reading.
No matter who you end up hiring, keep in mind you’ll always be charged some sort of exchange fee. Don’t be surprised when this fact isn’t prominent during the sale. Many relief programs cater to your frustration more than explaining their solution. The pitch will sound good. This is why you should never settle for the first company that appeals to you. Asking the right questions, knowing the perks and itemizing fees will help you make a sound decision.
4 Ways to Scout Timeshare Interval Exchange Companies.
The idea of getting rid of your timeshare can be exciting, but don’t allow the anticipation to distract you. In reality, desperation is what gets a lot of timeshare owners buried under debt. Remember, the intentions of many timeshare exchange companies are not in your favor. Understand that once you reach out to them, you’ve initiated their sales process. A good percentage of solicitors will not take “no” for an answer. Do your best to stick to your needs and make sure the salesman sticks to the facts. As always, if at any point you’re feeling pressured, it’s best that you just walk away. The longer you stay, the more likely they’ll persuade you.
With that being said, let’s dive right into four things to look for in timeshare interval exchange companies:
1. An established reputation is always a good sign timeshare exchange companies are worth contacting. While reviews may be the obvious place to look, you can also explore company partnerships and affiliations to get an idea of their track record. If the business is connected to a scam or local support hasn’t been established, it’s enough to cause concern. The company’s outlook can also be assessed by researching company employees – past or present. Websites like Glassdoor give those with affiliations an opportunity to speak on their experience. If past employees or customers haven’t been impressed, then you probably won’t be either. If you can’t find anything reputable (or the bad news outweighs the good), then it’s best you assume the worst. Why would you want to be the guinea pig for a company that has nothing to show?
2. Your questions shouldn’t be met with an aggressive sales approach. No matter what type of relief program you speak to, you have to be prepared to ask questions. The more detailed and uncomfortable your questions are, the better. Getting salesmen out of their comfort zones will help you assess their integrity. Companies that offer honest and valuable solutions tend to be more patient with assumptions or criticism. Their employees are normally better trained to handle conflict. Those that are only interested in the sale will more than likely respond in an unprofessional manner. This should give you enough reason to move on to the next option.
3. Diversified options are a characteristic of quality interval exchange companies. When making this decision, try to think long term. Settling on a quick fix normally puts you right back where you started. Selecting a company with a variety of exchange options gives you a better chance of continuously finding something similar in value. Go out of your way to confirm every capability to ensure you’re not signing up for a mirage. You have every reason to question a sales pitch. If they’re able to prove everything to you and show you examples of current customers, then they’re definitely worth considering. Again, don’t settle for the first company that appeals to you.
4. If your satisfaction isn’t a priority then look elsewhere. Many relief programs will tell you what they need from you in order to provide assistance. While this may not be a bright red flag to some, exchange companies should present a servant’s attitude. They should know they’re not your only option and that there are better solutions out there. Arrogantly treating you like a number is simply bad business. Timeshare exchange companies should be looking to provide you with an experience you’ve yet to receive. If you feel as though they don’t value your business or that they would never go above and beyond to find you an immaculate property, then it’s not worth your time and money. An inability to “wow” you during the sale should tell you everything you need to know.
Interval Exchange Companies Can Benefit Timeshare Owners.
In closing, exchange programs give fractional owners an ability to enjoy something they’ve been forced to anticipate for too long. Members usually receive their first year for free and they can even “bank” their weeks or points (deposit them for a later date) so they don’t lose them over time. For the most part, they’re extremely valuable to the timeshare industry and play a role in its history. Compared to other relief programs (like cancellation and resale), timeshare exchange fraud isn’t nearly as common. But it doesn’t mean misconduct doesn’t occur.
Setting aside time to analyze every company you’re considering is one of the best investments you can make. Consumers are scammed because they don’t take this seriously. Although the timeshare company may have let you down, it’s inevitably up to you to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. If you’re patient, there are companies willing to be patient and honest with you.
While getting out of your timeshare contract may not be ideal, helping you vacation the way you deserve is important to us. To receive more tips or to learn about our attorney based service, you can schedule a FREE consultation or proceed with a qualification form below.