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.

The Main Reason Fractional Owners Cancel Timeshares is Lack of Disclosure

The Main Reason Fractional Owners Cancel Timeshares is Lack of Disclosure

When it comes to timeshare ownership, there are a number of complaints that can surface. Some are easy to fix and others can be concerning or problematic. In an age where travelers can pretty much go anywhere, you’ll find that many are willing to take risks for the right deals. They’ve learned to temper their expectations and embrace a little more adventure. When you’re traveling with enlightenment in mind, the unexpected tends to be riveting. Traveling to places you’ve never been tends to come with a dash of unexpectedness. This is what adds a little thrill to the nomadic culture that scours our planet today. At the same time, it’s what separates retail travel from vacation ownership. In order to understand why fractional owners cancel timeshares, we have to acknowledge why they make the purchase in the first place.

With that being said, there are still a plethora of people that value the traditional element of vacationing. They’re willing to pay higher prices to be pampered to a certain degree. An ability to enjoy upgraded living spaces, first class meals, amusement and entertainment outside of the norm is what vacationing is all about. It allows them to escape their worries, unless the trip becomes worrisome. When expectations aren’t met – or travelers don’t feel like they’re getting what they paid for – the entirety of the experience can be ruined altogether.

Generous Spending Travelers Have Expectations.

To put things in perspective, the average vacation costs $1,145 per person. Standard costs can be significantly lower when you’re traveling to less popular destinations. But for the most part, this is pretty consistent. It’s easy to see why so many people get their panties in a bunch when something goes wrong. In the case of the timeshare, a poor purchase decision can cost thousands of dollars per year, for life. This can be extremely problematic. Especially when there are so many timeshare owners that can’t even enjoy their purchase due to availability complications.

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If you’re the type of person who gets worked up when the continental breakfast isn’t available or the coffee pot is empty, then you probably won’t handle typical timeshare letdowns very well. The types of situations buyers face after signing away their annual salary is bothersome. While all travelers should witness top-of-the-line amenities and service when paying a pretty penny, timeshare owners deserve much much better. But because they’re under contract no matter what and retail opportunities are more fruitful for resorts, fractional owners continue to receive the short end of the stick.

Since we’ve already discussed most of these problematic scenarios in earlier articles, we wanted to talk a little bit about what finally pushes property owners over the edge. Although most believe things will eventually get better, others can’t wait until the day they’re timeshare free. A sense of hope is held onto because timeshare companies really know how to lead their users on and buy themselves more time. At the same time, there are 4 realizations that tend to occur at some point during ownership. The eagerness to cancel a timeshare contract usually peaks once owners see the purchase for what it is.

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Why Would You Want to Cancel a Timeshare Agreement?

When making a substantial purchase, consumers typically take their time. Because of the competitive nature of these transactions, a good amount of haggling is often involved. Not many people go into a car dealership and accept the sticker price. With that being said, it can be difficult to understand why so many consumers don’t use the same approach during a timeshare purchase.

But unless you’ve attended a timeshare presentation (or another high pressure sales environment) before, then it’s hard to get a sense of the level of enthusiastic deception involved. Incentives sometimes cause salesmen to make promises they can’t keep. Although regulations are beginning to crack down on unethical practices, timeshare owners are still being left in the dark about their purchase. Because a lot of their dissatisfaction stems from a lack of disclosure during the initial presentation, canceling the timeshare immediately is typically on their radar. Let’s take a look at 4 reasons why.

1. The Perpetual Reality Settles In

One of the many reasons fractional owners eventually cancel a timeshare contract is the realization their obligation is perpetual (never ending). Leading up to a timeshare sale, the contract details are often overlooked on purpose. Some make the purchase without even knowing a contract exists because they’re caught up in what they believe is a deal of a lifetime. Sales reps know how to keep attendees distracted with “shiny objects” instead of focusing on disclosure. Leaving out contract disclaimers and other pertinent information essentially encourages them to make a large purchase they know little about.

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Timeshare owners usually realize their payment obligations never cease once they’ve paid off the mortgage. The euphoria of paying something off can quickly turn into despair when the contract details are brought to their attention. The realization also occurs when availability issues become so concerning that the owner begins inquiring about a refund. When they’re pointed to the rescission period (agreed amount of time to cancel a timeshare), they usually uncover the actualities of the deal for the first time.

Having no control over future financial obligations or property use typically motivates owners to find a way out. To them, canceling a timeshare contract immediately is better than continuing to pay for something (for life) that they didn’t necessarily agree to. When compared to other relief options, like selling or renting, cancellation is far more rewarding.

2. The Survivorship Clause Loses Its Appeal

Aside from contractual specifics, timeshare companies do a great job of adding a number of value propositions to presentations that entice attendees. Empty nesters have been known to be a major target since they no longer have their children in the home. As this demographic ages, they tend to value an ability to will things to their children. Because of this, timeshare companies sell additional perks that benefit the whole family.

Besides right to use options (for friends, family or business travel), this demographic is normally intrigued by an ability to gift their children a paid off vacation package when they can’t use it anymore. This Survivorship Clause, also known as the “Legacy Pitch,” is another way salesmen distract attendees with partial truths. Instead of inheriting an available condo, heirs actually take over payments on a property that’s rather difficult to use. Some may not even want it.

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Whether the owner is processing the transfer or the heir is digging through the contract, the lack of disclosure can be unsettling. Canceling a timeshare becomes a lot easier when it’s clear the purchase was based on a lie. Owners don’t want to pass grief onto their kids and heirs typically don’t want to deal with the hassle. Especially if it’s from a parent that’s recently passed. 

3. Interest Rates + Fees Create Desire to Cancel Timeshares

When people first hear they can vacation every year for a fraction of the cost, they normally have a few questions. But timeshare sales teams are very sly when it comes to explaining payment obligations. While the expense may seem pretty straight forward, you’d be surprised how many buyers don’t analyze the entirety of the purchase. If they did, it’s safe to say many people would reconsider the expense.

During most closings, the potential buyer is made aware of their monthly commitment to the resort. What they don’t realize is they are obligating themselves to pay double (and sometimes triple) the retail rate. While the average cost of a timeshare contract is $20K over 120 months ($167/month), the purchase is actually closer to $43K when you factor in a 17.9% (average) interest rate. Buyers aren’t completely aware of how much this actually costs them because the numbers during the presentation don’t include loan details.

Maintenance fees also tend to catch new timeshare owners off-guard. Every year, fractional owners receive an “upkeep” bill with a $1K average. This brings the total cost of the timeshare to (at least) $53K. Their total will continue to climb if assessment fees pop up in the mail. These can be anywhere from $2-4K each.

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Remember, the contract is perpetual, so annual fees continue for life. This makes it difficult to even put a cap on the purchase. When you break it down, $400-$500/month is a lot different than $167. Many simply can’t afford this while others become bitter towards the cost. Especially when they’re only able to garner 3 star accommodations – if they’re available. Seeing they can spend $5000 on something better or save it altogether forces them to pull the trigger on timeshare cancellation services.

A Lack of Disclosure Causes Most Cancellations

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the explanation of timeshare contracts. Many timeshare companies have been busted for their unethical practices while others continue to find ways to misled their targets. Either way, a lot of the cancellation requests we receive are from timeshare owners who feel they’ve been lied to. What they thought was true inevitably wasn’t and now they’re spending their time trying to cancel a timeshare instead of enjoy one. If you believe you have a right to cancel or are simply wanting to get out of your timeshare agreement, we’d be more than willing to help. We offer FREE consultations or you can get started by submitting an eligibility form below.

Why Las Vegas Timeshare Owners Want to Get Out of Their Agreement

Why Las Vegas Timeshare Owners Want to Get Out of Their Agreement

When most people plan a destination vacation, entertainment normally plays a big role in their decision. Although some prefer a quiet escape with minimal distractions, most people travel to do what hasn’t been done or see what hasn’t been seen. In Las Vegas, Nevada, there isn’t much that doesn’t catch your eye. The city’s ability to grab and hold one’s attention span is unlike any other point of interest in our country. For example, it would take one person 288 years to stay the night in every single Vegas hotel room.

Nearly every American citizen has been to Las Vegas at least once in their lifetime. Some people never leave once they arrive. It’s been estimated that over 1,000 people live beneath the city of lights in underground tunnels. A few people even find pleasure in not being able to remember what transpired during their stay. The popular slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is the real deal. People looking to get loose for a weekend or two seem to be able to do so without any regrets. Not many places have been able to thrive with that motto.

While this only adds to the element of what has become known as “Sin City,” there is still a tourist draw to the Entertainment Capital of the World. Some people enjoy themselves so much that they plan multiple vacations to the strip every year. The lively, recreational landscape changes so much that they’re able to relish in something new each trip. Although gambling, sensuality and partying might headline most recommendations, live shows, sporting events, business seminars, product launches and people-watching can be just as appealing to travelers.

Either way, we can all agree that there is something for everyone on the 4.2 mile long strip in the middle of the desert. You don’t have to look at the city from space to know that it’s one of the most radiant places on Earth (actually the brightest from space). If it wasn’t so alluring, people wouldn’t be so willing to cash out in Nevada instead of a tropical paradise elsewhere.

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While Las Vegas may not seem like an ideal place for timeshare developers, it most certainly is. There are plenty of ways they use the city to maximize revenue. Although it may not be ideal for an American traveler to buy into an annual vacation across the World, Las Vegas always gets their attention. So before we explain why Las Vegas timeshare owners are exiting their contracts, let’s discuss a few of the deceptive practices being used to get people to make a lifetime travel commitment to Sin City.

The Las Vegas Lure is Advantageous for Timeshare Companies.

Since Vegas timeshare developers don’t have to spend a lot of time selling people on the perks of the city, all they have to do is dangle the idea of a free trip to garner attention. This simplifies their approach, unlike sales tactics for timeshare resorts in other parts of the country (or world). Most consumers tend to know what a “trip to Las Vegas” entails. This gives resorts an advantage when investing in cold calling techniques and direct mail campaigns. Although solicitation efforts have dwindled in the timeshare industry today, many consumers will listen to discounts in locations that already interest them.

Regional Outreach Efforts Entice Proximate Residents

When it comes to outreach methods, Vegas timeshare companies understand their biggest opportunity lies in neighboring states and cities. Geographical proximity targeting increases their ability to sell fractional ownership because of the convenience of the package. Whether prospects are being targeted through the mail or over the phone, the possibility of them driving to Vegas to check out the offer is a lot higher than other geographical locations.

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Since Las Vegas is located in the center of multiple major U.S. cities, this gives developers an advantage when luring people to the Entertainment Capital of the World. Come to think of it, we have offices in Scottsdale and Malibu that are only a few hours from the strip. Sales teams have already been known to say anything to get people to a timeshare presentation. It’s a lot easier for them to lure aspiring travelers to Vegas with a “complimentary” stay or for “a deal of a lifetime.” In the timeshare marketing world, this technique is called a “mini vac.”  Their job becomes easier once they get you to Vegas.

What many people don’t realize is that there are some drawbacks to accepting “free” offers. In order to use certain entertainment packages and perks, guests are required to jump through certain hoops. Normally, attending these requirements take up a majority of their trip to the strip. If you refuse to follow through with “your end of the bargain” (even if you weren’t briefed), you could end up with some unexpected situations that can be costly in themselves.

Targeting Travelers During Their Vegas Trip.

Vegas timeshare solicitation doesn’t stop with cold calling and mailers. Timeshare companies know there is a huge advantage to targeting travelers during their vacations to Sin City. It’s easy for them to reel in tourists that are stuck in a state of vacation euphoria, looking to enhance their experience. In Vegas, a majority of these people aren’t in a clear state of mind and resorts know it. The Las Vegas Sun even did a piece on how tourists are bucketed and targeted. Thrill seekers and those intoxicated (or hung over) are easy to engage and manipulate. The loose spending habits that normally accompany Vegas travelers also gives resorts an upper hand.

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As the article states, Vegas tourists are easily persuaded to attend a “free” show, dinner or nearby activity with little resistance, in exchange for 90 minutes of their time. If attendees are already enjoying their Vegas experience, they’re normally intrigued by the idea of something free. Once they’re pampered a little, returning to Vegas every year at a discounted rate sounds even better.

What starts off as a brief, “no purchase necessary” invite quickly turns into an all-day event. From here, many travelers leave with a $20-40K mortgage on top of a perpetual timeshare contract they know nothing about. Nearly every buyer walks away believing they made a good decision. They normally don’t realize they made a mistake until booking their timeshare becomes problematic down the road.

The Main Reasons Vegas Timeshare Owners Want to Cancel.

At this point in the article, you can probably assume why so many people want to get out of timeshare agreements in Las Vegas. Misspeak and commission breath is believable when you’re on vacation, especially in Sin City. Thousands of travelers say yes to something that doesn’t match the description. They quickly realize they’ve been duped into buying something they can’t even use. Once payments kick in and they receive their annual fees, their desperation to cancel can go into overdrive.

Aside from being misled, many timeshare owners struggle to even enjoy their purchase. Finding availability in a popular tourist destination (during ideal dates) can be nearly impossible. If you split the contract cost with someone else, conflict regarding usability may arise. Certain properties can even be difficult for aging travelers to access. Layouts and amenities sometimes hinder those with medical conditions or parents with young children. At the end of the day, many Vegas timeshare owners are left unable to use the vacation but are still required to pay the dues.

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While timeshare owners always have the option to pursue upgrades or exchange programs, they’re often left reeling throughout their experience. Once the “too good to be true” offer is seen for what it really is, fractional ownership is tarnished. Paying more for a property you’ve yet to experience can be hard to stomach over time. With all of that being said, it’s easy to understand why so many buyers want to get out of their timeshare agreement as quickly as possible.

It’s Never too Late to Cancel Timeshare Contracts.

Although listening to an intriguing sales pitch about routinely vacationing in Vegas may entice you, we urge you to proceed with caution. It’s always important that you don’t make a hasty decision during the heat of your trip. Often times, your judgement will be clouded and you won’t be able to make a rational decision. A Vegas timeshare isn’t something that’s only going to cost you a few thousand bucks. It’s a lifetime agreement that funnels you into a perpetual sales cycle that’s hard to escape.

If you feel that you prematurely signed up for a timeshare and believe you’ve been deceived, we’d be happy to help you exhaust your options. Timeshare cancellation only makes sense if the contract doesn’t match the original sales pitch. You can schedule a Free consultation to learn more or you can proceed with a timeshare qualification form below.

7 Reasons the Future of Timeshare Ownership Looks Bleak

7 Reasons the Future of Timeshare Ownership Looks Bleak

Over the last decade, the timeshare industry has done little to keep up with the evolution of destination travel. While technology and online booking continues to advance, the tactics and value propositions of timesharing have essentially remained the same. The diminishing number of uninformed consumers has begun to work against new acquisition as many consumers have begun to lose faith in the purchase.

Knowing what timeshare ownership might entail is enough to persuade vacationers to pursue other travel options. Instead of waiting for timeshare companies to get with the program, consumers seem content with watching the entity fade off into the sunset. Unless the industry makes a hard right turn, it’s difficult to envision a mass recovery over a mass exodus.

Even if things were to change, will it ever be enough to overcome a half-century long reputation? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why we believe the future of timeshare ownership is looking bleak.

1. The Increasing Costs and Liability of Timesharing

Over the years, certain occurrences have caused vacation ownership to steadily rise in cost. Besides general inflation, developers didn’t properly assess demand during most of their expansion efforts. In the early years, decisions seemed to be based on opportunity instead of probability. When timeshare ownership wasn’t able to sustain its popularity (due to bad experiences and mistrust), resorts turned to current owners for the difference. What they didn’t realize was, this approach affected the perception of happy fractional owners.

Because timeshare companies are now left scraping the barrel for gullible consumers, expansion opportunities are ceasing to exist. This forces them to sell more aggressively while charging more per unit. Over the past few years, timeshare maintenance fees have been steadily rising at 4-5%. Surprise, special assessment fees have become more common. Resorts have found ways to recoup earnings when acquisition slows down.

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According to the ARDA (2016 AIF Owner’s Study), 66% of timeshare owners wanted to exit their contract because “the maintenance fees are too high.” Moreover, 46% of those that cancelled a timeshare mentioned annual fees as their primary reason. Small increases can amount to thousands of dollars over time. What makes this interesting is that resorts have notably avoided proper upkeep at some resorts. Not only are users not getting what they paid for, but they’re paying more for lower quality. The liabilities that come with these decisions are one of the reasons we believe the future of timesharing looks bleak.

2. There is No Resale Value for Timeshare Properties

Like we’ve mentioned in previous articles, a good number of new timeshare owners aren’t aware of the actuality of the resale market. Aside from the misspeak that timeshare sales reps use to persuade potential buyers, there are a ton of misleading options that take advantage of those looking to exit timeshare contracts. Once they realize that reselling isn’t ideal, it’s too late. Attempting to sell something that no one wants can be extremely costly. Throwing more money at something they don’t want and can’t make any money on can be demoralizing. Many of our clients talk about how they’ve spent thousands of dollars on resale platforms that didn’t provide a single lead.

Learning that you were lied to during the timeshare presentation and realizing the market doesn’t exist can be hard enough to swallow. On top of this realization, many timeshare owners underestimate the number of scams that cloud the resale arena. Just ask Darren Kittleson. When things aren’t working out and all hope seems lost, predatory agencies know exactly how to persuade you otherwise. They always have a meticulous agenda that uses disappointment and desperation to their advantage. Although platforms worth trying do exist, the overall uncertainty creates a bleak outlook for the industry as a whole.

3. The Timeshare Industry is Now Flooded with Scams

When it comes to timeshare fraud, the mischief doesn’t just dwell in resale. Victimizers also dabble in the buyer’s market from time to time. Claiming to have amazing deals in premier destinations, they lead people on long enough to collect quite a bit of cash. Verified Craigslist posts and Ebay listings have milked travel enthusiasts for decades now.

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At the same time, these are only a few examples of the consistent and ever growing misconduct in the timeshare industry. People are now being scammed before the purchase, during ownership, while they attempt to exit the contract and once they’ve terminated the agreement. If you’re already disgusted by the lies your timeshare company has fed you (to keep you under contract), realize this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Scammers know how trapped most timeshare owners feel and how desperate they’ve become. There are plenty of angles they can take to deceive you into believing their solution is worthwhile. From advocacy groups to legal representation, it’s difficult to know what to believe anymore. Anything seeming “too good to be true” normally is.

Some 3rd party agencies even work with resorts to ensure timeshare owners don’t make progress with cancellation. Not to mention that a large percentage of timeshare exit companies aren’t real. Thousands of dollars have been wasted on resolutions that don’t even exist. It’s a real shame, but only adds to the stigma of the industry. Even if you’re able to finally cancel your timeshare agreement, scams surrounding travel clubs, vacation rentals and advanced payments can flood your inbox – due to your online behavior. Since many consumers and industries refuse to touch timeshare with a 10 foot pole, the future looks bleak.

4. Today’s Travel Options Are Valued More by Travelers

Instead of waiting to see if timeshare companies are willing to overcome the reputation they’ve built (at the consumer’s expense), travel enthusiasts are now pursuing vacations that better suit their needs. Perpetual contracts just don’t make sense anymore as luxury vacation rentals and retail resorts are prevalent in today’s society. While scams do exist in other travel options, a number of platforms have established themselves as trustworthy entities.

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When timesharing first came about, most people were thrilled to be able to afford a vacation in a place they’d never dreamed of visiting. The ease of global travel has given consumers the unique ability to explore the world without being tied to one location. Although points and exchange programs broadened the horizon for timeshare owners, availability and quality was still a problem.

For the most part, today’s vacationing options consistently meet the expectations of travelers. The experience usually matches the presentation. Even if small inconveniences occur, the user isn’t tied to payments. They also have an ability to review their experience to order to warn future travelers or find resolve with the property. Timeshare companies have failed to value the user experience. Because of this, the future doesn’t look bright for timeshare ownership.

5. The Evolution of E-commerce in the Travel Industry

Options for travelers is only one element of timeshare competition. Since fractional ownership is based on perpetual (or lifelong) agreements, retail travel makes more sense. One click bookings have taken the market by storm over the last decade. Consumers now flood to reputable sources for online vacation deals and packages. Travelers even have the option to schedule flights, lodging and a rental car in the same place. It’s very difficult for the timeshare industry to compete here.

Even online retailers are now pushing timeshare weeks without ownership. Air BnB, VRBO and HomeAway are currently dominating vacation rental. Because of the user experience, travelers now feel far more comfortable using consumer to consumer e-commerce sites for travel related bookings. Removing the middleman (Ie: timeshare company, rental and resale platforms) allows them to keep everything in front of them. Instead of believing in “promised solutions,” timeshare owners are now taking matters into their own hands. This alone should tell you how standoffish people are about the timeshare industry – whether it comes to perpetual agreements or retail access to their inventory.

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6. Timeshare Companies Have Been Overselling Inventory

Ever since the timeshare rush in the late 1900’s, developers have been selling non-existing products. As the points evolution grew, this became even more popular. It was a way for timeshare companies to, once again, keep buyers under contract. It’s almost as if they never saw the repercussions of doing so. Overpromising and under delivering has never really been fruitful. It’s just not sustainable when it comes to large purchases.

In a recent article, we wrote about the ramifications Midtown Manhattan Club received for selling unavailable reservations. Although the property remained full, this rightfully angered their users. You’d think they’d at least limit the inconvenience when selling air. In the end, the NY Attorney General required them to pay $6.5 million in restitution, amongst other things. This goes to show that regulations are increasing and timeshare companies are no longer able to just get away with unethical sales practices. For this reason, the outlook of timesharing doesn’t look good.

7. A Consistent, Perpetuated and Tarnished Reputation

If you analyze each of the aforementioned reasons, you’ll realize that the timeshare industry has had every opportunity to redeem themselves. But the growing level of greed has basically clouded the entirety of experience altogether. Temporary solutions have sprouted up, but have failed to actually address the problems timeshare owners have. The thing is, it’s not like timesharing has only been around for a short while. For nearly 60 years, the industry has compiled substantial amounts of skepticism.

Every travel innovation experiences roadblocks. Even vacation rentals have endured some backlash from consumers. The difference is their willingness to make things right. The way the timeshare model is set up, there’s limitations on what they can do to overcome negative perception. They’ve already proven their unwillingness to decrease prices. High pressure sales and unethical tactics have remained consistent. Worthless incentives and non-existent service has been their achilles’ heel for a long time.

The best way to understand this is that they’re maximizing profits before the market runs out. Either way, the consumer continues to lose unless they’re able to prove misconduct in court. As we’ve discussed before, this is very difficult to do. Timeshare companies are banking on their ability to hold onto their fractional owners for life. A lack of interest in overcoming this perception and repaying those taken advantage of is the main reason we believe the future of timesharing looks bleak.

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If you’re interested in learning more about getting rid of your timeshare contract or what you’re options are, we’d love to provide you with a free consultation. If you believe you’re ready to pursue cancellation services, feel free to fill out 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 Sales Laws That Regulate the Industry

Timeshare Sales Laws That Regulate the Industry

The timeshare business has been booming for quite some time now. But demand hasn’t necessarily been the driving force. Since the 70’s, a nearsighted salesforce has been at the wheel despite a diminishing reputation and an increase in competition. At the same time, timesharing isn’t the only travel option that takes advantage of impulse buyers.

Nearly every industry requires a set of laws to keep greedy businesses from taking advantage of customers. There’s always someone who ruins it for everyone. Helping you understand what a purchase of this magnitude entails is important to us. Now that we’ve pointed out the challenges of regulating timeshare marketing tactics and advertising lingo, we wanted to shed light on some of the timeshare laws that protect consumers from misleading sales strategies.

Understanding What Timeshare Sales Laws Regulate

In the early stages of timesharing, when expansion was occurring rapidly, many resorts utilized “misspeak” to promote products that didn’t actually exist yet. Like we mentioned in an article about timeshare history, travel solutions were kind of made up as they went along. Consumers were inevitably left hanging while timeshares figured things out. Without regulations, developers were able to take risks at their customer’s expense. This eventually caused regulatory and consumer protection agencies to form and spring into action.

Even though consumers have become more informed over time, a layer of protection is needed now more than ever before. Since the internet provides a boatload of inaccurate information, it’s important that people can make educated decisions before signing over tens of thousands of dollars. While most of society is aware of what timeshare ownership can entail, not everyone is. Besides, the internet is flooded with sales jargon, so consumers are still easily swayed by the craftiness of timeshare sales teams. In order to combat misconduct in the industry, more and more timeshare laws regarding sales practices have been implemented, revised and reinforced.

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Unlike unethical marketing campaigns, sales presentations and conditional offers are easier to regulate. At this point in the sale, marketing tends to reveal its hand and misleading transactions begin to take place. In some instances, it’s where salesmen are caught in their bluff. No matter what is said to get people to attend an initial presentation (or ownership update meeting), it’s not as damning as the terminology used right before the contract is signed. Sales teams realized that this may be their only chance to lock in a new fractional owners. In other words, desperate times (in their minds) call for desperate measures (to make money).

Why Some Timeshare Salesmen are Motivated to Say Anything

There is an awful lot of pressure to sell intervals because the financial reward is tremendous. Timeshare resorts are always looking to maximize profits, especially to overcome some of the turnover they experience. In order to do so, they have to continuously find ways to fill fractional owner vacancies. The less they have, the more they count on current owners to cover expenses. While re-marketing current users isn’t as costly, they realize the real revenue comes from acquisition. The more timeshare owners acquired, the more consistent their revenue will be. This also gives them flexibility to continue developing and expanding properties.

At first glance, you might think it’d be easier to simply sell each unit individually. But, that leaves too much money on the table for resorts. Instead of selling a single condominium unit, timesharing gives resorts an opportunity to make money on 52 interests sold for each unit (52 weeks in a year). It’s pretty hard to tell timeshare developers to stop when they’re able to make 20-40% margins on each sale. It’s simple math. Sell the unit for $1 million or sell 52 weeks for $25,000 and make $1.3 million.

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The revenue potential isn’t even close and that’s not factoring in maintenance fees. Besides the fact resorts can charge whatever they want per unit if revenue is low. Most timeshares even limit availability by continuing to sell retail packages. The continual chase of revenue is why resorts don’t mind investing mass amounts of money into strategic endeavors to persuade.

To give you an idea on how much timeshare companies spend on new acquisition, roughly 30-50% of all revenues goes towards sales and marketing efforts. As you can see, the urgency to keep condos filled with fractional owners is real. The problem is, timeshare companies ignore the fact they’re biting the hand that feeds them. While they may promise timeshare owners a plethora of things during the sale, not much comes into fruition. This is where laws are needed to ensure buyers get what they paid for. Let’s take a look at an example so you can see how timeshare sales laws work.

Manhattan Club Caught Taking Advantage of the Elderly.

An investigation of the Manhattan Club began after the Office of the Attorney General received repeated complaints from many timeshare owners that were unable to make reservations at the resort. Despite paying tens of thousands of dollars for their timeshares, the rooms were rented to the general public rather than the timeshare owners, which was in direct violation of the timeshare contract.

But, illegal practices began even before purchases were made. Investigators found that timeshare sales teams repeatedly deceived potential buyers regarding reservation procedures, the ability to sell back shares, and other specifics of the contract. High pressure sales tactics even went so far as to state that their timeshare ownership was “better than money in the bank.” Seniors were (and still are) sold on an experience that’s not realistic.

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The sales pitch inevitably promised public use of rooms, an easy reservation process and scarce constraints regarding reservations for owners. All of these claims were found to be false by the Office of the Attorney General  and proven in court. In this case, timeshare sales laws protected a good amount of fractional owners that could have been taken advantage of for a long time.

How Timeshares Create a Demand for No Availability

Common timeshare sales tactics tend to surround the overselling or misrepresentation of travel products. In other words sales teams state that owners will have access to all of the inventory while distracting them with an array of intriguing possibilities in order to get the tour to sign the dotted line. What they don’t explain is that they’re selling the lowest level of access and buyers will have to dish out more cash or jump through more hoops to make this a reality.

Salesman know that once the prospect is under contract, there isn’t much they can do to get out of the agreement. The sales system is set up to continuously persuade users to upgrade no matter their frustration. Timeshare infrastructure is built to overcome conflict and upsell. They purposefully create no availability but demand payment. This is why the regulation of the sales pitch is so important.

We hear these types of situations from our clients all the time. One woman was told she could go to Jamaica (which was her sole purpose for purchasing the timeshare) so they could visit their family once a year. When she went home, she immediately called reservations but they told her there were no properties left in Jamaica. They told her to check back in a few weeks, ironically once the rescission period was over. After multiple complaints, they promised to give her a “fully loaded” golf or beach view casita elsewhere. Since she couldn’t cancel the timeshare agreement anymore, she accepted their offer to upgrade and funded the down payment on a new contract. She ended up being a guest at a dingy unit in a sister resort with a parking lot view.

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Timeshare Sales Laws Do Regulate Unethical Tactics

These types of situations happen more often than people realize. The thing is, buyers aren’t aware of the laws that protect their rights. While salesmen may tell you your contract is final, unethical terminology used can work to your advantage. If you feel like you’re being set up for another bad experience, then you need to document what’s being said. Without any proof (especially when it’s in person), the probability of things working out in your favor aren’t likely.

Sales Pitches on Investments and Potential Income.

Understanding timeshare sales laws will help you identify and expose false promises that eliminate your obligation to pay for the property. Timeshare companies and sales teams can be penalized if the product is being sold as an investment or prospects are being told they can make money renting out or re-selling the property.

The Florida Vacation Plan and Timesharing Act specifically touches on some of this jargon. “The purchase of a timeshare interest should be based upon its value as a vacation experience or for spending leisure time, and not considered for purposes of acquiring an appreciating investment or with an expectation that the timeshare interest can be resold.” The California Vacation Ownership and Timeshare Act of 2004 also clearly restricts this verbiage.

In other words, it’s a purchase, not an investment – and claiming you can make money on it is against the law. Sadly enough, this causes many timeshare owners to believe they can actually sell the property. This results in them wasting even more money on resale services that rarely pan out. Instead of learning how to get out of a timeshare, they dig a deeper whole due to deception.

Additional Unethical Timeshare Sales Claims.

Leading timeshare owners to believe the property holds more value than it really does is only one tactic that sales teams use. Leaving out pertinent information can also result in consequences. If you’ve signed a contract and the timeshare hasn’t disclosed the right of rescission, right to increase maintenance fees or liability of ownership that results in assessment fees – then you have the right to void your contract.

Another enticing offer for potential timeshare owners is the Survivorship Clause that’s sold as a “Legacy Pitch.” This basically means the timeshare company tells you that you can pass on the property to family when you pass on. In reality, you’re basically dumping the perpetual expense on an unexpected heir. Aside from being extremely inconvenient and a terrible memento, it doesn’t even guarantee the recipient will be able to use it. One of our clients actually speaks about this in one of our testimonials. “Because of the changing industry, they were basically stuck with the cost and nothing to show for it.”

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As you can see, there are a number of ways timeshare companies bend the truth and con aspiring travelers. The worst part is that it can take years for those wronged to find restitution. Because of the power timeshare conglomerates have, they can easily bully consumers with expensive legal teams. Unfortunately, most cases don’t even make it to court. But that wasn’t the case for Diamond Resorts in 2016. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a $800,000 settlement with the timeshare giant.

Many timeshare owners found relief when the state found the company was violating timeshare laws regarding annual fee increases, resale claims, rental opportunities and counterfeit discounts on other travel needs. While this was a big deal for the timeshare industry, we still have a long way to go to right the ship. If you’re thinking about buying a timeshare, we encourage you to consider these points before signing the contract. Although we may not be able to do anything about the unethical practices of the industry, we can take a stand to educate consumers on the possibilities of ownership.

If you feel as though you’re stuck in a timeshare contract and want to be relieved of your obligation to pay, we’d be happy to review your options with you. Timeshare cancellation services aren’t always necessary and we take pride in ensuring our clients exhaust all options before investing more money into the purchase.

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