When it comes to getting rid of vacation ownership or managing the financial obligation during rough patches, understanding how to go about handling the matter is key. Aside from the extensive amount of fraud in the exit realm, timeshare companies have been known to leverage an owner’s despair as an upsell opportunity. If you know how to exhaust your options with timeshare resorts, then the chances of making wise decisions (to avoid further setbacks) drastically increases.
Whether you hire VOC to guide you or not, finding someone you can trust is extremely beneficial. There are hundreds of narratives out there looking to take advantage of an owner’s desperation. But before you go trying to figure out which pitch scratches your itch, try to see the full picture of your contract and the situation you’re currently in.
Waiting To Use Your Timeshare Can Be Exhausting.
COVID-19 has not only made everyone’s life a little bit more strenuous, but it’s created quite the stir amongst timeshare owners. Besides an inability to use their expensive vacation, they’ve remained on the hook for payments and annual dues. In fact, maintenance fees are still rising despite minimal upkeep and house cleaning services. Truth be told, many of these employees have been let go.
So how are owners supposed to work things out with the resort under these conditions? Well, first and foremost, they have to avoid desperate measures at all costs. Tread with caution when accepting or trusting in what the timeshare’s sales or retention department is spoon feeding you as it may lead to an upsell with further commitments.
In case you weren’t aware, the helping hand hasn’t exactly been beneficial for owners over the past year.
Exhausting Your Options With Timeshare Resorts.
Even if escaping the burden may appear to be a lost cause, making an attempt to exhaust your options before walking away is necessary. The perpetuated myth of the industry is that resorts want disgruntled buyers to think it’s impossible to get out of a timeshare. But if the purchase is hindering you, what do you have to lose?
Those that just stop making payments or attempt to file a lawsuit are often caught off guard by the uphill battle and uncertainty throughout. This is why owners ought to approach their escape plan as a methodical process with a sprinkle of professionalism and a focus on efficiency.
Every mistake can be costly. If you don’t take it seriously, a number of things could go wrong. With that being said, if you’re looking to exhaust your options with timeshare resorts, here are some questions and tips to digest.
1. Aggressively Pursue Financial Assistance.
Whether you’ve gotten good use out of your timeshare in the past or not, many owners are having difficulties (since March of 2020) remaining current with payments. While your first reaction may be to ignore the problem out of embarrassment, it’s best to stay ahead of these things.
It never hurts to simply ask your resort if they are able to defer payments or find a way to apply lower interest rates. Despite the low probability of this working, why not swing for the home run? In case you were unaware, standard interest rates on a timeshare can be as high as 17.9%. Moreover, these loans are usually front loaded with interest and other types of fees.
Some of our clients have even had unexpected down payments and closing costs charged to third-party financing. Finding a way to lower these numbers or put a dent in the totality of the expense can be a gamechanger.
Scrambling to Cover Timeshare Expenses Can Be Exhausting.
The last thing you want to do is put yourself in an even bigger hole financially by scrambling to cover the cost. Some of our clients have taken out a personal loan, home equity loan or similar to pay off a timeshare. The temporary solution may only tie up even more collateral, resulting in an increased risk of financial hardship.
We do not advise taking out a HELOC or other personal financing to satisfy a timeshare mortgage. If you can negotiate your interest rate down to something more reasonable, like 4%, it would make a huge difference in your monthly payment. But if you want to fully exhaust your options with timeshare resorts, you can’t stop there.
2. Point Consolidations or Releases May Work.
Those of you that have multiple point contracts (or more points than you can use) may be able to use it to your advantage. While approval is highly unlikely, you could ask your timeshare if they would be willing to release you of the agreements you are unable to use – while retaining those you can. In speaking to vacation owners about this, we’ve found that some have been able to lower the overall cost this way.
3. Fulfilled Mortgage Obligations Could Help.
At the end of the day, pressing your timeshare for answers is one of the best things you can do. Persistence forces them to respond at some point. So instead of beating around the bush and hoping for some sort of assistance, ask if they offer a takeback program for free and clear timeshares. Just know, they’ll probably require further action by you.
In most cases, timeshares that offer deed-back or release programs will want the mortgage completely satisfied. These types of mortgages are typically privately funded. This means major financial institutions are not involved, so timeshares have little interest in forgiving debt on the timeshare notes they hold.
Before they’re even willing to discuss the application for an existing takeback program, a payoff for the loan amount will more than likely be required. You can expect additional processing or administrative fees with the transaction as well. Because of this, continue looking for additional ways to exhaust your options with timeshare resorts.
Listening to the Resort Is Extremely Risky; So Tread with Caution.
While a payoff may seem ideal, doing so may not always bode well. Once the unpaid note is satisfied, there is no guarantee that the timeshare won’t require you to fulfill further conditions before they take back the deed – if they offer to take it back at all.
In the meantime, buyers often remain liable for maintenance fees and any other contractual obligations with the resort. So make sure you really dig deep into this process before going ‘all in’. Refinancing or taking out a second mortgage to pay off your timeshare and get out can backfire tremendously.
If you fully funded a new purchase with credit card(s) at the point of sale through Barclays, American Express, Comenity or similar; you may be able to negotiate balances down through third-party financers if you are experiencing a financial hardship or were misled into agreeing to the alternative financing at the time of sale. But when you think about it, adding another bank to the equation is not ideal.
4. Try Negotiating With Timeshare Resorts.
If your resort doesn’t provide a favorable solution up to this point, you may need to adjust your strategy. The fact of the matter is, resorts are advancing and proposed solutions may present risks that clearly do not benefit their owners. In turn, putting your pride aside and coming out of pocket to resolve your timeshare matter.
If you’ve never thought about an attempt to settle the amount owed on your timeshare with the resort directly, then there’s no better time than now. Millions of vacation owners are paying for something they cannot even use. Recently one judge sided with a timeshare owner who was being pursued legally over backed fees. He was relieved of the obligation due to his loss of income relating to the pandemic.
So a negotiation may be in play – but only when you’re confident the timeshare will agree to collect a portion of your financial obligation instead of spending additional money to unsuccessfully chase down all of it. If this is the case, here are some negotiation tips to help you exhaust your options with timeshare resorts.
Negotiating With Timeshare Resorts 101:
- First and foremost, attempt to identify the number your timeshare wants you to pay to satisfy your agreement. Once you have, try to negotiate it down with genuine concerns. Buyers that strongly feel some of their obligations were unknowingly included (at the time of the sale) may have a valid point worth considering. If you don’t feel responsible, then speak up! If you have proof, show it and make them aware of how you feel you were wronged or misled.
- No matter how you go about negotiations, you have to be aware of potential outcomes. Verbally assaulting sales reps or threatening the resort with a lawsuit is not a good way to garner leverage. At the same time, being too soft can create vulnerabilities that timeshares know how to take advantage of. So be mindful of desperation in its relation to deceitful upgrade attempts during negotiations.
- Last but not least, try not to go into negotiations with high expectations. Although you may feel terribly wronged, there’s little chance you will receive any type of refund or release without a payment. Just because you have a strong case against your onerous contract doesn’t always mean the resort will care. The past has shown us that timeshares don’t lose much sleep over struggling buyers – which is why their offers almost always include a dollar amount. While it might leave a bad taste in your mouth, any offer to mutually escape ownership ought to be considered. You just never know when another opportunity may come about.
If you don’t set aside your emotions to make logical decisions, then you could end up investing a lot of time into your pursuit of a ‘fair’ exit – only to find yourself back at square one with more money owed.
Exhaust Your Options With Timeshare Resorts; Then Find Viable Help That Cares.
In reality, the timeshare industry is a cutthroat marketplace full of money-loving swindlers. Whether a person is working as a resort sales agent or they’re selling timeshare relief, the goal is rarely to ‘help’ anyone but themselves. The lingo used by many is proposed to cater and appeal to the disappointment of ownership.
Many want you to believe that sending them money will help eliminate the pain and frustration. But it rarely plays out this way. This is why it’s important to take a second to assess where you are as an owner. If you’re emotionally charged or looking for revenge, entities know how to use this against you.
Know When Timeshare Options Have Been Exhausted.
Since we encourage all owners to try to exhaust their options with the resort, we understand it can be a strenuous process. This is why asking the right questions is important. At the same time, knowing when to move on and seek competent relief assistance is invaluable.
Allowing the timeshare to dictate what you do and how much you pay just isn’t sustainable. If you really need to escape the burden, then find somebody that’s willing to listen and help you find a viable solution. If the timeshare wasn’t honest with you about obligations, oftentimes you can’t expect them to be truthful about your exit options.