If you take the time to search the world wide web, you’ll find all sorts of bias timeshare information. All kinds of people from different walks of life have a variety of vacation home experiences. Although the travel industry has become a revolving door of superior options, timesharing has continued signing users up for perpetual agreements. The thing is, for over half a century, they’ve also continued to let down buyers in the same ways.
Like we’ve mentioned a lot in previous articles, misleading sales practices cause those intrigued by vacation ownership to believe they’re purchasing something of value. In most cases, impulse buyers with high hopes eventually realize they’re liable to pay for something that is more expensive than they thought and rarely available. The frustration usually compounds when they confirm it’s also something they’ll never be able to resell.
While a majority disgruntled owners turn to review platforms, consumer protection agencies or timeshare relief programs for help, some aren’t even able to voice their displeasure – because they’re deceased. Back in 2017, a local Arizona resident reached out to ABC 15’s Joe Ducey to do a story on his deceased mother’s timeshare in Las Vegas. In the reporter’s routine installment titled “Let Joe Know,” he aired out some of the inquirer’s frustrations before shedding light on the reality of the situation.
Escaping a Timeshare Burden is Not a “Quick” Process.
Like the media, we know that an awful lot of people don’t know what to do as a child or relative of a deceased timeshare owner. But they shouldn’t be expected to. Some living buyers don’t even know what to do with an unwanted timeshare contract. Before explaining anything in his article, Joe even acknowledges this by saying timeshares are pretty “easy to get into but nearly impossible to get out of.” He even went as far as saying, “dying won’t get rid of them.”
If you’re faced with managing a timeshare agreement that you never signed up for, you have to understand the resort is always going to look for a way to continue profiting at your expense. Joe also covers this. Notifying the timeshare of an owner’s passing doesn’t eliminate the estate’s obligation to cover maintenance fees “because technically, it’s a piece of property.” Although the inquirer wasn’t thrilled about his deceased mother receiving bills for $1.5K in maintenance and assessment fees, his options are pretty limited.
Unfortunately, this is how many resorts continue profiting while they look for a replacement owner. Tons of money is poured into sales presentations (especially those in Las Vegas). They’re not going to break the contract because someone is unhappy. If they did that then vacation ownership would die altogether.
You Might Be Able to Escape the Contract By…
According to Mr. Ducey, the easiest way to eliminate the problem would be to ask the timeshare if they’ll let you “deed it back to them.” While this may seem like the answer to all of your prayers, it’s not very likely. Resorts tend to feed off buyer desperation. So, be prepared to jump through additional hoops once the ball is rolling. A few hundred dollars can quickly turn into thousands. The introduction to Joe’s column even acknowledges, “there won’t be a quick fix.”
Although some readers turn to resale platforms to rent or sell the property, it’s not exactly the result they’re seeking. These can be just as misleading as the timeshare was. Listing the property can cost thousands of dollars when resellers aren’t able to find buyers. Anyone mentioning resale as a solution should provide some sort of disclaimer that warns timeshare owners of potential loss.
Ducey also discusses the idea of foreclosure and hiring a probate attorney towards the end of the article. The steps required for settling an estate will differ as they’re based on whether the decedent passed with a valid last will and testament or without leaving a valid will or other estate plan. However, foreclosing on the property forces the resort to take a financial hit, there may be unwelcome blowback that could cause for a more complicated situation.
“Let Joe Know” is a great platform that helps consumers with common problems, but seeking expert advice regarding your timeshare contract is a smart move. Although it’s difficult to find sound advice, investing the time is worth it. Not all timeshares are the same. If you’re a child or relative of a deceased timeshare owner, the best thing you can do is qualify the timeshare information you read.
When a loved one passes and you’re stuck with a vacation property, speaking to someone who actually knows how to get out of timeshares will help you understand what makes the most sense for your and your family. We understand every option in the relief industry and we take pride in pointing people in the right direction – even when cancellation is not ideal for you.