The timeshare industry is a booming business. Today, plenty of timeshare owners enjoy vacationing for a fraction of what a second mortgage would cost. At the same time, a large percentage regret the purchase and view it as a bad investment. Because of this, more and more timeshare owners are looking to get out of their contracts every year. You would think profits would suffer due to this increasing trend – but, even when complaints were peaking, the industry brought home close to $10 billion in 2017.
This successful endeavor has continued to thrive due to a persuasive “bait and switch” sales model that prioritizes occupancy. Every room has to be booked and sometimes overbooked in order to guarantee maximum profits. Timeshare companies believe their greed is justifiable because the vacation rental market is slowly taking over a large percentage of their market share. We can only assume they’re focusing on sales over customer retention because they know it’s only a matter of time before hard-selling is no longer effective. I guess until that time, they don’t plan on changing anything. As sales teams continue to master the art of deception, timeshare owners continue to bite on presentations that seem too good to be true.
When it’s all said and done, impulse buys can leave a lot of people looking for relief. Instead of focusing on the reasons why timeshare owners want to get out of their contracts, let’s take a look at what the result of a poor timeshare investment can be.
1. A Travel Void Arises
The most common result of a poor timeshare investment is that people still have a desire to find an escape away from home. The further along they get with timeshare ownership, the easier it is for them to see that the property isn’t fulfilling the need they initially set out to satisfy. Their inability to use the timeshare during preferred vacation days is a big reason why that void still exists. Aside from availability, the amenities and promoted activities have now created an expectation that timeshare owners begin to covet over time.
What’s really intriguing about the timeshare industry is that most people attending the sales presentation have no intention to buy. This means, the desire to vacation wasn’t necessarily present at the time. Moreover, when they decide to make the purchase, many new timeshare owners don’t even know exactly what they’re agreeing to. They’re too distracted by the possibilities to understand the actualities of the “deal.” In the end, the features and benefits get them excited about the idea of routinely vacationing.
Even when timeshare ownership loses its appeal, owners may still feel inclined to continue pursuing that experience. Just like any other poor investment, money wasted forces them to make it work. Timeshare owners normally won’t give up on these aspirations just because the commitment they made wasn’t reciprocated by the resort. If anything, it ignites the pursuit.
Think of the Travel Void Like a Bad Relationship
The desire to fill this void is kind of like dating. You put yourself out there to experience something magical and in the end, the other person is only interested in their own agenda. If you’ve invested a lot of time into the relationship then it can be difficult for you to end it. But, once you let go, human nature tells you to immediately fill that void. You’re tired of the “what could have been.” In order to stop thinking about the possibilities of the previous relationship, some people might even double down on their dating efforts – or their overall investment. It’s just like the way plenty of timeshare owners cope with their bad experience.
This can be dangerous because it may cause some to obsess over righting their wrong. It’s easy for timeshare owners to believe “upgrades” and other forms of eye candy will fix the problem. They fail to consider the consequences simply to bury the previous mistake. Payback usually backfires in a big way. Attempts to rent or sell the timeshare make matters worse.
Multiple failed attempts might make most buyers hesitant to try again, but it doesn’t mean the desire to garner a return goes away. Especially if a timeshare owner feels obligated to make up for the impact the loss has had on family or personal relationships. Failing to provide the vacation home that everyone was anticipating is probably the most disheartening result of a poor timeshare investment.
2. An Increase in Debt
If we were to rank the most devastating results of a poor timeshare investment, the financial aftermath would easily be number one. Hundreds of thousands of timeshares are owned by people who can no longer afford it. People end up wanting to cancel timeshare agreements because they simply cannot continue chasing a return by spending more money than they originally budgeted for. Some timeshare owners are in denial about how much they’ve put into making it work. But, when they’re forced into purchasing hotel rooms just so they can go on vacation, things have gotten out of control.
We’d be remiss if I didn’t credit the effectiveness of the timeshare sales presentations for their contribution. Upfront costs for a timeshare are extremely high and sales teams do an immaculate job at persuading prospects this is an affordable investment. According to certain associations that monitor the industry, the typical timeshare week costs anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000. On top of that, each timeshare owner is responsible for about $200-$1000 in maintenance fees every year.
In order to show you how ridiculous maintenance fees are; A resort that books 100 rooms for 30 weeks a year with $600 in fees can deposit $1.8 million. What’s worse is they can charge more if they want or feel the need to.
Timeshare companies reserve the right to revise these annual fees when they see fit. Additional costs normally skyrocket after natural disasters or during resort buyouts and mergers. Moreover, many timeshare owners use credit lines to keep up with payments. When you factor in interest rates for mortgages and credit cards, the unexpected fees start to add up. Being on the hook for these expenses causes many to verge outside of their initial budget.
This is a big commitment for an industry dominated by middle class America. Would you spend that much on a car you could only drive for one week every year? Even if it was a Lamborghini, I think most of us would balk at the proposal. The fact of the matter is, millions of timeshare owners are initially led to believe owning a timeshare is a worthwhile investment. As they get further away from their expectation, it’s easy for them to dish out more cash to to satisfy the desire they initially invested in. Just like the first result in this article. Refusing to see the reality of their situation only puts them in a bigger hole.
When it comes to being realistic, we have to understand that timeshare ownership is an expense, not an investment. Eric Mohrman of USA Today encourages us to look at it purely from a financial standpoint. “An investment should generate income, increase in value or, in the best cases, do both. Timeshares don’t do either.” At the end of the day, there’s no equity involved in a timeshare purchase. Timeshare owners are simply buying real estate interest. Instead of experiencing a return over time, the timeshare diminishes in value.
In other words, if you sell the property, you’re going to lose money. A lot of it. Even claiming capital loss as a tax deduction requires you to jump through some hoops with the IRS. This is because a timeshare is not actually an investment. You’re simply “investing” money into an experience. One that you’re constantly trying to improve with little to show for what’s spent.
Although a major loss is anticipated when re-listing the property, many believe this is their only option to exit timeshare ownership. Far too many people pursue this resolution without knowing the resale market is oversaturated with options. Over time, they realize the small percentage they hoped to recoup is nothing but a pipedream and the resale “opportunity” costs are eventually added to the overall expense of timeshare ownership.
This is normally where debt catches up to the consumer and desperation sets in. Losing more money by trying to rent or sell causes them to become desperate for a way to get out. Unfortunately, many timeshare relief companies prey on their vulnerability as well. Time and time again, owners end up right back where they started. If they would have known the overall expense would be so high, I’m sure a majority of them would have avoided the investment altogether. Unfortunately, once they sign the contract and agree to upgrades, they’re financially obligated to continue paying or further damages loom.
Walking Away From a Timeshare Can Be Very Costly
Debt can be a burdensome result of a poor timeshare investment. It can get to a point where timeshare owners literally can’t make payments anymore. If they happen to default on their mortgage payments, foreclosure normally follows. Even when the timeshare mortgage is paid off, defaulting on other financial obligations (like taxes, maintenance fees or special assessments) also triggers a foreclosure.
If this occurs, buyers can expect further financial consequences on top of their accumulation of debt. They’ll have trouble taking out another loan while experiencing higher interest rates and a damaged credit line. If you’re not careful, the result of a poor timeshare investment can be extremely costly. You could end up paying for the decision for years to come.
3. Personal Grief
Have you ever despised your employer? Does the poor work environment carry over into your personal life? In most cases, it does. Similar to the way these conditions affect the home, bad investments (or expenses in this case) can create emotions that impact people’s everyday lives. Over a long period of time, it can become difficult for some to embody a positive outlook when they continue to experience disappointment or deception.
Not only can this affect their ability to trust, but also cause them to become extremely skeptical. A negative outlook can have a big impact on current relationships as well as future interactions. When timeshare owners feel defeated and trapped in an investment, it’s easy for them to act sour towards others. The self-pity, resentment and grief can really alter their perspective.
I wonder how many relationships or marriages have suffered to the tune of a bad investment. The blaming game can be enough of a distraction in itself. Taking a loss can be difficult. Sometimes, multiple people are involved. The demeanor of a person can change when a beneficial resolution isn’t in sight. Especially when the overwhelming debt has handicapped their ability to enjoy life.
In addition to the psychological disadvantage, many timeshare owners struggle to afford some of the things they’ve grown accustomed to over the years. They might even be forced to make sacrifices just to keep their head above water. Whether it’s social events or personal purchases, their inability to enjoy these things can also create a sense of bitterness. Having to give up personal interests in order to pay for a regretful purchase can be a recipe for disaster.
What Did I Get Myself Into?
Another result of a poor timeshare investment is being forced to constantly deal with high pressure sales and marketing tactics. Whether timeshare owners are disappointed or content, resorts are always looking for ways to increase their revenue. Even when buyers inquire about getting rid of the timeshare burden, they’re simply placed into new sales cycle that never seem to end. Many don’t realize that a lot of these timeshare exit programs actually work together.
No matter how many times you tell them “no” someone is always countering your disinterest with another shiny object. When salesmen don’t respect your wishes or listen to your responses, general annoyance can turn into frustration. Nobody likes to be sold when they’re looking for someone to listen. Once timeshare owners have been ripped off a few times, everything seems like a scam. When negative outlooks grow colder, it makes it even more difficult for them to find a quality termination company.
Purchase Skepticism Can Result
An experience like this can also affect large purchases outside of the timeshare industry. Timeshare owners might begin to assume the worst in other scenarios that aren’t relevant. Car salesmen or real estate agents could easily be misjudged prior to any form of interaction. Online purchases might get overly compared and contrasted. Legitimate “deals” might not have the same appeal anymore. A bad investment can easily turn into something bigger than a bad attitude.
For the most part, travel and hospitality companies have taken the biggest hit. Timeshare owners that regret their decision struggle to trust these purchases as well. From our perspective, the timeshare industry is single handedly destroying tourism in many destination cities. The fear of being bamboozled can detour some from truly exploring the world and participating in other expeditions. It’s truly sad to see.
The personal grief experienced by timeshare owners is the main reason we officially launched our company back in 2014. We were tired of seeing people get taken advantage of while timeshare companies thrived. Although some timeshare experiences are amazing, there are plenty that consistently fall short of consumer expectations. Our commitment to helping timeshare owners with an ethical approach has earned us an unmatched reputation in the cancellation industry.
We’re the only attorney based service that offers guarantees that are actually backed by 100% success rates. If you feel like you have nowhere to turn with your timeshare, we’d love to point you in the right direction. At the end of the day, we aim to help you turn the result of a poor timeshare investment into a positive outcome.
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