As we’ve discussed in previous articles, timeshare ownership can be full of unexpected occurrences that don’t align with the anticipated experience. From booking frustrations to surprise assessment fees, the vacation haven can quickly shift from butterflies to a perpetual payment of regret. Not only can this type of expense drain people’s bank accounts, it can damage their perception of the travel industry – and rightfully so. So before we talk about walking away from maintenance fees, let’s discuss how you got to this point.
Although it may seem like common sense to pay attention to every detail when planning a trip or settling on a timeshare, many travelers are distracted by the potential of timeshare travel. But after they’ve become privy of the reality of their situation, it’s too late for them to turn back. When you think about it, preparing for a vacation is stressful enough on its own. Adding additional fees and a lack of availability to the equation can create quite a bit of animosity – towards the resort and at home.
Unfortunately, the timeshare industry could care less. If you haven’t already found this out already, their response to your grief tends to overflow with deceitful promises. Once you think you’re in the clear, something else backfires. No matter how many options there are to find timeshare relief, they all seem to lead you back to the same problem. Once owning the property becomes a drag, it can be easy to believe walking away from the timeshare is your best option. Here’s why it’s not.
Walking Away From Timeshare Maintenance Fees Sounds Good
Many timeshare owners despise the sight of their annual timeshare maintenance fees. They just so happen to arrive in the mailbox during this time of the year. Just in time to spread, I mean kill, some holiday cheer. If money is tight or the timeshare owner is simply fed up with the expense, they might consider doing something drastic. Some might look to make a statement and seriously consider walking away from timeshare maintenance fees altogether.
Whether they’ve paid off the contract or not, they might feel like the value of the purchase isn’t adding up. Dumping the timeshare and it’s fees might seem like a viable option to those that desperately want to get rid of timeshare expenses. Do you find yourself contemplating whether or not to walk away? It’s important that you don’t let your emotions or resentment cloud your judgement on this one. Thousands of timeshare owners have been and will be penalized for this decision.
Why We Care About the Decisions You Make.
At VOC, we speak to thousands of unhappy, disgruntled timeshare owners every year. A good number of them simply cannot afford making payments anymore. It’s a sad truth that’s much more prevalent than most people know. The purchase has been a lot more overwhelming than they ever expected. Helping them find a resolution is important to us – whether they decide to cancel the timeshare or not. At the same time, in order to help them help themselves, we have to make sure they don’t act irrationally. Before you go through with walking away from timeshare maintenance fees, we want to explain what you can expect in return.
Why You Shouldn’t Stop Paying Timeshare Maintenance Fees.
When it comes to maintenance and assessment fees, the amount charged is unfortunately out of the timeshare owner’s control. These costs are determined and governed by a management company (or board) and the transparency is basically non-existent. Although they usually cover property maintenance, operations, budgetary concerns and improvements, a number of “various expenses” typically arise.
Even when timeshare owners don’t agree with the amounts being charged, they’re contractually obligated to cover the expenses of the resort. Almost all timeshare purchases involve perpetual agreements. In other words, they’ve agreed to pay for an infinite period of time. Getting rid of timeshare contracts is nearly impossible as is. If you breach your contract, you can typically expect the following repercussions.
1. You’ll be Refused Reservations and other Options.
When you veer off from the contract requirements, the resort reserves the right to deny your reservation requests. Although this may not apply to those wanting to cancel the timeshare purchase in the past, it’s still something the resort will make sure you’re aware of. If you do decide to book your week, the check-in desk will refuse the reservation due to a contract violation.
Aside from your annual vacations, the timeshare will also refuse to process rental requests. You may think you’re being cunning by offering your week as a rental, but you’ll soon find out it’s not that easy. What happens when you have to process a refund and find the traveler another place to stay? Talk about a costly mistake.
You might think an exchange will work in your favor as well. But, when you’re not current on your maintenance fees, depositing your week (or interval) may no longer be an option either. Your right to process anything regarding the resort is restricted when you decide to walk away from the obligation you signed up for.
2. You’ll be Pursued for Timeshare Maintenance Fees
Defaulting on the timeshare by walking away from the fees will also initiate attempts by the resort to hold you accountable for the breach. Failing to honor the contract gives them every right to pursue you to the furthest degree. This can range from aggressive forms of communication by an internal team to sending you to a 3rd party collections agency.
The resort is going to do everything they can to pressure you into making any type of payment. Similar to the sales tactics used to close or upgrade you, they know exactly how to hit you where it hurts in order to collect. Many timeshare owners would rather pay the maintenance fees than deal with the consequences. But, some are stubborn enough to dare the resort to act.
In addition to collection attempts, it’s important that you realize the resort will also hit you with penalties and late fees. If you’re still paying on a mortgage and walk away, then you have to anticipate compounding fees for both. Most loans come from a 3rd party lender that has nothing to do with resort obligations. You could end up being harassed by two separate entities if you’re not careful.
When a certain amount of time has passed without success (normally 30-90 days), it’s almost a guarantee that your delinquency will be reported to a credit reporting agency. Although this may not initially worry you, a damaged credit history can eventually hinder your ability to borrow money for an extended period of time. A car loan or another mortgage may be out of the question until the negative reporting falls off. If the timeshare company is extra stingy, they can continue to renew the balance owed for a long time.
Just like most timeshare owners hope things will work out in their favor, the timeshare company normally assumes you’ll eventually pay up. If they get the drift that you’re serious about refusing to pay, they may begin to threaten you with legal action. Although some of the smaller timeshare operations don’t have the capabilities or means to legally pursue you, a large majority do – and they will. Assuming this is another scare tactic can backfire on you quickly.
Aside from the time investment, a legal battle can easily cost you everything you have. Remember, resorts have the leverage of a legally binding contract on their side. They also have the firepower to legally pursue you to the fullest extent if they want to. Is walking away from timeshare maintenance fees really worth all that?
4. The Resort Can Pursue a Foreclosure.
Besides compounding late fees, collections and credit reports, the developer (or HOA board) also has the right to pursue a foreclosure on the property. No different than a legal battle, the timeshare can add foreclosure costs to the amount you owe them. Court fees, attorney expenses, filing costs and other documentation efforts can be financially damaging.
The foreclosure process can be dragged out for years if it has to be. Even if you think you’re in the clear and collection agencies stop calling, a foreclosure may be in the works. Some timeshare owners don’t hear about this for years and are blindsided by the repercussions. Once the courts are involved, the outlook isn’t very favorable for the timeshare owner. Just like delinquent balances sent to collections, a foreclosure can drastically impact your credit scores.
5. Other Owners at the Resort Will Pay the Price
What can be hard to swallow for most timeshare owners, is the impact their decision has on their peers. On top of individual repercussions, walking away from timeshare maintenance fees causes other owners to pick up the slack. The resort may initially absorb the costs, but they’ll eventually disperse the loss amongst their remaining fractional owners. Although this takes time, it’s inevitable.
In most cases, this affects those that are in good standing with the resort. Resorts have no problem charging those that pay their bills on time. In other words, you’re giving owners without problems the same frustrations that caused you to walk away. Resorts will make sure you’re aware of this. Guilting you is another form of leverage they’ll play in order to get you to pay. Even if it’s by force, they have no intention of losing you as a customer or their residual income. At the end of the day, someone will pay for the maintenance fees so the resort can cash in on the profits they estimated for the year.
Walk Away From Your Timeshare Legally with VOC.
Understanding the result of walking away from timeshare maintenance fees can be gut-wrenching. If you were set on ceasing payment, the reality of the repercussions may cause you to lose the little bit of hope you had. But, you’re not alone. Escaping the clutch of timeshare ownership is on the minds of thousands of travelers across the country. We want you to know there’s no need to give up and give in if you’re serious about getting out.
At VOC, we specialize in helping timeshare owners find a resolution. Once you’ve exhausted all options, we’re able to provide you with guaranteed timeshare cancellation services. What differentiates us is the simple fact there are no pressure sales, no broken promises and zero misrepresentation. Since 2014, we’ve upheld our reputation by terminating 100% of our client’s timeshare contracts. Not only have we followed through with our promises, but we’ve provided timeshare owners with the professional experience they deserve. If you’re considering walking away from timeshare maintenance fees, we’d love to point you in the right direction. The only result you should be focused on is a memorable vacation that’s timeshare free.