Over the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing a few hypothetical situations that vacation owners should most certainly consider. While it’s still difficult to tell when travel bans will be lifted or the economy will reopen, it’s safe to say that the hospitality industry will incur quite a bit of loss. Whether it be the consumer or businesses. As a vacation owner, you might be used to inconveniences – but no traveler is in a worse position than you are right now. No matter what happens, your perpetual agreement will more than likely keep you at the mercy of the resort.
There isn’t much that could make timeshare ownership worse during a pandemic than your obligation to pay for something you can’t use. But there are a few instances that could make those payments even more difficult to bear. Truth be told, vacation owners are more vulnerable than ever before. Although we’d hate for any of these things to occur, helping you understand what your contract entails could pay dividends down the road.
Are You Worried About Timeshare Ownership?
Listen, you have a right to feel uneasy about owning a timeshare interval during a global standstill. Especially if you’ve lost your job or simply realized that you need to cut expenses to do a better job saving money. The level of uncertainty in general, on top of your inability to use something you have to pay for, has to be burdensome. Some of you already know you’re not going to be able to afford your timeshare.
YOUR AGREEMENT DOESN’T GIVE YOU MUCH LEVERAGE.
To date, all signs from timeshare companies have been pointing towards self interest. Nothing has shown us they’re contemplating helping the millions of owners that are paying their salaries during this pandemic. The binding agreement that timeshare owners signed allows them to expect payments and penalize refusals – even though they have an ability to help out. In short, waiting to act on your concern can be costly. If further disaster were to occur, then what?
What Could Make Owning a Timeshare Worse?
While the chances of another setback occurring during a global crisis is slim, it’s not out of the question. The longer this pandemic lasts, the more the odds are stacked against you. The last thing we want is for you to be unprepared. Although it may seem like we’re trying to talk you into canceling your contract, we simply want to make you aware of possibilities so you may act accordingly. Sometimes, this is as simple as reaching out to the resort to work something out. Nonetheless, if any of the following events impact your resort, then your binding agreement could become quite regrettable.
1. Bad Weather Can Be Limiting and Expensive.
One of the worst things that could happen during a pandemic is a natural disaster. In a time where everyone is isolated in their homes, a loss of power or water can be devastating. Not to mention the immediate dangers that come with severe storms. Whether you experience a natural disaster yourself or your timeshare is hit by one, a timeshare contract is not going to come in handy.
Just in the past few weeks, there have been a number of deadly tornadoes in the southeast and moderate earthquakes on the west coast. We have no doubt that there are timeshare owners out there who are currently dealing with these unimagined scenarios. If your timeshare vacation was already cancelled due to the pandemic, what happens if your resort is damaged by an earthquake or hurricane this summer? It’s hard to tell when hotels will reopen for tourists. Anything could happen in between.
SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS ONLY MAKE MATTERS WORSE.
What happens when you don’t get to vacation in 2020 at all but you’re asked to pay thousands of dollars in special assessment fees due to tornado damage? How would it feel to know the resort profited off of you and your fellow owners during a year where many suffered? Would it make you wish you would have reconsidered the purchase long before?
A natural disaster would make it awfully difficult for you to find restitution for a lost year. If your timeshare is on a fault line, in tornado alley, in the Caribbean or next to a volcano then you might want to start thinking about what’s really worth it. If you’re already struggling during this pandemic, then assessment fees and further limitations would definitely make timeshare ownership worse.
2. A New Acquisition That Spurs Change.
If travel limitations stretch into the fall or holiday season, a handful of timeshare companies may look to off-load some of their resorts to cover their losses. Whether sales are low due to a pandemic or lost interest, resorts often benefit from change. And what better time to revamp a timeshare resort than during a global lockdown. Investors and developers that are able to endure this standstill will be eager to take over struggling properties in popular destinations.
The problem with an acquisition is the suddenness and lack of transparency that occurs. Owners rarely have a say in what transpires or what’s required of them. Oftentimes, those taking over have big plans to upgrade the resort at the timeshare owners’ expense. Receiving high maintenance fees and sudden assessments – because a wealthy developer wants to make more money – can be quite troubling during a pandemic. Especially for those that are already struggling to pay for their timeshare.
BUYOUTS CAN BE MISLEADING FOR OWNERS.
Although an improved experience may appeal to most travelers, additional expenses could be devastating to some timeshare owners right now. Now that assessment fees aren’t capped in many states, there’s no telling how resorts could respond during a pandemic. Sadly, you’d have no choice but to adhere to the decisions of new management. Even if this means their budget cuts eliminated employees or services you’ve grown accustomed to.
Nearly every timeshare acquisition gets our phones ringing here at VOC. Many vacation owners learn to appreciate the little things about their locations and dislike being stripped of them without warning. If hospitality companies are expecting a lot of downtime, you have to know they’re going to be looking for ways to maximize profits once they’re able to reopen. New construction, landscape improvements, pool renovations and suite upgrades usually come with an acquisition. Unfortunately, these could occur at a really inconvenient time this year, making timeshare ownership worse during a pandemic.
3. An Owner’s Sudden Change in Health.
One of the most unexpected occurrences in a timeshare owner’s life is a decline in their health. Everybody wants to believe they can continue traveling forever. Nobody wants to think about physical ailments or health conditions limiting their quality of life. But things happen, and you have to be prepared to adapt or face the music. When it comes to timeshare travel, many purchases end up unusable because of this.
Whether a property doesn’t have adequate handicap accessible lodging or higher altitudes are unsafe, visiting your timeshare can become a lost cause. Especially when the timeshare company isn’t willing to make it work for the same price. If traveling to the resort is already risky as it is, what are you going to do if your health worsens? While we see this the most in the aging community, one unforeseen tragedy or accident can alter anyone’s life in an instant.
If you’re already struggling to get by during the COVID-19 crisis then how would you pay for the timeshare if you become terminally ill or are involved in an accident? If you have an underlying condition and traveling isn’t safe anymore, what will you do when the timeshare holds you to your contract? Understanding these types of scenarios and how timeshare ownership could get worse will help you navigate certain paths if they were to occur.
4. A Large, Unexpected Expense Arises.
There are a number of things that play a role in a vacation owner’s desire to legally get rid of a timeshare contract. But nothing is more convincing than an abrupt expense that takes a priority in their life. This could involve anything that’s unexpected with a high price tag. Funeral costs for the death of a family member or medical expenses can create quite the setback. Even caring for your parents or going through a divorce could quickly come into fruition unexpectedly.
If you lost your job of 30 years and are struggling to pay for your mortgage then homeownership certainly takes precedence over the timeshare. Maybe you purchased the timeshare before expanding your family and you’re just now realizing they need you more than you need the vacation. Kids are a lot more expensive than most people think.
All of these things, during a pandemic, would definitely make timeshare ownership worse. Understanding what your options are will help you avoid further trouble down the road. At some point, you’ll want to decide if a total cancellation is the best way to save money over the long term.
5. What Else Can Make Timeshare Ownership Worse?
Look, there isn’t much worse than a terrible timeshare experience. Paying for an expectation that doesn’t transpire has got to be frustrating. But we have to start thinking about how this pandemic is going to alter the future of travel. Aside from dealing with an invisible enemy, we have to admit America is quite vulnerable right now. If international tensions arise, how will timeshare contracts be viewed? How burdensome could they become if a war or global conflict broke out – on top of the economic crisis our country is already facing?
Something else worth considering is an economic crisis that’s beyond what we’re currently experiencing. If you still have a job but you ended up losing it due to a poor recovery, how will this impact your life? Will you still have an ability to travel? If new laws, tolls or regulations for hotels add to the cost of your timeshare, is it going to be something you can continue to afford?
The coronavirus will also affect a number of people psychologically. If you’re already a germaphobe, are you going to be able to get into an airplane or visit a condo that could potentially be contaminated with COVID-19? If you’ve experienced trauma during this time, will you feel safe in unfamiliar locations? If you lose someone close to you, are you going to want to go on vacation anytime soon? Anything that could make paying for timeshare ownership worse needs to be considered here.
Will Timeshare Travel Ever Be the Same Again?
No matter how you’re handling the pandemic, we can all agree there’s plenty of time for us to reassess our spending habits and priorities. If owning a timeshare just doesn’t seem like something that makes sense anymore, then cutting ties while you’re still ahead may not be a bad idea. Because of the way your resort has handled this crisis, some of you are ready to move on. If the unexpected were to occur, then your timeshare contract probably won’t help.
At VOC, we don’t believe in pressuring timeshare owners to cancel their contract. In most instances, there’s a competent way to work things out with the resort. You just need to know your realistic options when it comes to your contract. Working with someone you can trust helps. If cancellation is something you’re interested in, you can always schedule a free consultation or fill out a qualification form to see if you’re eligible for our services.
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