After nearly a year of timeshare uncertainty, it’s maintenance season again. Despite quarantines, local mandates, travel restrictions and massive amounts of job loss, it appears most owners are going to be on the hook for another inflated timeshare maintenance bill. The revenue that timeshare companies have missed out on due to COVID-19 makes this almost certain. While some buyers may have grown accustomed to paying increased resort fees over the years, their payment for their 2020 statement may foster some hesitancy.
Whether they have the money or not, the future of the industry looks rather bleak. It’s hard for anyone to know when the economy will open back up. Some owners, for the first time, are contemplating walking away despite the ramifications. Moreover, we can’t imagine how frustrating it’s been for those who bought a timeshare during the first few months of the year. It’s easy to assume most believe they made a huge mistake. Nonetheless, here we are – and the reality is, your annual timeshare bill is almost always binding.
Timeshare Prospects Need to Understand Maintenance.
Although it may be easier to sink into a hole and deal with your onerous contract and its fees, it never hurts to better understand your timeshare product. Since 2017, we’ve published a lot of content surrounding timeshare contracts and the concepts of annual fees. The least you can do is determine where you went wrong and share your story so others don’t follow suit. At the end of the day, most complaints regard a lack of disclosure.
Truth be told, far too many buyers don’t fully understand what they’re getting themselves into – let alone their obligations. In fact, a lot of the owners that call us claim they weren’t even expecting a timeshare maintenance bill. Sadly, they wait until they’re in a bind to do anything about it.
Others quickly realize they don’t have any budget left to cover extra costs – even after they were told it was an affordable deal. This leaves them at the mercy of the resort for years to come, oftentimes with an inability to use the high ticket item.
The Basis of a Timeshare Maintenance Bill.
In short, maintenance costs are similar to HOA fees, but far more hefty and unpredictable. Aside from taking care of repairs and upkeep (landscaping, pool service, decor, etc..) your timeshare maintenance bill could be used to fund the agenda of the resort – oftentimes without your consent or even consideration. Any changes that the board of directors or association decides to make are made at the owner’s expense. Acquisitions only make matters worse. While you may think you have a say in this, owners almost never do; but they’re still required pick up the fees that the new company is imposing for remodels, branding and so on.
Don’t Sign Up For What You Don’t Understand.
The fact of the matter is, vacation ownership is nothing like homeownership. Tourists and gullible consumers end up falling into traps like this, in the middle of a pandemic. They let the appeal of a sales pitch and the charisma of a salesperson convince and mislead them. What’s often said at timeshare presentations is rarely included in these perpetual agreements. No matter how much buyers wish this weren’t true, it most certainly is.
Fair or not, thousands of buyers willingly sign up for a timeshare maintenance bill every year. So, before you sign the dotted line or get overly excited for something that seems “too good to be true,” do yourself a favor and review the contract before signing. While it may be too late to get out of a timeshare through rescission, it’s never too early to start documenting deception. If your goal is to eventually escape the burden, then work towards the goal.
What Can Happen If You Stop Paying Timeshare Maintenance Fees?
Over the past 8 months, we’ve talked to a multitude of people that are completely distraught over their current timeshare experience. As each month passes, more and more people are becoming even more desperate. Instead of legally cancelling their agreement, many tell us they’ve decided to just stop paying altogether and take their chances. While many don’t have much of a choice, they may want to first consult with an expert in the industry to understand their options.
First and foremost, no matter if your mortgage is paid off or not, a refusal to pay your timeshare maintenance bill will most likely cost you resort access. Any reservation request will probably be denied. From here you can expect to be routinely harassed by representatives and then collection agencies for your delinquent balance. In most cases, buyers that stop paying often find themselves overwhelmed by a number of collectors and derogatory credit remarks.
When Possible Penalties Become Reality.
Over time, fear mongered messages evolve into aggressive threats of foreclosure and legal action. While none of this is ever called for, oftentimes they’re able to warrant their tactics because you’re contractually bound to pay them. Once courts are involved, the outlook rarely favors vacation owners. Aside from facing bankruptcy or extreme debt while damaging your credit, your decision to stop paying a timeshare maintenance bill may also increase the burden of remaining owners at the resort. While you’re being pursued, they may be required to pay your difference.
In some cases, vacation owners are left alone and led to believe they escaped the burden. The resort doesn’t call after a few payment reminders and people think they’re free and clear of another timeshare maintenance bill. But an “out of sight, out of mind” strategy is rather ignorant. At some point, the timeshare company may come after what’s “rightfully theirs.” This is never convenient and they almost always give owners a deadline to pay – or else.
Should Owners Prepare for High Assessments Too?
As we approach the season of annual timeshare dues, maintenance isn’t the only possible expense that worries vacation owners. Many, if not all, timeshare contracts don’t have terms pertaining to a global pandemic. So how are resorts going to pay or the losses they’ve endured from shutdowns? Some believe they will use special assessments and maintenance costs to bridge the revenue gap. A tremendous increase could be possible under “deficit recovery” or similar.
Some Examples of Potential Shady Tactics.
Although we’re not in the business of making predictions, some timeshare companies have already implemented plans of action that aren’t too consumer friendly. For instance, inquiries are starting to mention that they were asked to pay next year’s annual dues to deedback their week for usage in a membership with first access for 2022. So, not only are some owners expected to pay 2021’s timeshare maintenance bill without resort access, but future payments as well.
Many have called and told us that they’re constantly being asked to transition into points membership programs in order to get out from under their deeded interest. While this may seem like a way to exit timeshare agreements, resorts are simply signing owners up for new obligations, increased fees and potential upgrade situations (all of which are covered in other articles). It’s a bait and switch tactic that helps them recoup losses now and set themselves up for higher earnings in the future.
Finding Trustworthy Timeshare Help.
Unfortunately, the success of the timeshare industry has been predicated on empty promises to close deals. Even timeshare exit companies use similar lies to mislead vulnerable vacation owners. This is why we want to be extremely careful with how we’re presenting this information. At the end of the day, we’re not trying to talk you into our services, rather help you avoid further let down.
After talking to a variety of vacation owners across the country, many are upset that their commitment isn’t valued or being rewarded. Dealing with a higher timeshare maintenance bill isn’t going to help. It’s like they’ve been told the product is sugar free only to digest a sugar alternative. It just isn’t sitting well. Thousands of people are taking action against their timeshare, oftentimes leaving remaining pools of owners with most of the costs.
Share Your Timeshare Maintenance Bill Story.
While it may seem like there is nothing you can do, telling your story can be more valuable than you think. This is why we’re encouraging disgruntled buyers to reach out to us for help. Since March of this year, things have only seemed to grow gloomier for vacation owners.
Communicating this with the general public is important – even if your resort has done an amazing job with COVID-19 relief and your timeshare maintenance bill. All facts are valuable at VOC and we aim to make a difference that’s felt.
Nonetheless, if you’d like to have a conversation with an experienced professional as it relates to your timeshare contract, we’d be more than happy to answer any of your questions. We don’t believe in pressuring callers and provide a straightforward, no-nonsense termination process. If you’d like to learn more about our qualifications, you can proceed to the form below or schedule a free consultation during business hours (MST).