A retired couple from Maine, USA say they spent thousands on a timeshare they have not been able to use. It’s the same old story, an unsuspecting family spend their hard earned money in the hope of enjoying wonderful holidays promised to them by unscrupulous sales reps. By the time the ink is dry on their contracts, the disappointment begins.
The couple from Maine, purchased their timeshare in 2013 from InnSeason Resorts, who run an affiliation with RCI. They were promised a membership which would allow them to trade in their timeshare unit and use it to travel to resorts within the RCI portfolio. The timeshare had promised to deliver them dream vacations. For only $5,000 they could own a week every other year, but could exchange this for vacations at other resorts. It all sounded fantastic, and the range of resorts the sales rep showed them was obviously very appealing. It could have been a great way to visit different places for a fraction of the actual cost.
The trouble with their timeshare began when they tried to book their first vacation, they contacted the recommended travel agent, as instructed, and were told that InnSeason Resorts and their affiliate RCI only had a small amount of availability. In fact every time they tried to use their timeshare, they found there wasn’t anything available to them. In the last five years of ownership the couple have managed to book one vacation, but have spent hundreds of dollars in maintenance fees. The couple have now hired a lawyer to help them get out of their contract with the Resort and RCI.
Why do so many owners have trouble booking?
Well, you won’t be told this by your sales rep, but generally only the very high end or expensive vacation memberships or initial buy-in will offer you the sort of resorts and locations you were initially promised. This means you will never be able to recover the initial buy-in price, you will be locked into certain types of locations and accommodations and when and where you want them will also be restricted. This is almost certainly a way of the resort or vacation ownership company to upsell you to a new pricier membership. It relies wholey on the member wanting more from their membership, this provides the resort another opportunity to sell you more products.
The Better Business Bureau, the US’s equivalent to Trading Standards, said they received 1,709 complaints nationwide from timeshare owners during 2017 with 2018 set to increase on these numbers. The customer advocacy group, says most of the complaints they receive are about mis-selling.
Why are there so many unhappy timeshare owners?
Some timeshare owners know instantly they have made a mistake, and luckily for some they manage to get out within the cooling off period which can vary between 5 – 14 days, however, in some cases, is non-existent.
After this cooling-off period, for most owners, there is no easy way to get rid of a timeshare, the industry as a whole has not successfully managed to provide owners with a suitable exit procedure. Even owners who experience ill health and are unable to travel find it nearly impossible to terminate their contracts.
Vacations have become a chore: People work hard every day to be able to take a holiday once or maybe twice a year, but for timeshare and vacation club members this comes with strings attached. Have you paid your annual maintenance fees, is the resort you want to visit all booked up, do you have enough points to go where you want to go?
The cost is becoming out of control: Maintenance fees have increased, yet again, and there seems to be no justification for this. If you do the math, it just doesn’t add up. You’re paying more for your timeshare than if you bought a package holiday, which would give you greater choice. In addition, your resort might be hounding you to attend another presentation.
You feel deceived: If you feel like you were lied to when buying your timeshare it can make your experience a negative one. You were probably promised flexibility, which you have yet to experience and the whole timeshare experience seems like a trap you fell into.
People who enter into Timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of Timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with Timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any Timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.
It is also important to remember that purchasing a Timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.
The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these type of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society. Criminal convictions for these crimes are few and far between.
If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.