Timeshares Are Not Right For Everyone
According to estimates, like those brought forth by the American Resort Development Association, or ARDA, the timeshare industry is worth nearly $9 billion. No matter how you slice it or dice it, that’s an enormous chunk of change.
Now, it’s important to recognize that much of the timeshare industry’s profits are made on the backs of its existing customer base – a group that is only getting older, and which tends to express legitimate grievances with some of the practices of the major resort developers.
But it’s also important to realize, as writer Sheryl Nance-Nash points out in a recent article for Newsday, that “timeshares have appeal.” On paper, there is certainly an argument that could be made for the timeshare product.
Nance-Nash points to a few of these “perks” in her piece, including the fact that timeshares give consumers the opportunity to take a regular vacation, all while “someone else handles the repairs, insurance and other details” of the property. In that same vein, Nance-Nash points to the idea that a timeshare interval can be rented out, under certain circumstances, and that some resort systems allow you to make exchanges and vacation in different locales, “depending on your agreement.”
But, as she goes on to highlight, the timeshare product is “not right for everyone” – and it certainly comes with a unique, and perhaps troubling, set of “pitfalls.”
As one attorney she speaks to frames it, with a timeshare interest, consumers are largely “trapped with a perpetual liability,” one which oftentimes requires the assistance of a professional to get out from under.
To wit, Nance-Nash goes on to add that:
“Timeshares can be harder to resell than fully-owned properties. There may be rules in your contract restricting sales or giving management companies the right to control or restrict new buyers.”
As she points out, the difficulties with timeshare interests for consumers often start all the way back at the sales presentation, when marketers and salespeople make offers that are “too good to be true” – usually while protected by a contractual clause that gives them, in essence, what our own Michael Finn has called a “license to lie” to consumers!
To Nance-Nash’s keen insights, we would also add the following point: One of the biggest factors pushing consumers away from the timeshare industry is rising costs and fees. Generally, timeshare owners’ annual maintenance fees tend to rise year over year, separate from the rate of inflation. At the same time, owners may be saddled with enormous assessment costs by their resort developer – even if the consumer never used their “home resort!”
As a result of these inescapable fees, many consumers grow to resent their timeshare obligation – particularly when they discover that it may be cheaper and more sustainable to buy a one-off vacation, even at the same resort property.
In all, the Newsday piece is a short but fair assessment of the pros and cons of timeshare ownership, and it’s worth reading; the full text is available here.
Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns.