Timeshares are not typically good gifts
The Sacramento Bee’s article titled “‘Amazing views!’ CapRadio’s Tahoe timeshare details revealed — but did anyone stay there?” provides a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of timeshare gifts. This story revolves around a one-bedroom condo at the Olympic Village Inn, a Lake Tahoe-area timeshare property, which was donated to the Capital Public Radio Endowment in 2016. Let’s look closer at why some feel timeshare are not typically good gifts.
The Challenges of Managing a Timeshare Gift
The timeshare, which offered a week annually at the resort, presented several challenges for CapRadio. First, the property had not been used because the company that manages the resort was never informed of the quitclaim deed that gifted the property to the endowment. Shirlee Tully, CapRadio’s former chief development and brand officer, expressed concerns about the practicality of the timeshare in an email:
“Timeshares are not typically good gifts! At any rate, we have it, so we may well make use of it — or sell it.”
Financial Burdens and Limited Use
The timeshare’s annual maintenance fees, which amounted to about $1,000, coupled with its limited availability (only one week a year during the summer season), made it a less-than-ideal asset. Despite initial hopes of using it for donor engagement or as an employee benefit, the timeshare remained largely unused.
A Disappointing Reality for CapRadio
While CapRadio officials encountered a substandard property on their visit, it’s important to note that this experience isn’t universally representative of timeshares. Many timeshares are professionally managed, offering unique and enjoyable experiences. Shirlee Tully’s description of the property as “very subpar” and “a very neglected property” reflects a specific instance rather than the broader timeshare industry. It’s crucial to recognize that while some timeshares may have hidden costs and fail to meet expectations, others may provide value and better vacation experiences.
In-Depth Consideration of Timeshares as Gifts
The CapRadio timeshare experience serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting why timeshares can often be unsuitable as gifts. The intricate financial commitments, the specific nature of their use, and the possibility of falling short of expectations position timeshares as a complex choice for gifting. It’s crucial to recognize that these properties come with ongoing costs such as maintenance fees and potential special assessments, which might not align with the recipient’s financial situation or lifestyle needs.
Additionally, the limited personal utility inherent in timeshares — such as fixed vacation dates or locations — may not cater to everyone’s preferences or circumstances. The risk of dissatisfaction is heightened if the property does not meet the expected standards of upkeep and amenities, as was the case with the CapRadio timeshare.
Moreover, without a comprehensive understanding of how timeshares operate, they can rapidly turn into a burden for a secondary owner. The transfer of ownership does not automatically equate to an escape from the associated responsibilities and costs. This complexity often makes timeshares an impractical choice for a gift, especially if the recipient is not fully prepared or informed about the nuances of timeshare ownership.
Therefore, it’s imperative to conduct a detailed assessment of the practicality and value of a timeshare before deciding to accept or gift one. Prospective givers or receivers should thoroughly research the specific timeshare’s management, financial obligations, and use conditions to ensure it aligns with their expectations and capabilities. This diligent approach can help in making an informed decision, potentially averting the complications and disappointments as exemplified in the CapRadio incident.
This article is for information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Always seek counsel from a qualified professional before making any decisions related to timeshare gifts.
Led by timeshare attorneys J. Andrew Meyer and Michael D. Finn with over 75 years of combined legal experience. The Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in Timeshare Law. If you have a timeshare related issue and need to discuss your individual situation, please contact our office for a free consultation. In addition, to learn more on timeshare gifts, check out our Twitter page