The Timeshare Trap: 3 Reasons to Watch Out
3 min read
The timeshare industry is no stranger to scams. In fact, a quick Google search will reveal countless examples of consumers who’ve been ripped off in one way or another. Deeded timeshare scams have always been popular, but now the industry has moved toward points-based timeshares, and with that movement has come timeshare points scams. Check out these common timeshare points scams so you know how to protect yourself.
The worst kind of timeshare is the kind you can’t use. Unfortunately, consumers who buy into points-based timeshares and vacation clubs often have trouble using their timeshare points. To use points, owners typically have to make reservations a year or more in advance. Resorts often tell owners they called too late. But even when they call on time, they may find no availability. Which means they’re paying for a vacation they can never take. How can that be legal? Well, when their contract states that reservations were subject to availability. However, nowhere in the contract does it state that the resort must take reasonable measures to ensure availability.
Many resorts are moving from the traditional weeks based timeshares to points based timeshares. Weeks based timeshares allow owners to use their timeshare in a specific resort for a specific week each year. Points based timeshares give owners a set number of points to be used to “pay” for their week. In many cases, resorts encourage weeks-based owners to “convert” to the points system. However, once they do so, they lose their right to their week and now must compete to get their week. In addition, resorts typically charge a fee to convert. And there is no guarantee that the points the consumer receives will be enough to cover the cost of the owner’s original week.
Although owners pay a premium for points, the points themselves have no intrinsic value. Consumers may initially buy the number of points that cover the number of days they want at the resort they like. And maybe at first, that’s what they get. But the resort can change the value of points at any time. And they can also change the cost of units and weeks. So, consumers find themselves needing more points. And more points. And, well, you get the idea.
In addition to the up-front cost of points and the annual maintenance fees to the home resort, points based timeshare owners are also subject to all kinds of hidden fees. And they may find themselves unable to use their points without paying those fees. Let’s say they can’t find availability at their home resort. No problem, says the resort. Use the exchange to exchange points for another location. And of course, please pay this exchange fee. There’s no end to the number of fees the resort can charge. And if owners don’t pay them, they can’t use the points they’ve already paid for. So they end up throwing good money after bad again and again.
Don’t fall for one (or more) of these timeshare points scams. If it’s too late and you’re already the owner of points you can’t use, consider timeshare cancellation. We help consumers like you every day. Contact us for a free consultation.
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