It’s a common knowledge among timeshare owners that timeshare companies employ aggressive tactics to attract new buyers and persuade existing ones to upgrade their memberships. These tactics often involve high-pressure sales techniques that can be overwhelming and difficult to resist.
If you’re not familiar with the process, upgrading your timeshare membership can feel like getting upsold at an auto shop. You may have only wanted an oil change, but now you’re agreeing to replace your air filters and tires, even though you don’t really need to. Salespeople can be very insistent, and it’s easy to get caught up in their pitch.
Fortunately, if you’re tired of being pressured into upgrading your timeshare, there are ways to protect yourself. By learning about the tactics that timeshare companies use, you can avoid falling victim to their schemes. This article will help you understand the tricks they use and empower you to make informed decisions about your timeshare membership.
Is a Timeshare Upgrade Really Necessary?
Recall the moment when you first decided to purchase a timeshare. It’s likely that you were swayed by the attractive images of happy vacationers basking on exotic beaches in places like Cabo San Lucas, Mexico or Miami, Florida. Additionally, the sales presentation may have painted vacation ownership as a convenient and luxurious option.
So, why is it that your initial purchase no longer suffices? Why is your timeshare company pushing you to upgrade?
While it’s true that your timeshare may decrease in value over time as your resort ages and needs updating, you should not be coerced into upgrading. Maintenance fees and special assessments are designed to cover these costs. Your company shouldn’t be pressuring you into a new membership that you don’t really need or want.
Regrettably, many timeshare owners face high-pressure tactics to upgrade their memberships. They may be promised a better experience, or told that an upgrade will replace their old membership or even lower their maintenance fees, when in reality the opposite is true.
Here are some upgrade tactics to be mindful of:
- “Limited time offers”: Timeshare companies often use the urgency of a limited time offer to pressure you into upgrading. They may offer exclusive deals that will expire if you don’t act immediately. Don’t fall for this tactic without doing your research and considering whether the upgrade is truly worth it.
- “Free gifts”: Be wary of any offer that comes with a free gift. While the gift may seem tempting, it’s often a ploy to distract you from the actual terms of the upgrade. Remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and you’ll likely end up paying for the gift through a more expensive upgrade.
- “Trade-in programs”: Some timeshare companies may try to convince you to trade in your current membership for a new one, promising a more luxurious experience or lower fees. However, this is often just a ploy to get you to purchase a more expensive membership.
- “Maintenance fee relief”: You may be promised that an upgrade will lower your maintenance fees, but in reality, fees often increase with each upgrade. Don’t fall for this tactic without understanding the true cost of the upgrade.
Remember, upgrading your timeshare membership is a choice, not an obligation. Don’t let high-pressure sales tactics cloud your judgement. Take the time to do your research and consider whether an upgrade is truly worth it for you.
The Membership Upgrade That Becomes Two Timeshares
Company mergers have been a common tactic used by timeshare companies to push owners into upgrading their membership. For instance, the merger of Hilton Grand Vacations and Diamond Resorts led to the creation of a new membership tier called HGV Max. This membership promised an enhanced vacation experience, but also meant additional charges.
Equity Discounts and Lower Maintenance Fees
Timeshare companies often use the promise of equity rollover as a tactic to get customers to upgrade their memberships. They claim that the equity accrued in your current timeshare will be applied as a discount towards the purchase of a new, more expensive timeshare property. However, this offer is often a scam as the inflated price of the new membership outweighs the value of the equity. This tactic is similar to selling a completely paid-off $300,000 home and using the equity towards a $1 million home of the same size.
In addition to the inflated price of the new membership, customers may also be required to pay upfront fees. Another false promise made by timeshare companies is that upgrading will lead to lower maintenance fees. However, this is rarely the case as customers will still have to pay the current maintenance fees along with additional fees for the new property. It is important to be aware of these deceptive tactics before considering a timeshare upgrade.
While timeshare mergers can offer more vacation destinations, they can also lead to increased costs. It’s crucial to understand the terms and fees associated with any upgrade before committing to it. Some developers even use upgrades as an opportunity to sell additional timeshares, leading to owners being responsible for multiple sets of maintenance fees.
Don’t let high-pressure sales tactics and mergers cloud your judgement. Do your research and carefully consider the costs and benefits of any upgrade before making a decision.
Confusing Contract Jargon
It’s important to read through any new contract thoroughly and make sure you fully understand what you’re signing up for. If the language is confusing or unclear, don’t be afraid to ask questions or consult with a legal professional.
In conclusion, timeshare upgrades are often presented as a way to enhance your vacation experience, but in reality, they can be a costly and unnecessary burden. Developers may use a variety of tactics to pressure or deceive you into upgrading your membership, including equity discounts, lower maintenance fees, and cryptic contract language. It’s important to carefully evaluate any upgrade offer and consider whether it’s truly worth the additional cost. If you do decide to upgrade, make sure you fully understand the terms of the new contract and that it’s not simply another way for the developer to add more fees to your already-existing timeshare ownership.
Don’t Fall for a Timeshare Upgrade
That’s a great point to end on. Remember that if you find yourself in a timeshare scam, there is help available. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a reputable advocacy group like Centerstone Group to see how they can help you get out of your timeshare contract. It’s always better to act sooner rather than later, so don’t wait to take action if you suspect you’ve been the victim of a timeshare scam.