Our clients come to us, more often than not, because they simply wish to look for answers about their timeshare options. They may have had the timeshare for not very long at all, whereas others have been taking their holidays annually for many years, often perfectly happily. Now, however, they’ve decided that it is time to move on. This may be for financial reasons, due to a change of circumstances, a dissatisfaction with the resort or service they are receiving, or something else entirely.
They have usually already contacted their resort about cancelling timeshare, only to be told that they are contractually obliged to continue, regardless of their reasons for wishing to leave timeshare. A lot of resorts are keeping timeshare owners bound into onerous, long terms contracts with undesirable levels of liability which, clearly, is an issue of fairness.
One of the most common things that we find, when assessing the contracts of our clients, is the ‘in perpetuity’ clause. This means that their contract is set to continue, quite literally, forever. This, too, is an issue of fairness, particularly when you consider that the age bracket of long-term timeshare owners now is such that they’re wanting to plan their future and don’t want to pass on debts and liabilities, a pertinent issue that has been quite well publicized.
All of this is obviously unacceptable, a matter of ethics and morality as much as a legal problem. So why do they do timeshare companies do it? Why are they making it so very difficult for their customers?, quite often vulnerable individuals, to give back a timeshare and move on.
The crux of the problem is the fact that timeshare has become progressively harder and harder to sell in recent years. This is partly down to the profusion of bad press that timeshare has received, in many cases not without good reason. It’s also a matter of affordability and of tighter legal constraints on timeshare companies, especially in Spain, since rulings were introduced to protect consumers.
Timeshare companies rely on the annual maintenance fees gathered from the existing client base in order to earn enough to keep the resort running and make a profit. As it is now harder than ever to bring in new sales (where the lump sum initial payments come in to keep the company buoyant) and existing owners are passing away or using legal avenues to get out of timeshare, the timeshare companies have fewer overall owners to contribute to the maintenance fee ‘pot’.
How time has changed
Over the last several years, Timeshare companies have found themselves unable to resell relinquished units. They were in a position with too many empty units. With no maintenance fees coming in, the resort is left responsible for its own unsold stock. They desperately need income from maintenance fees to stay afloat and for the upkeep of the resort itself.
No longer confident in their ability to sell timeshare units, the only avenue open to them was to find any way they could to hold onto those vital existing owners. And, overwhelmingly, the solution they landed on was to simply refuse to let those owners give back their timeshare.
Even though the timeshare resorts know it’s not good PR to not let people out of their timeshares they can’t afford to just let people go. Desperate times, they figure, call for desperate measures. It becomes an issue of self-preservation, and one that damages their customers, their own reputation and the industry at large.
Fairness and Balance
Clearly, it’s not all plain sailing for the timeshare companies either. Nonetheless, this doesn’t excuse them from their duty of care to their members. That’s why we’re here, to try and redress that fairness. We’re not anti-timeshare at all, in fact. We just want to make sure that people are treated fairly. There are still many people who are perfectly happy with their timeshares to this day, and were the system to function as it should, we’re certain many more would be happy too.
One of the key aspects of good business is to move with the times. There is no disputing that the market has changed, for a number of reasons. Innovation is the only way that a business, in any industry, can hope to survive the changing nature of the marketplace and the evolving demands of consumers. Unfortunately, by and large, the timeshare industry is failing to do that. This is something that causes us much concern, being as we are true believers in the timeshare model as it should be.
The work we do, to gain justice for those treated unfairly by timeshare companies, is inexorably linked to this. It’s our hope that timeshare companies will see the actions being taken and the way that laws are changing in favour of owners as a wake-up call. We see these changes as a ripe opportunity to offer better service and a product that works for the next generation of potential timeshare owners.
We do have sympathy for the plight of these timeshare companies, though we remain convinced that a lot of the time the problems they are facing are sadly self-created and self-perpetuating. At the end of the day, our loyalties lie with the customers, those who have the power to make or break the industry by holding up a mirror to their own practices.
It is essential that we work together, the timeshare owners, Timeshare.lawyer and – in a way – the timeshare companies themselves, to rid the industry of malevolent players and those who undermine the product and mistreat their paying customers.
If you have any questions about your timeshare ownership we are happy to assist you. You can call us on 0800 0239 032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.