Acknowledging the notoriety of timeshare companies for utilizing high-pressure tactics to attract new buyers and induce them into buying upgrades is a necessary step for any timeshare owner. The salesperson’s insistence on unnecessary upgrades is akin to an auto mechanic persuading a customer to pay for additional services beyond the required oil change. If you’re exhausted from your timeshare developer’s persistent push to upgrade, read on. This article will reveal the methods used by timeshare companies to induce you to upgrade and explain why it’s not advisable to succumb to their tactics. By becoming aware of these tactics, you can identify if you’ve been ensnared in a timeshare membership upgrade scam and strategize a way out of it.
Is a Timeshare Upgrade Really Necessary?
Recall the moment when you first made the decision to purchase a timeshare. You were likely swayed by glossy images of contented individuals lounging on the beaches of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, or Miami, Florida. Moreover, the sales presentation likely presented vacation ownership as a convenient and lavish experience.
So, why is it that your initial purchase is no longer adequate? Why is your timeshare company insisting that you acquire a timeshare upgrade? While it’s true that your once-new timeshare may depreciate over time and require updates, this is what maintenance fees and special assessments are intended for. It’s crucial to note that you never actually need to upgrade your timeshare, and your company shouldn’t compel you to purchase a new membership that you don’t desire.
Regrettably, several timeshare owners are pressured to upgrade. They’re informed that the new membership will provide a superior experience and will replace their existing one. Alternatively, they’re convinced that upgrading will reduce their maintenance fees, when the opposite is true. Here are some upgrade tactics that you must be vigilant about.
The Membership Upgrade That Becomes Two Timeshares
Timeshare company mergers often play a significant role in persuading or even pressuring timeshare owners to upgrade their membership. One such example is the merger between Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) and Diamond Resorts. HGV is a highly profitable Florida-based timeshare company that owns numerous properties worldwide, while Diamond Resorts is a lower-tier provider that HGV acquired in 2021. As a result of this merger, a new membership tier called HGV Max was introduced, which supposedly enhances the vacation experience for owners of both companies.
While HGV is known for offering a variety of membership options, such as the Hilton Grand Vacation Club and Hilton Grand Vacations Elite, HGV Max is unique. It allows members to stay at both Diamond and Hilton Grand Vacation properties. However, when companies merge, they often create new membership tiers, which can result in additional charges. It’s crucial to understand the costs and commitments associated with any upgrade before agreeing to it.
Some developers view timeshare upgrades as an opportunity to sell a second timeshare, and unfortunately, many owners end up making this costly mistake. Sales representatives from various companies may claim that the upgraded membership replaces the old property, but in reality, the customer is signed up for a second timeshare and must pay two rounds of maintenance fees. Be sure to carefully consider any upgrade offers and understand the full financial impact before making a decision.
Equity Discounts and Lower Maintenance Fees
Timeshare developers often employ manipulative tactics to convince you to upgrade your timeshare, such as offering the false promise that the equity in your current timeshare will roll over. This tactic is similar to real estate purchases, where the amount you’ve invested over the years goes towards the price of a new home. However, this offer is a scam because you would not sell a completely paid-off $300,000 home to put your equity towards a $1 million home of the same size. Despite the slightly better perks and amenities that come with a new timeshare membership, the prices that timeshare companies charge are rarely proportional to the value, and you may also have to pay upfront fees in addition to the timeshare cost. Timeshare companies also claim that upgrading will lower your maintenance fees. However, this claim is misleading because what they really mean is that your new membership is going to be cheaper than your current one, and you’ll still have to pay the maintenance fees you owe now, plus fees on a new property that you won’t know about until it’s too late to cancel.
Confusing Contract Jargon
Developers often use confusing language in timeshare contracts to deceive people into ownership, making it difficult to cancel after the rescission period. Falling for this tactic once does not mean you should be tricked again by a timeshare upgrade.
Be vigilant when reviewing any new contracts that come with upgraded memberships as they may contain deceptive clauses. The contract must explicitly state that the original membership or deeded week is being replaced or taken back by the developer. Failure to mention this may indicate that you are being enrolled in an additional timeshare, resulting in double the membership and maintenance fees. This is not an upgrade but rather an additional financial burden imposed by the developer.
Don’t Fall for a Timeshare Upgrade
Today’s lesson has shown us that timeshare upgrades are often a ploy by developers to sell you another timeshare or to charge you more for a membership that provides little value. This is just one of many reasons why you should avoid timeshare purchases altogether.
However, what can you do if you’ve already been scammed into owning an unwanted timeshare? If you’ve been pressured or deceived into such a situation, don’t hesitate to contact the Centerstone Group.
The Centerstone Group is a comprehensive advocacy organization that specializes in protecting timeshare owners from scammers. Our team of timeshare exit specialists is well-equipped to handle high-pressure tactics, timeshare resale scams, and unauthorized wire transfers. With an A+ rating and a 4.78-out-of-5-star rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), we are confident in our ability to assist you.
If you’ve been misled by a developer and tricked into a timeshare upgrade that wasn’t what you agreed to, please contact us for a free consultation. Our team is just a phone call away, and we’re ready to help resolve any contract issues you may be experiencing.