Owners of timeshares are well aware of the high-pressure tactics employed by timeshare companies to attract new buyers, and upgrade existing ones. If you are unfamiliar with the territory, upgrading your timeshare is similar to agreeing to extra services at an auto shop. You may have visited the mechanic to get a simple oil change, but now you are convinced to replace your air filters and change your tires, even if you do not need to do so. Such unnecessary purchases are made under the pressure of the salesperson.
Is a Timeshare Upgrade Really Necessary?
Recall the moment when you decided to buy a timeshare. It’s likely that you were swayed by the glossy pictures of contented individuals enjoying the beaches of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico or Miami, Florida. Moreover, the sales pitch made vacation ownership appear convenient and extravagant.
So, why is your initial purchase no longer satisfactory? Why is your timeshare company acting as though you must get a timeshare upgrade? It’s true that over time, your once-new timeshare may decline in value, and your timeshare resort will inevitably become older and require upgrades. However, this is why maintenance fees and special assessments are collected. Be assured that upgrading your timeshare is never necessary. Your company should not be pressuring you into a new membership that you do not want.
Regrettably, numerous timeshare owners are coerced into upgrading. They are informed that the new membership will provide a better experience and will replace their old membership. Alternatively, they are persuaded that upgrading will reduce their maintenance fees when, in fact, the reverse is true. Here are some of the upgrade tactics to be vigilant about.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your developer’s endless insistence to upgrade your timeshare, you have come to the right place. We will reveal the tactics used by timeshare companies to pressure you into an upgrade and explain why you should not give in. By learning these tricks, you will be able to identify if you are in a timeshare upgrade scam and start planning your exit strategy.
The Membership Upgrade That Becomes Two Timeshares
To entice or force timeshare owners into upgrading their membership, companies have resorted to mergers. One such example is the merger between Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) and Diamond Resorts. HGV is a Florida-based timeshare company that boasts several properties around the globe, while Diamond Resorts is a lower-tier timeshare provider that was acquired by HGV in 2021. The merger gave rise to a new membership tier known as HGV Max, which promises an enhanced vacation experience.
Unlike other HGV memberships such as Hilton Grand Vacation Club and Hilton Grand Vacations Elite, HGV Max allows owners to stay at both Diamond and Hilton Grand Vacation timeshare properties. However, while timeshare mergers may mean access to more vacation destinations, they can also lead to more charges. That is why it is crucial to understand the terms and cost of any upgrade before signing up.
Some timeshare developers view upgrades as an opportunity to persuade owners to purchase an additional timeshare. As a result, many owners make the regrettable decision to upgrade their membership, thinking that it would replace their existing property. However, instead of a replacement, owners are enrolled in a second timeshare and obligated to pay two rounds of maintenance fees.
Equity Discounts and Lower Maintenance Fees
Developers often use the promise of equity rollover to persuade timeshare owners to upgrade. They may claim that the amount you’ve invested in your current property will go towards the purchase of your new membership, just like in real estate. However, this offer is usually a scam, and here’s why.
It’s unlikely that you would sell a fully paid-off $300,000 house and put your equity towards a $1 million house of the same size. Similarly, it doesn’t make sense to do the same thing with a timeshare property. Developers may use the equity discount excuse to get you to pay exorbitant prices for a new membership, even if it comes with better perks and amenities. The prices they want you to pay are rarely proportionate to the actual value.
In addition to the inflated prices, you may also have to pay upfront fees to upgrade your membership. Some developers also claim that upgrading will result in lower maintenance fees, but this is often not the case. Instead, they may simply offer a cheaper new membership that still requires you to pay the maintenance fees you owe on your current property, plus additional fees on the new property. Be aware of these tactics before agreeing to any timeshare upgrades.
Confusing Contract Jargon
Developers often use vague language in timeshare contracts to deceive people into ownership, making it difficult to cancel the timeshare once the rescission period has passed. If you have been a victim of this tactic, be cautious about accepting a timeshare upgrade. Review the new contracts carefully as they may contain concerning clauses. The new agreement should clearly state that your original form of membership or deeded week is being taken back by the developer. If it doesn’t, you are likely being enrolled in an additional timeshare property or membership, resulting in double the membership and maintenance fees. So, before you agree to any upgrade, make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions of the new contract.
Don’t Fall for a Timeshare Upgrade
The lesson we can draw from today’s discussion is that timeshare upgrades often involve developers attempting to sell you another timeshare without your knowledge or to convince you to pay for an expensive membership that offers more stress than value to your timeshare experience. This is yet another reason why you should avoid purchasing a timeshare.
If you have been deceived by a timeshare scam and now own a timeshare you do not want, it is time to contact Centerstone Group. We are a full-service advocacy group that specializes in protecting timeshare owners from scammers who use high-pressure tactics, timeshare resale scams, and unauthorized wire transfers. Our team of timeshare exit specialists is equipped to handle any situation, and we have an A+ rating and 4.78-out-of-5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
If you have been tricked into a timeshare upgrade that is nothing like what you expected, do not hesitate to reach out to us for help with your contract issues. We offer free consultations and are always just a phone call away. Contact us today to see how we can assist you.