Many people regret ever having entered the world of timeshare and wish they could go back in time and not of signed that dreaded timeshare contract. The majority of people who have ever attended a timeshare sales presentation and pressured into purchasing on the day, leave asking themselves “how did that happen?” At Mercantile Claims we have the opportunity to speak to many timeshare owners who contact us regarding their mis-sold timeshares. They sometimes come to us after years of frustration and after getting no-where themselves with the resort and are at their wits end with anything timeshare related. It is then our job to assess whether they may have a claim against their timeshare resort and in many cases the answer is yes.
So why are there so many people desperate to get rid of their timeshares and is it the right time for you to investigate getting out of your timeshare and could you seek a claim against the resort?
If you like the millions of other timeshare owners were enticed into attending a presentation with the offer of a free prize or holiday etc, you will be familiar with the techniques used by timeshare sales agents. They are always high pressured and can last full days, (not worth the prize) but it is what happens in these meetings and what people are promised that causes the problem. Timeshares, simply put, are not as amazing as the salesperson claims they are. They are expensive and despite what you are convinced to believe, you probably will not use them as much as you think. Timeshares or holiday club schemes and resorts often work on points-based systems nowadays. Moving away from the traditional timeshare model, a lot of resorts have adopted this system, which essentially means members can book an equivalent value vacation to the number of points they are allocated each year. One recurring complaint we hear from owners is that their points did not meet their needs and they could not book the holidays they wanted and were promised for the number of points they purchased. This means members must pay extra or miss out entirely. Very disappointing when you consider a member may have paid several thousands of pounds to buy into the scheme. This type of points-based system is another opportunity for a resort to upsell you, usually to something they say is much better and will suit your needs. However, they convince owners to purchase more points, it is an untrustworthy system which fails a lot of owners who feel there is no alternative but to spend more on points so they can go on holiday when and where they want. The only other alternative is to write the money off completely and abandon your membership. But remember the resort will not refund you and you will still have to continue paying maintenance fees for the length of the entire contract.
The cost of purchasing a timeshare for many people is the main reason for hesitation. They charge large upfront fees; the average is around £15,000 for one week each year during peak season. It will be sold as excellent value for money and if this was a package holiday including food, flights etc and no annual maintenance fees, then perhaps it would be excellent value. Once you do the sums and a bit of online research, you soon realise how little timeshare offers families in comparison to other non-contractually binding options.
The maintenance fees quickly become a financial burden for most people and are the number one reason for people wanting to get rid of their timeshares. A lot of people explain to us that they knew there was an annual fee, but they were made to believe it was minimal. They are often horrified to realise that this fee can escalate and eventually you could be paying over £1,000 and even more each year just in maintenance fees. These fees are uncapped, they are not regulated, and the resorts are free to charge what they like. Despite what a sales agent tells you, the resort can put these fees up at any time (and more than likely will) above the rate of inflation. No wonder this is the number one gripe, even if you do not or can’t use your timeshare, you will still have to pay maintenance fees.
People who enter into timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.
It is also important to remember that purchasing a timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.
The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these types of crimes often goes unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.
If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a timeshare or a ‘holiday points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.