Timeshare companies are notorious for using high-pressure tactics to attract new buyers and get them to upgrade their membership. Comparing a timeshare upgrade to getting unnecessary services at an auto shop, it’s easy to fall for the salesperson’s insistence to purchase more than you actually need. However, if you’re tired of being constantly pressured to upgrade your timeshare, don’t fall for their tricks. By understanding the tactics they use, you can recognize if you’ve been caught in a timeshare upgrade scam and begin planning a way out.
Is a Timeshare Upgrade Really Necessary?
Recall the moment when you made the decision to purchase a timeshare. It’s likely that the glossy images of content individuals on the beaches of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, or Miami, Florida, and the sales presentation that depicted vacation ownership as convenient and luxurious, influenced you.
So, why is your initial purchase no longer satisfactory? Why is your timeshare company insisting that you need to obtain a timeshare upgrade?
While it’s true that your timeshare resort may lose its value over time and require updates, that is what maintenance fees and special assessments are for. You should not feel obligated to upgrade your timeshare, and your company should not be pressuring you to enroll in a new membership that you do not want.
Unfortunately, many timeshare owners feel compelled to upgrade. They may be told that the new membership will provide a superior experience and replace their old membership, or they may be convinced that upgrading will result in lower maintenance fees when the opposite is true.
Be wary of the following upgrade tactics.
The Membership Upgrade That Becomes Two Timeshares
The merger of timeshare companies has been a major factor in persuading and sometimes coercing timeshare owners into upgrading their membership. A prime example of this is the merger between Hilton Grand Vacations and Diamond Resorts.
Hilton Grand Vacations is a well-established timeshare company based in Florida, which owns hundreds of properties worldwide. Diamond Resorts, on the other hand, is a lower-tier timeshare provider that was acquired by HGV in 2021. The merger resulted in the creation of a new membership type called HGV Max, which claims to offer an enhanced vacation experience to owners of both companies.
Hilton Grand Vacations already has multiple membership types, such as Hilton Grand Vacation Club and Hilton Grand Vacations Elite, but HGV Max is unique in that it allows members to stay at both Diamond and Hilton Grand Vacation timeshare properties.
This merger exemplifies how the combination of two companies often results in the creation of new membership tiers. However, while timeshare mergers can offer access to more vacation destinations, they can also lead to higher charges. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the terms and fees associated with any upgrade before committing to it.
Some timeshare developers view upgrades as an opportunity to sell a second timeshare to customers. Unfortunately, many timeshare owners end up making this costly mistake. Sales representatives from various companies convince owners that their upgraded membership will replace their old property, but in reality, they are signing up for an additional timeshare and are responsible for paying maintenance fees for both.
Equity Discounts and Lower Maintenance Fees
Developers often use a misleading tactic to pressure timeshare owners into upgrading by offering an equity roll-over. They may claim that the amount you have invested in your current timeshare will be applied to the purchase price of a new, higher-value property, similar to how equity works in real estate. However, this offer is often a scam.
In reality, timeshare companies use the equity discount excuse to charge exorbitant prices for new memberships, even if the new property is of the same size and quality as the old one. They may also require upfront fees to upgrade, in addition to the cost of the new timeshare. While they may promise lower maintenance fees with an upgrade, this is often misleading as the new membership may actually be cheaper, but still require you to pay maintenance fees on both properties. It’s crucial to be aware of these tactics to avoid being taken advantage of when considering a timeshare upgrade.
Confusing Contract Jargon
Timeshare developers often use unclear and ambiguous language in their contracts to deceive people into purchasing timeshares. These contracts contain various misleading clauses that make it challenging to cancel the timeshare once the rescission period has passed. Therefore, if you have already fallen for this tactic, be cautious when offered a timeshare upgrade.
Carefully scrutinize any new contracts that accompany upgraded memberships as they may be filled with warning signs. The upgraded contract should state that your original form of membership or deeded week is being returned to the developer. If this is not mentioned in the contract, it is highly likely that you are being enrolled in an additional timeshare property or membership, resulting in you being responsible for double the membership and maintenance fees. This is not an upgrade but an additional financial burden being imposed on you by the developer.
Don’t Fall for a Timeshare Upgrade
From what we’ve discussed, it’s evident that timeshare upgrades are often just a ploy by developers to have customers buy another timeshare without their knowledge. It’s also an attempt to have them pay for a more expensive membership that adds more stress than value to their timeshare experience. This is one of many reasons why buying a timeshare is not recommended.
If you’ve already found yourself in a timeshare scam like this, it’s important to seek help. Centerstone Group is a comprehensive advocacy group that specializes in protecting timeshare owners from scams. Our team of timeshare exit specialists is experienced in dealing with high-pressure tactics, timeshare resale scams, and unauthorized wire transfers. We have an A+ rating and 4.78 out of 5 stars on Better Business Bureau (BBB).
If you’ve been misled by your developer and trapped into an undesirable timeshare upgrade, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We’re just a phone call away and can help you resolve any contract issues.
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