Categories for timeshare resale

2018 Starts Off with a Bang as Timeshare Universe Adapts to Major Changes in Travel Industry

Forget January.  February 2018 is a great start for the new year.  All maintenance fees should be paid by now, and if you want to go to your Hawaiian timeshare next winter, now is also the time to make that 12-months-in-advance-of checkin reservation at your home resort.

But it’s also a good month for most timeshare football fans, and they tend to go together, based upon our experience watching NFL games from swim-up pools and hot tubs in all the places that snowbirds escape to during winter months. The Eagles surprise Super Bowl victory over the Patriots was a win for all underdogs, which pretty much takes us all back to our roots as regular people struggling to make our mark in the world.

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The Diamond Chronicles, Part 2: Controversial Sales Tactics Raise Their Head, Again

By Jeff Weir, RedWeek’s Chief Correspondent

Just when you might have thought things were finally settling down at Diamond Resorts, all hell broke loose all over again as 2016 morphed into the New Year. Here’s an update on what’s been happening with Diamond since our first installment of the Diamond Chronicles last September.  There are three major developments, and they’re all related, so we’ll present them in chronological order.  They cover a span of 37 days.

#1:ARIZONA AG ACCEPTS $800,000 FINE FROM DIAMOND TO SETTLE INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGED CONSUMER FRAUD VIOLATIONS

Two days before Christmas, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced the settlement of a long-running investigation into Diamond’s business practices.  Without admitting wrongdoing (a common phrase in legal settlements), Diamond agreed to pay an $800,000 fine to settle the case, including $650,000 that will be made available as restitution to eligible Diamond owners, and $150,000 in court costs to cover the AG’s expenses.  Diamond also agreed to offer a “relinquishment” program that allows qualifying owners to return their timeshares to Diamond with no further financial obligations.

But that’s just the beginning of the story.  As with all things Diamond, the devil is in the details of the AG’s case.  Here are the highpoints, or lowpoints, as publicly announced by the Arizona AG.

The investigation was prompted by hundreds of consumer complaints about deceptive sales practices, oral misrepresentations, and false statements made during sales presentations.  The complaints covered Diamond employees’ statements about annual increases in maintenance fees, the availability of resale and buy-back programs, the timeshare resale market, owners’ ability to rent their intervals, and member discounts on other travel options (including using points to pay maintenance fees).

Here are key snippets (among dozens) from the settlement agreement:

  • “The Arizona Attorney General’s Office alleged that Diamond employees’ actions and statements violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.”
  • “Diamond denies that it has violated the ACFA and enters into this [settlement] solely for the purposes of efficient resolution of the matter.”
  • “At times, certain vacation counselors told some consumers that increases to maintenance fees are minimal, when the DRUSC (Diamond’s U.S. Collection) Association is permitted to increase maintenance fees up to 25 percent per year.”
  • “Some consumers alleged that Diamond failed to honor their requests to cancel the purchase and security agreement within seven calendar days following its execution.”
  • “Some consumers claimed they felt rushed to sign the purchase documents before carefully reviewing them, and that they signed purchase documents with Diamond because they felt it was the only way to extricate themselves from what they perceived as a high-pressure sales situation.”
  • “Certain vacation counselors represented to some consumers, directly or indirectly, that consumers could sell their membership if, at any time, they decided that they no longer wanted their membership.  However, some consumers have been unable to sell their membership on the secondary market.  Certain other consumers have been unable to give their membership away…”
  • “At times, certain vacation counselors represented to some consumers that Diamond would buy back their membership within the first two years after purchase if the consumer became dissatisfied, but the purchase documents disclosed that Diamond does not offer a buy-back program.”
  • “The state believes that some of the actions and statements by certain Diamond employees, including vacation counselors, sales managers, and quality assurance officers, constitute deception, deceptive or unfair business practices, fraud, false pretenses, false promises, misrepresentations, or concealment, suppression or omission of material facts in violation of the ACFA.”

You get the idea.  Many of these types of allegations have dogged Diamond since its inception in 2007, when it bought Sunterra’s bankrupt timeshare business. Now under new ownership and new management (by former Starwood executives), Diamond has been trying to put as much distance between itself and the former regime as possible, but leftover issues, such as the Arizona case, keep undermining Diamond’s bid to rebrand the company as a kinder, gentler version of its old self.

If you’re interested in reading more, go here for the full account of the AG’s case.

As part of the Arizona settlement, Diamond agreed to change or enhance its sales, training, and other business practices to ensure compliance with the ACFA.  It also agreed to adopt a host of measures to improve disclosures to potential buyers during sales presentations.  In essence, most of the measures amount to assurances that Diamond sales personnel will not make oral promises to buyers that deviate from the language of the purchase contracts.  Diamond also promised to have quality assurance officers interview potential buyers prior to signing any contracts to make sure they are aware of the details. Finally, Diamond promised to investigate any complaints of future misconduct within 30 days while launching a Secret Shopper program to monitor its employees’ performance.

The restitution-and-relinquishment programs are a new wrinkle in timeshare conflict regulation that will be closely watched nationwide.  The Arizona relinquishment program will be available to Diamond buyers who purchased timeshares after 2011 and before Jan. 22, 2017.  To be eligible, buyers will also have to file a complaint with the Arizona AG’s office within 120 days AFTER an Arizona court formally approves the settlement (this will happen in late April or early May).  The relinquishment remedy process is very detailed, so potential participants are advised to consult the Arizona AG for complete filing details.  The restitution program, meanwhile, will be administered by the AG’s office for owners who have filed complaints with the agency.  There is no information, at this early stage, about the amount or volume of restitution payments the state will distribute.

FYI, Diamond plans to roll out a national relinquishment (deed-back) program, called Transitions, later this year.  It has been in the works for months and is already being quietly tested, according to Diamond’s public relations firm.

Read more about the Arizona consumer filing requirements.

#2: DIAMOND ANNOUNCES A NATIONAL ‘CONSUMER SERVICE’ PROGRAM PROMOTING ETHICAL SALES PRACTICES, TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY

On Jan. 23rd — exactly 30 days after the Arizona settlement was announced —Diamond publicly introduced a brand new nationwide ethics program, called Clarity, that would govern future sales practices and provide protections for new and existing Diamond customers.  The Diamond press release announcing Clarity included self-serving statements about Diamond’s commitment to customers (“we already excel in customer satisfaction, but we are constantly looking for ways to do even better”) and promised future sales experiences that would provide transparency, accountability, and quality assurances for customers.

While not triggered by the Arizona legal settlement, the Clarity program is a natural follow on, since it covers much of the same issues — but from the company’s point of view.  It also represents an industry first, since no other company has publicly issued anything close to the ethical promises included in Clarity.

“Diamond’s Clarity consists of a series of operational procedures and enhancements, new training and compliance procedures and protocols, and other consumer-friendly changes to the sales process,” Diamond said.  These enhancements will be memorialized in a single document that will be given to potential buyers at the beginning of every sales presentation.

The changes are part of what Diamond calls its new “Promise” to customers.  Promise includes four operational programs that may be noticeable at sales presentations.

Diamond will increase training of all sales personnel, including quarterly training exercises, to ensure compliance with sales procedures. Finally, the company will place Consumer Engagement Observers at sales presentations to monitor interactions and provide feedback “to achieve constant improvement.”

Michael Flaskey, Diamond’s chief operating officer, said Clarity was “revolutionary in its simplicity” and further proof that Diamond is “doubling down on our promise to put our members first.  With the launch of Diamond Clarity, we are continuing to improve industry best practices.”

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the industry’s lobbying arm and promoter of industry best practices, praised Diamond for evaluating its sales practices and attempting to enhance the customer experience for members and potential buyers.

Diamond hired a Los Angeles-based public relations firm to promote Clarity’s commitment to ethical practices. But, in one of its first actions, the firm rejected RedWeek’s request to interview Flaskey.  (The mere fact that Diamond is now using an outside PR firm to deal with the news media, however, is a remarkable change for a company that, during the past two years, has been highly inaccessible and defensive when contacted by RedWeek representatives.)

In addition to the press release, Diamond emailed information about Clarity to existing owners (including this reporter).  The email reads, in part, “As part of this initiative we will strengthen our existing sales policies and procedures and challenge our competitors to adopt similar policies in an effort to raise industry sales standards across the board.”

Here’s an example of Diamond’s promise to members who attend future sales presentations: “We will provide clear, concise and consistent information at our presentations so that you can easily decide whether committing to vacation is the right decision for you and your family.  You will receive a summary of maintenance fees charged to members of the Collection associations for each loyalty level over the past five years.”

View the complete announcement.

On its website, Diamond also promised to fully inform buyers about resale restrictions, using points to pay for travel or maintenance fees, and banking or borrowing points.

As with any major corporate change, Diamond’s Clarity program proceed will succeed or fail based upon its execution and, most importantly, its acceptance by Diamond’s sales teams.  Given Diamond’s reputation as one of the most aggressive timeshare sales companies in the business — and its recent legal issues in Arizona — the internal adoption issues may prove very challenging.

#3: $1 BILLION CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST DIAMOND ALLEGING ELDERLY ABUSE, FRAUD AND FALSE PROMISES TO BUYERS.

On Jan. 29, a mere six days after Diamond rolled out Clarity, an Arizona couple did what a lot of Diamond owners on RedWeek’s forums have long advocated.  Ilona and Lester Thomas Harding, on behalf of themselves and other Diamond owners, filed a $1 billion class-action lawsuit in Nevada’s U.S. District Court, alleging elder abuse among a raft of deceptive sales practices.

The 55-page complaint outlines a litany of supposed malpractices committed by Diamond’s sales people when they upsold the Hardings — not once, not twice, but five times over three years — to buy points they could never use.

Their tale starts on Jan. 29, 2013, in Scottsdale, when the Hardings agreed to attend a Diamond dinner that was advertised as a 90-minute update session for people who owned Monarch timeshares.  According to the lawsuit, “at or around midnight, after six grueling hours, Diamond was finally able to wear down the Hardings and convince them that they needed to purchase a DRI membership — Vacations for Life — to a couple in their 70s.”

Diamond sales reps told the Hardings that “their Monarch membership would eventually become useless.” They trusted the agents, then agreed to buy 10,500 Club points in Diamond’s U.S. Collection.  They received a credit of $22,812 for surrendering their Monarch membership, but still paid $7,895 out of pocket, plus $319 in closing costs.  Their first-year maintenance fees were $1,700.

Shortly after becoming full-fledged members of Diamond’s Club, the Hardings discovered what many other timeshare owners (at any club) have also encountered: they could not get reservations at resorts they wanted in California and Washington.

Despite that disappointment, the Hardings agreed seven months later to attend a second Diamond sales presentation while traveling on DRI points in Orlando.   At the August 2013 presentation, Diamond sales reps encouraged them to buy a “Silver Sampler Package” that included some free nights in Hawaii.  “Even though the Hardings repeatedly told the DRI sales agents that they were not interested in upgrading, DRI’s sales agents were relentless,” the complaint says.

Several hour later, “the Hardings succumbed to the cumulative sales pressure.”  They paid $15,905 to upgrade their membership and get those free Hawaii nights.

In May 2014, the Hardings flew to Hawaii to take advantage of their free lodgings.  Upon arrival, they learned that, in order to use the rooms, they would have to attend another mandatory sales update or pay full price for the rooms.

The Hawaii sales agents encouraged the Hardings to get out of the U.S. Collection and upgrade their membership to the Hawaii Collection so they could become “Silver-level” members of Diamond’s travel club.  After many hours, “the Hardings broke down” and capitulated.  They traded in their U.S. membership and”“paid DRI an additional $10,222 for the purported privilege of joining the Hawaii Collection.”  As a result of the upgrade, their maintenance fees rose to $2,257.

After heading home, the Hardings discovered, again, that they could not book rooms at their favored resorts in California and Washington.  The upgrade did not translate into reservations.

A mere three months later, in August 2014, while traveling in Palm Springs, the Hardings attended another supposedly mandatory owner update because they were not Diamond “Gold-level” members.  There, DRI sales agents “convinced the Hardings that they had made a big mistake by joining the Hawaii Collection” because the Hawaii properties had much higher maintenance fees than the U.S. Collection and “was notorious for making special assessments on its members.” According to the lawsuit, “DRI then offered the Hardings an opportunity to get out of the Hawaii Collection by once again upgrading their membership and rejoining the U.S. Collection at an even higher and more expensive level than they were at previously.”

Despite their prior experiences, the Hardings trusted the sales agents, who represented themselves as licensed real estate brokers “who had a duty to tell the truth and disclose all material facts that a consumer would deem important.”

The outcome?  The Hardings paid $13,905 to upgrade back to the U.S. Collection.

More than a year later, in December 2015, the Hardings agreed to attend one final sales presentation while staying at Diamond’s Polo Towers in Las Vegas. Nevada.  Sales agents offered them a 15,000-point bonus if they upgraded to a full Gold status membership.  One benefit of becoming a Gold member, they were told, is that they would never have to attend another sales presentation.  After seven hours of allegedly intense pressure, the Hardings agreed to buy the upgrade — even though they didn’t have the cash to buy it.  Diamond offered to finance the purchase.  Diamond gave them a $36,120 mortgage (at 12.27 percent interest) and a Barclay credit card to charge the down payment of $5,970.  In addition to agreeing to pay $524 per month, over 10 years, for the mortgage, the Hardings saw their maintenance fees increase one more time — to $5,173.

All told, the Hardings paid Diamond $75,000 for upgrades at five presentations over three years and also surrendered their Monarch membership to Diamond (valued by Diamond at $22,812).  But they still couldn’t get their preferred reservations.

In January 2016, the Hardings, who live off social security payments and modest savings, ran into a financial wall.  They paid their 2016 maintenance fees, but then tried to sell their timeshare points.  They contacted “surrender” companies that wanted to charge them thousands of additional dollars.  Over time, they discovered that there was no viable resale market for their DRI membership.  They also found out, after corresponding with Diamond, that they couldn’t even give it away.

“The Hardings finally realized that they had been scammed by DRI,” the lawsuit says.

Months later, after contacting an attorney, the Hardings sent a formal demand letter to DRI on Oct. 11, 2016 to opt-out of the otherwise automatic arbitration provision in their contract.  They also demanded a 100 percent refund of all their payments to DRI.  Diamond never responded to the demand letter.

The class-action lawsuit claims that Diamond used similar coercive sales tactics to pressure thousands of vulnerable older customers (defined as over 60) to buy Diamond memberships without fully disclosing the risks of ownership, such as the potential inability to make reservations.  The Harding’s decision to “opt-out” of arbitration is crucial to their legal case, because the arbitration clause bans class-actions and private attorney general actions to resolve contract disputes with Diamond.

Predictably, because of the newness of the lawsuit, Diamond offered no substantive comments about it.  The company’s PR representative said, “Diamond Resorts is still looking into the facts surrounding the lawsuit.  Therefore, it has no comment at this time.”

Robert Tarics, one of the Harding’s attorneys, was equally circumspect.

“We are very proud to represent the Hardings and look forward to having our day in court,” Tarics said.  “We’ll answer any questions once the case is over.  However, in general, we hope this case will reform and clean up some of the abuses that exist generally in the timeshare industry.”

The Hardings, meanwhile, are trying to make ends meet in Arizona while their potentially landmark case heads to some preliminary hearings on the arbitration clause and the certification of the class.  As a result of their experience with Diamond, Tom Harding, 74, has had to forsake retirement and go back to work part-time as an electrical inspector.  Mrs. Harding, 76, remains retired from her former work as a licensed substance abuse counselor.

The Harding case, like other class-actions filed before it, faces many legal obstacles, including Diamond’s proven penchant for litigation (see our stories on Tahoe Beach and Ski Club for one example of Diamond’s legal muscle).

However, most timeshare cases like this never get near a courtroom.  Confidential out-of-court timeshare settlements are much more commonplace.  The last timeshare case to go to court, in November 2016, ended with a California jury awarding $20 million in punitive damages to a former Wyndham sales rep who got fired after she blew the whistle on sales tactics she found objectionable.  Less than two weeks later, and one-day after the New York Times ran a long story on the case, Wyndham’s longtime CEO was fired.

RedWeek.com will keep owners posted on all developments in future installments of the Diamond Chronicles.

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Welcome to the New RedWeek!

Have you had a chance to explore the new RedWeek yet? With a sleek new look and improved functionality, the RedWeek redesign is packed with changes that we’re sure will make posting and searching for timeshares easier than ever.

One of the biggest changes is one you’re bound to notice if you’re browsing RedWeek on the go – mobile functionality! Whether you’re viewing from your phone or tablet, the RedWeek site is perfectly adapted to fit your device. No more pinching and zooming, or scrolling sideways to read minuscule text. Vertical scrolling, slick menus and quick loading times ensure that mobile RedWeek is every bit as great as the “full site”!

You might also notice the improvements to our search features when looking for a timeshare. After you type in a general location (think city, state or country), you’ll have the option to refine your search on the results page. You can choose to specify results only within a certain date range or price range. Additionally, you can refine by unit size, RedWeek user rating or even features – perfect if you’re looking for just all-inclusive resorts, or just resorts with internet or a pool, for example! Your results can also be arranged into list or grid views and sorted by user rating.

If you commonly post your own timeshare for rent or sale; rejoice! Our posting creation process has been greatly streamlined. Instead of navigating page by page, your posting is created on a single page with clean, expandable menus guiding you through each step. Photos are easier than ever to upload; drag and drop or upload them in bulk, with the option to review and caption them before your posting goes live.

Certain major pages were brought out of their more obscure locations into the limelight. The Timeshare Companies page – a hotspot for those looking to buy or sell a points system – is no longer just tucked away on the resales page, but rather accessible directly under the “Find a Timeshare” tab near the top of the screen. There’s no need to visit the account page in order to view your postings, either. The “My Postings” link at the top of the page (left of the RedWeek banner) will instantly take you to the page where you can view and edit your postings.

While not active yet, we also have some great community features planned in the coming months! If you encounter any bugs, issues or something that just doesn’t seem to be working right, please let us know at support@redweek.com. We hope you’re every bit as excited as we are to experience the new RedWeek.com!

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The Best-Kept Secret On RedWeek

Are you in the market for a new timeshare? Before beginning your search, let us introduce you to perhaps the best-kept secret on RedWeek: The Bargain Resales section. While most timeshare resales can be considered a “bargain” in comparison to purchases from the developer, the prices on these resales range from $0 to $10, giving a new meaning to “bargain”! The question remains, however, why are these resales so inexpensive, and what does that mean for buyers? Read on to learn more about our Bargain Resales section…

It’s not uncommon for timeshare owners to need to back out of their timeshare due to lifestyle or financial difficulties. Oftentimes, timeshares might be purchased as spur-of-the-moment decisions that the owner might have been unprepared for. A sudden change in life can also prompt an owner to release their timeshare – the loss of a job, retirement or moving are all reasons we’ve seen cited. In these scenarios, the owner might be uninterested in recouping some of their investment – their goal is to unload the timeshare quickly.
Just because the listed price is $0 doesn’t mean the resale is entirely free of costs – there will be maintenance fees, the major reason many owners need to sell. Maintenance fees are clearly listed on the at-a-glance description of each posting. While the prices of the Bargain Resales are alluring, you’ll want to be sure the maintenance fees and the associated travel costs of the resort in question (think airfare, activities, dining and shopping) fit your budget.

Our Bargain Resales page is in a constant state of flux as new postings are added and sold postings are removed. Consistently desirable resorts have been known to pop up fast, and are typically sold within the mere span of a day. Expansive units are also very commonly spotted – 2 bedroom/2 bathroom units are abundant, and even 3 bedroom units crop up every so often. If you’re on the hunt for a unit in a particularly desirable area, be sure to bookmark the page or subscribe to the RSS feed so you’ll be the first to know!

The Bargain Resales page allows members to purchase their own timeshare for virtually zero initial investment. As with any timeshare purchase, however, just be sure that the prolonged fees are within your budget (timeshares are very rarely an “investment” purchase!) and you can save, quite literally, thousands!

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All You Need to Know About Timeshare Tours

Timeshare tours have something of a reputation in the industry – and it’s not always a good one. Pushy salespeople and underhanded tactics are the expectation, but timeshare tours don’t have to be a cringe-inducing nightmare; they can also be a fantastic learning experience, and a way to get a feel for the resort before taking the plunge.

Most timeshare tours tend to be pretty straightforward, and run anywhere from seventy minutes to about two hours. After being tempted in by perks and gifts, you’ll likely sit through a small presentation that may or may not include other participants. You’ll learn a bit about the company, the resorts and how their ownership operates. Many times, this part is made to be as comfortable as possible – snacks and drinks might be set out, and the atmosphere is very informal. Informational packets, books and pamphlets are typically distributed.

The tour itself is very much the “hook”. Participants are led around the property and shown the highlights, as well as model units that mimic the resort’s available units. Two bedroom units tend to be the standard – a single two bedroom lock-off unit can also used to paint a picture of a standard studio unit as well as a one bedroom unit. You are usually free to wander about and get a feel for the unit.

There’s one final step to the standard tour as participants are led from the model units back to the presentation room. This is where timeshare tours tend to get their bad rap. While many of the larger and well-regarded resort developers are gentler in their approach, smaller resorts might get very pushy in trying to hook buyers. Of course, the guides can’t make you purchase anything, and this it the point where participants will want to ask any questions they might have before making a retreat. A polite but firm explanation can go a long way – you’ll think about it after your vacation or perhaps you need to discuss it with your family. Any refusal will likely be met with resistance, but you need to stick to your guns.

If you’re not aware of how the timeshare industry operates, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the tours. After all, the tour guide explains, this single purchase can change how you vacation, and you’ll be able to visit resort all around the world! Before taking the plunge and signing those papers, be sure to do your own research. Timeshare resales can often be purchased at a mere fraction of the price, and owners are inclined to be much more honest about what the ownership entails. Some ownership programs, however, do offer extra perks and incentives for those who purchase directly from them, and it’s certainly worth researching these to see if they’re worth the premium for your family.

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Buying a Timeshare – Resale or Developer?

Are you thinking about taking the plunge and becoming an owner at your favorite resort? Before signing the paperwork, there’s a few decisions that warrant serious thought. First and foremost, do you buy straight from the resort or consider a by-owner resale? There are camps in favor of both options, and certainly the different sale methods each have their own advantages and disadvantages; but which is right for you?

Resort developers do all in their power to make the promise of ownership exciting. Those tours and presentations that are so notorious in the timeshare industry are intended to pump you up and paint a picture of how luxurious ownership at that particular resort can be. Developers will often further lure in buyers with promises of gifts and extra freebies. These can range from the underwhelming – tote bags or a bottle of wine – to the extravagant, like park tickets or spa trips. Sometimes, a purchase isn’t necessary; just arriving and sitting out the presentation is enough to qualify for the extras.

Many of the larger resorts also tend to include extra perks, programs and benefits to owners who purchase a “new” timeshare directly from them. These sorts of perks were implemented to directly combat the blossoming resale market and can be very tempting. Exclusive treatment can make your vacation more enjoyable and make you feel amazing, but can it offset the price markup that we so often see in direct sales?

Though resort developers try to keep the resale market under wraps, it continues to grow and flourish as time goes on. It’s not hard to see why; the sheer price difference between resale and direct sale is staggering. It’s not uncommon to see a resort-priced ownership of $12,000 on the resale market for a much more affordable $3,000. This phenomenon is often compared to the difference between buying a new and a used car. New cars come at high prices, while a lightly-used car hits the market at a far lower price even if it can rival the new car in terms of condition. The moment the product has been signed over and used – be it car or timeshare – the value drops significantly.

This makes resales quite the steal for new timeshare buyers. Unlike a car, “used” resale timeshares rarely deteriorate in condition as time goes on – the resort staff still takes care of upkeep and maintenance. Furthermore, private owners also tend to be a bit more upfront about what buyers will be receiving. They don’t rely on exciting and hyping the buyer to secure a sale – the price does that for them.

Ultimately, the decision falls upon one conflict – price versus convenience. Resales are undoubtedly more affordable for the majority of potential buyers, and a much more straightforward approach with the owner eliminates much of the post-sales regret that all too many new owners experience after walking away from the resort. If price is truly no object, the direct sale approach can secure you quite a few benefits to make the deal a bit sweeter.

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ARDA Announces “The Timeshare Effect”

The Timeshare Effect initiative, a look at how timeshare vacations have a positive effect on lifestyle, family memories, and finances, is inspired by the “Travel Effect,” a campaign by the U.S. Travel Association.

The Timeshare Effect was developed by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) to highlight the link between timeshare vacations and their effect on owners.

“We hear from our owners every day about how their lives have changed because of their timeshare ownership,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA.

“We wanted to capture this anecdotal sentiment with hard facts for other would-be timeshare owners,” Nusbaum said.

The Timeshare Effect covers three areas: finances, lifestyle, and family.

1. Financial
On the financial side, it’s clear that owning a timeshare enables families to take annual vacations for much less than what they would pay for a traditional hotel.

On average you can save 50% to 60% of what you would normally pay for a vacation. And your money stretches farther when you consider that instead of staying in a cramped hotel room you will be staying in condo-like accommodations at luxury resorts.

The timeshare kitchen alone is a big help in saving money since you don’t have to budget in the huge cost of eating out for three meals a day.

2. Lifestyle 
In addition to the financial savings, owning a timeshare has significant effects on lifestyle.

Since timeshare owners have essentially prepaid for their annual vacation, they are much more likely to take that vacation, which leads to many health and wellness benefits.

Owners enjoy beautiful resorts in great locations that offer flexibility and space for everyone.

3. Family Memories 
And there is nothing better than a regular vacation to create lifelong family memories.

Three out of four adults over 55 say they still have vivid memories of their childhood vacations, and 55 percent of adults want to create similar memories for their children and grandchildren.

A whopping 93 percent of kids say that vacations mean a chance to spend quality time with their parents. When traveling with grandparents, 60% of kids say it brings them closer together.

See The Timeshare Effect infographic for more fun information.

Consider buying a timeshare resale. You can also vacation in a timeshare rental first, to see how timeshare vacations can have a positive effect on your family’s vacation finances, lifestyle and family memories.

Source: ARDA
* All statistics from U.S. Travel’s Travel Effect

Photo Credit: sanddollarestate.com

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Buying Disney Vacation Club – What are “Right of First Refusal” and “Lease Terms?”

The Ask RedWeek question in the May RedWeek Newsletter gives insight into the legal side of purchasing a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) membership.

I’m thinking of buying a DVC membership, but I don’t understand the Right of First Refusal, and the Limited Right to Use clauses. Can Disney buy the timeshare out from under me? Will I lose the timeshare in 30 years and have nothing left? 

The simple answers to your questions are “Yes” and “Yes”. But you are right to ensure you thoroughly understand what you are buying, and how the purchase process works, before making an offer.

1. The Right of First Refusal.
This gives Disney the option to buy back any timeshare at the sales price that has been agreed upon by the owner and buyer. Disney has the right of first refusal on all of their properties, and DVC memberships.

Once the buyer and seller sign a sales contract, the closing company must submit the right of first refusal paperwork to Disney. Disney then has 30 days to decide if they will waive their right to purchase the timeshare, and let the sale proceed.

If they exercise their right to refuse the sale, then Disney becomes the buyer under the same terms and conditions outlined in the original contract.

2. Limited Right to Use Clause. 
This is a DVC lease-hold deed. DVC memberships are essentially long-term leases where you may use the property for the term outlined in the ownership paperwork.

If an owner purchased a 40-year lease, and 10 years later decided to sell the lease then the new owner would have use of the timeshare for the duration left on the lease, which in this case would be 30 years.

At the end of that the term, Disney may offer an extension for a fee, but there are no guarantees this will happen. You would need to purchase it knowing that your ownership could expire at the end of the lease.

Take a look at Disney Vacation Club resales listed by RedWeek members.

This month’s answer comes from Janet Erimie, owner of Timeshare Resale Partners.

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RedWeek.com Launches Full-Service Timeshare Resale Program

RedWeek.com issued a press release this week announcing the addition of its full-service timeshare resales option to its growing list of product offerings. 

Working in conjunction with a licensed real estate brokerage, RedWeek is able to provide owners with the knowledge of licensed agents and exposure to its nearly 2 million registered users. 

The RedWeek.com full-service resale program is a departure from the site’s traditional do-it-yourself method. Owners who are not Internet savvy, or who simply do not have time to manage the sale of their timeshare, can now turn to RedWeek.com for their resale needs.

The process to register for a full-service resale is simple. Timeshare owners need only complete an online form and submit their one-time payment of $125 for a 12 month resale posting. Once the form and payment are submitted, a dedicated RedWeek agent will verify the ownership information with the resort, create the resale posting, and field inquiries from interested buyers.

Once a sale is negotiated by a licensed real estate agent, the agent will then manage the entire closing including contracts, estoppels, coordination with the closing company, and deed transfer.

Only after a sale is complete will RedWeek collect a marketing fee of 3% or $399, whichever is greater.

The next phase of the RedWeek.com full-service resales offering is the launch within the next few months of a dedicated toll-free number. The addition of phone support will allow timeshare owners with limited computer knowledge to advertise their timeshare resale on RedWeek, and also provide additional real-time support to existing full-service posters that wish to modify their advertisement or ask questions.

Learn more about RedWeek.com and timesharing.

About RedWeek.com:
RedWeek.com is a member-supported marketplace for timeshare rentals and resales. You can find reviews, ratings, prices, availability, full-service exchange, and complete resort descriptions for all timeshare resorts to make vacation selection easier.

Boasting an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, RedWeek has more than 1.5 million registered users and includes 5,000 timeshare resorts worldwide. RedWeek® is a registered trademark of RedWeek, Inc.

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Have You Heard of RedWeek’s Full-Service Timeshare Resale Option?

In this day and age reselling your timeshare can be complicated. If you’ve decided you could use some help take a look at our Full-Service Timeshare Resale option.

RedWeek now offers a full-service posting option where we handle the entire process: creating your posting, fielding inquiries, and ensuring a smooth, legal transfer.

What is Included?

  • Help identifying current market prices for your unit 
  • A review of your ownership so your posting is accurate 
  • Fielding inquiries from interested buyers 
  • Negotiating a final sale price 
  • Handling the entire closing: coordination among the resort, closing agent, buyer, and you 
  • Our partner, Fidelity Real Estate Agency (a licensed broker), handles all tasks where licensing is required 

What Does it Cost? 

  • $125 resale posting 
  • On successful sale: $399.00 or 3% of resale price (whichever is greater) 

How Do You Get Started? Fill out the forms that give us:

  • Ownership Information 
  • Unit Information 
  • Contact Information 

Questions? Send them to support@redweek(dot)com and we’ll be happy to help.

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