Guest Post-Timeshare Thoughts
July 13, 2017
Some great insights here. Thoughts?
What I have started to think when it comes to timeshare ownership and the future of the industry...
Everyone knows this industry is not well regulated (but obviously needs to be). Some of the actions and activities of individuals and companies that gets reported in the timeshare world would result in major fines and possibly prison sentences in other better regulated industries.
It appears the industry has long depended on being "self regulating." It has not done a great job of that but it seems there have always been just enough legit companies that seem to try and deliver a quality product and quality customer experience at the same time they balance trying to make a healthy profit.
I think of a brand like Disney first and foremost. Also while I know a company like Marriott has their critics, in all my years traveling and staying at their hotel and timeshare properties I always got the impression they were serious about fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities and providing top shelf customer service and a quality customer experience. I am sure there are other good examples.
In the past the bad eggs of the industry (the industry´s worst examples) seemed to mostly be of the smaller, regional variety. The negative impact was always minimal and able to be managed before it metastasized. But the potential problem as I see it is that in the last decade plus, it appears what may be described as large predatory financial engineering companies almost "posing" as timeshare companies have risen and aggressively worked every loophole and non regulation to their own advantage and now are probably guilty of gross violations of their fiduciary responsibility to their customers / owners. These companies have created vast fortunes for a very small network of individuals at the top of the pyramid.
Ironically though, and looking at historical examples from other industries, it is these very companies likely to bring the whole industry into the national spotlight and to its knees eventually. Some of these appear to have walked to the edge of doing that already.
As these quasi financial engineering / timesharing companies become increasingly more brazen in chasing profits by any means possible, raising fees rapidly at the same time they are reducing owner benefits, due to their increased sheer size the public outcry will likely increase and just the odds of random probability suggests there will be a gotcha moment or event that will bring increased scrutiny and increased legislation.
If the good timeshare companies try to ignore what the bad ones are doing, they may find someday that their systems and profits and share prices are negatively impacted by the future regulations forced on the industry from the egregious actions of the bad actors in their industry.
Pharma for example is still dealing with the Turing Pharmaceuticals fallout even now 2 years later, and that fallout will likely not dissipate anytime soon.
This is just my still forming hypothesis. We´ll see.
Stop With The Spin.Just Stop
Lately, there´s been some truly laughable advice about timeshares; buying, owning and selling that certain people and certain organizations have been able to get through to the media.
I´m tired of this, so here´s my thoughts:
1) ARDA-ROC has positioned itself as ´an alliance of over one million timeshare owners.’ It´s not really ´an alliance of over one million timeshare owners´ when not a single one of them votes, advises or even participates in anything that they do. 2) Timeshare is a usage product and not something that should be purchased as an investment, but rather as something you buy to save money on vacations. True on the first two points. Usually false on the third. If you buy a timeshare from the developer then add maintenance fees, reservation fees, usage fees, etc., the average person does not save money. Usage or not, any purchase for $20K should have some residual value after 5 or 10 years, assuming it´s been maintained. Not so with timeshare. Listings abound for $100 or less. 3) You should call your resort to see if they have a take back program
Hysterical. Why a take back program and not a buyback program? Go ahead, call and let me know what you find out. I have close to 1,600 emails from owners who want out.
4) Work with a broker
Another funny. Did you know that there´s at least one major developer whose product will not be handled by any of the brokers in the LTRBA? Did you also know that the residual value of the majority of the timeshares for sale is so low that if a broker were able to sell it, the original owner would end up paying money for the privilege of getting rid of it? Doubt me? Check Sharket.com 5) It´s the ´mom and pop drive-inn on the Jersey Shore that have little to no value.´
None of the 1,600 emails I gave from owners wanting out own at a one of those resorts. They own at Bluegreen, Wyndham, Festiva and Diamond for the most part. There´s hundreds more who are members of FB groups. Oh, and although they´re geographically close, you may want to check out The Manhattan Club saga.
GOLDEN. This comes from a spokesperson for an online listing platform that charges both a membership fee and a listing fee that has thousands of listings for $1. This is also the same platform that willingly takes listings from Diamond properties when they know that Diamond does not allow listings in third party platforms and will take punitive action if they are caught. You had better be very careful who you trust with your money and your decisions concerning buying, using and selling timeshare. Question everything. Trust no one blindly. Verify everything. Don´t believe something just because it was on the Internet. Most of all, follow the money.