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However you are feeling about your timeshare, ITOA is here to support you

How do timeshare owners feel about their timeshares? Social media, the results of surveys, and news articles are a perplexing mix of love and hate – and everything in between. ITOA is getting to the truth of the matter – and helping resolve the many issues and controversies. 

Generally, it’s true to say that the perception of timeshares is not favourable. Horror stories abound, consumer advocates rant about what a disastrous purchase timeshare is, and too many people dismiss timeshare owners as mugs for buying the product. 

And yet, survey results are published which suggest that (for example) 90% of timeshare owners are very happy with their purchase and experience – and there are a surprising number of genuine ‘Happy Timeshare Owners’ Facebook groups.  

ITOA has got to at least some of the truth of the matter – and is helping put the wrong things right. 

‘Handcuffed owners’ (and real options) 

It is undeniable that there are many thousands of owners who feel trapped and remorseful about buying their timeshares. They complain about being locked in for the rest of their lives to a product that has never lived up to their expectations. 

For these owners, there are usually multiple options. These do include potential exits, which will very much depend on who they own with and where their home resort is. Several timeshare companies do provide exit options, and ITOA can provide specific advice and even facilitate where appropriate. Hardship is taken into account in many instances, particularly, but not exclusively for European timeshares. It is vital to get accurate, written information about these options.  

Timeshares are frequently also successfully sold. There is no doubt that many owners do struggle to sell, and in the majority of cases, it means selling at a considerably lower price than was paid – or candidly, even giving it away. These are often the realities of selling timeshares in the resale market – but still, ITOA advice is to not ignore the possibility – just ensure that you follow the legal steps to sell – and above all else, do not fall for false promises from people and businesses that give inflated values and spiel such as ‘we already have a buyer for your timeshare’. 

In many instances, owners who were feeling this way, have received assistance that enabled them to resolve the issues they had with their timeshares – including by understanding how to get better use / availability etc., or for example, by renting out their timeshares when they are not able to use them, which of course can offset the cost of annual fees. 

ITOA assistance – don’t stress by yourself if you are an owner who feels this way – and don’t make decisions about potential solutions that could worsen your position. ITOA will assist members with clear information on real and appropriate options and help with due diligence processes.

Happy owners (with some gripes!) 

Cynics may think this is a fictitious group, and that online posts by people saying how happy they are with their timeshares are all submitted by timeshare businesses and their agents – but the fact is there are a huge number of owners that love their timeshare experience. These are the ones that almost always had a good understanding of what they were buying – and even more importantly, how to use their ownership. They are savvy when it comes to availability and getting the best value. 

Timeshares are not ‘holiday bargains’ – they are normally higher-end vacationing experiences that offer something extra over a standard hotel or apartment holiday – often accommodation that is in many ways more than a ‘home from home’, with luxury class accommodation including multiple bedrooms, like a substantial suite or condo. Others provide more rustic lodge / cabin-style accommodation, and the majority have excellent resort / leisure facilities and great locations – this is what people love and what they signed up for. 

But research shows that even happy owners have gripes – and almost certainly, the most prolific of these is complaints about sales pressure when they arrive for their vacations. Many (too many) tell of being cajoled into attending what they say are misrepresented ‘updates’ which are sales pitches. Owners are usually offered a range of incentives to attend these meetings, including cash payments and vouchers. The unhappiness stems from the degree of pressure exerted (particularly at check-in), refusals by resort staff to take no for an answer, and probably worst of all, what owners see as outright dishonesty on the part of salespeople when such meetings are attended. In fact, one of the most worrying phrases used in reports by owners about salespeople is – ‘if their lips are moving, they are lying’. 

ITOA assistance – This aspect is concerning for both owners and timeshare businesses. Major brands such as Hilton, Marriott, and Wyndham, certainly do not want to have their reputation tarnished by being associated with systemic deceit, and owners do not want a stressful start to their holidays, where they feel they are being treated as ‘cash-cows’ and disrespected. ITOA is making this aspect a priority, by providing owners with effective resources to manage and report on this issue – and by opening up dialogue with timeshare companies on resolving it.

Befuddled owners (cutting through the confusion) 

Regrettably, there are too many owners that make contact with our resources, or post on Facebook, asking questions that show they don’t have a thorough enough understanding of what they own, and how to use it. Considering the financial investment made, and the obvious ‘emotional attachment’ involved in a lifetime of vacation-planning, this is a serious concern.  

Facebook groups in particular illustrate how common this is – with the same core (and important) questions being asked time and time again. Below are a few random examples of recent ones taken from various timeshare owner Facebook groups. 

‘I am confused again. I am an HGV Max owner but how do I use RCI or the like? How do you book a Hilton property like a Tru By Hilton?? I have no idea. When we bought, we were told that there were so many properties. Where do I find them? 

‘Hello everyone, I am very new to the timeshare life and I am so confused on how many nights the club points equal to, also does it matter what type of room I book? Can I only book a studio or can I book a swim up or a two bedroom, ect? Also how do you book stays? I know the club.Hiltonvacations.com site is where all my information is but how do you book with the club points? I am with Hilton vacations.’ 

‘So confused all of a sudden!!! I thought I had this understood.  

When we purchased this $20k worth of contract. Remaining balance was put on a new Wyndham Rewards “Barclay” credit card which I believed we are paying off the purchase contact of $20k AND maintenance fees. Feeling a lot of stupid here! ‘ 

‘Okay… tell me what is the difference between Club Wyndham, Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Club Wyndham Plus, Wyndham Rewards, Club Wyndham Access?????? 

Hi all! Me again with more questions cause i clearly don’t understand my membership. Again, I’m so thankful for all of you and this group cause I’m learning soo much! Can anyone explain my points to me. I thought i had to use 110,500 by June 30th, 2024. But than when i look at my dashboard i see 5,500. Why am i so confused? How many points do i actually have left ? I don’t want to not use them!! Can someone help me please 

And the above examples don’t even begin to touch on the thousands of requests made online for help with exiting, exchange, rentals, buying resale vs retail, the difference between deeded, fixed and floating weeks, ‘fractional’, and points etc. 

This confusion causes stress and wrong decisions to be made – including owners falling into the hands of scammers. It’s a situation that so obviously needs fixing 

ITOA assistance – our mission is to ‘defuddle’ timeshare. ITOA is applying smart technology and outstanding expertise to solve the confusion apparently experienced by so many owners. We have started to analyse thousands of questions (and answers provided online), and will be addressing the results of our evaluation with timeshare business executives, and experts in all areas, including lawyers, resellers, rental and exchange businesses, etc. We will also be getting invaluable input from ultra-savvy owners. We will be providing comprehensive information that has been collated and checked – and holding regular Q&A events to keep expanding and improving the knowledge base.

Summary 

However you feel about your timeshare, whether you really do want out, want to get a better experience, or just remove some of the elements that detract from otherwise happy experiences, ITOA intends to do everything possible to make you feel better. We don’t have a magic wand, and can’t promise to fix everything – but we do know that a lot of improvement is possible, and we are determined to ensure that happens.

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