MoneyDo: If You’re A Timeshare Owner, Consider How The Pandemic Has Affected Your Ownership
In one way or another, we’ve all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with many “non-essential” industries the travel and tourism industry has suffered more than others.
Back in 2018, MoneyDo provided some great questions to ask if you’re considering purchasing a timeshare. We discussed how timeshares shouldn’t be considered an investment. We suggested many timeshare owners consider their property a “lifestyle purchase” with the goal of providing you and your family the ability to enjoy a yearly vacation.
Since COVID-19 began, many timeshare companies have tried to demonstrate flexibility with reservations and accommodating owners changing needs. Based on our research, timeshare owners are still using their timeshares — if they’re able to.
Unfortunately, many timeshare owners haven’t been able to enjoy their timeshare purchase. Properties have been slow to open, or have offered restricted availability, through the pandemic. Some have seen their reservations cancelled with little notice, as timeshare companies wrestle with ever-changing local, state, and federal pandemic rules and limitations.
According to Jason Gamel, the CEO of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the timeshare industry’s national lobbying group, the industry is actively lobbying Congress for bailout funds to protect the industry’s “assets.” While there has been talk of the following action items- at the time of this writing these proposals have not been put into effect as a result of Congress.
– Give timeshare owners a one-year hiatus on all maintenance fees- If they cannot use the property, do not charge them for it.
– Provide Responsible Exits for timeshare owners facing a hardship, whether medical or financial
– Establish a mortgage forgiveness program
– Make it possible for paid-in-full timeshares to be transferred back to the resort at no cost.
Wyndham Destinations, https://clubwyndham.wyndhamdestinations.com/ which also owns the timeshare exchange company RCI, is the world’s largest timeshare company. Wyndham is considered the bellwether of a 50-year old industry that has never had to face the challenges of a worldwide pandemic.
Wyndham has re-opened several hundred of their properties throughout the world.
· If you’re experiencing financial hardship, contact your timeshare provider immediately and explain your situation. Ask for a modified payment plan. According to Wyndham’s
website, they’re offering owners experiencing financial hardship maintenance fee deferments or alternative payment plans. They’re also offering hardship assistance to owners who purchased their timeshare through Wyndham Consumer Finance.
· Don’t pay an “upfront fee” to any company promising to sell their timeshare for you. Many, if not most, of these companies do not follow through on their promises. Like any large asset or property you own take your time and do your research on what options are available to you. Timeshare Users Group https://tug2.net/ , a website dedicated solely to timeshare owners, may provide insight.
· If you feel you must sell your timeshare, it’s important to understand that there is much more supply than demand. Many timeshares are being sold for $1, just so an owner can relinquish themselves from having to pay the annual maintenance fee.
The bottom line..
The pandemic has left the timeshare industry in flux. Be aware of how your timeshare company is navigating financial difficulties.
If you’re regularly using your timeshare, or have found ways to enjoy your purchase, we don’t suggest any rash decisions.
If your purchase is keeping you from adhering to your financial plan, or affecting your day-to-day expenses, find the time to ask for help. Remember, this too shall pass.