Is the Timeshare Industry a Cash Cow Worth Protecting?

Mark Matthews and the Orlando Sentinel recently released an article titled,”The Time-share Industry is Safe Under Grayson’s Watch” that describes how freshman Congressman Alan Grayson successfully received an exemption for the timeshare industry in a recent bill designed to curb predatory lending practices in the mortgage industry.

The exemption essentially allows the time share industry to dodge proposed regulations on same-day purchases and lengthy escape clauses that would allow consumers to leave some contracts if they find themselves in over their heads.

The reasoning for this from Congressman Grayson stems from the fact that Central Florida (his district) is so heavily economically dependent upon the timeshare industry.  The Congressman makes the analogy that timeshares are to Florida like oil is to Texas and corn is to Iowa.

But who ultimately finances the timeshare industry?  Why do development companies, hotel chain and state & local governments love timeshares?  It’s a cash cow for all of them.  Per unit built, timeshare units are among the most profitable vacation accomodations for hotel chains.  Hence, developers can charge more and governments can increase their tax base, especially if timeshare owners come from out of state.  It’s a great way to increase tax revenues without taxing the majority of your constituency.

For timeshare owners, the vacations are lovely and the time spent with family is precious.  But know that your dollars spent in the purchase, maintenance and other fees are funding some major developments and lobbyists.  Just keep your eyes open.