Have You Tried to Donate Timeshares?

Timeshare Donation Heart

Should you donate your timeshare?

The idea of donating a timeshare to a charity has definitely been trending lately within the timeshare industry. Not too long ago it was common knowledge that nearly all legitimate charities would not accept a timeshare donation. This was almost entirely due to the fact that timeshares can be extremely difficult to get rid of. This fact is still true today and many organizations will not accept a timeshare as a donation because of the financial responsibility that owning a timeshare comes with. Most charities are focused on the work they do to help others and do not have the resources to effectively manage and benefit from a donated timeshare, which is why the simply will not accept a timeshare.

If anyone has attempted to donate a timeshare please do share your stories with us here on the blog. Post your comments about successful or failed attempts and getting rid of a timeshare through donation. There are a lot of timeshare owners out there that are trying to get rid of their timeshare ownership, the problem is that there are so many false solutions out there that do not provide true timeshare relief. If you have been able to successfully donate your timeshare property please let us know so that other timeshare owners can learn of ways to get out once and for all!

Spain’s Timeshare Industry Is Set To Collapse

With a new court ruling in Spain on May 27th of 2010 there is expected to be up to 400,000 illegal timeshare contract compensation claims that could reach up to 2 billion €(euro). It has been ruled that a timeshare developer in Gran Canaria must pay back double the amount of the timeshare deposit by Magistrate D. Juan Carlos Socorro Marrero.  There are currently over 200 live claims for timeshare miss-selling in the Spanish court system against Anfi Del Mar. More claims were coming in at a rate of 10 per week before this ruling.

Spanish law also states that even if a property is sold and all encumberments and debts are passed on to the new owners those new owners will still be liable for new compensation claims. Within the industry it is said up to 200 developers that operate out of Spain, Balearics and canaries are trying to sell of timeshare resorts that have or soon will have actions brought against them.

Some brand name European timeshare developers have been taking illegal deposits up until as late as 2009. The European regulatory body representing timeshare owners in Europe has had some of its paid members break these same laws in the past. With this new ruling timeshare owners will finally get the chance to take on large corporate brand developers. As long as the timeshare development still exists you will be able to reclaim a double deposit if you paid after the cooling off period in 1996.

What’s Your Timeshare Rescission Period aka Cooling Off Time?

We’ve all done it – been impressed by a salesperson’s charm and persistence and written a check for more than we knew we should.

What if you realize you made a mistake the next day?

Timeshare Relief appointmentSome states have “cooling off” time, a period after a purchase during which the purchaser has the right to return goods for a refund, or to cancel a contract without penalty.  The right to cancel a contract is governed by both state and federal law.  Please check with your attorney for specifics.  The remainder of this post is not intended to be legal advice.

There are very specific circumstances when these statutes and regulations apply; they do not apply to all circumstances.  Usually real estate, stocks or securities are not covered.

Under the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s cooling-off rule, you have the right to cancel a purchase of $25 or more for a full refund as long as certain conditions are met:

  • If you make a purchase entirely by mail or telephone, the rule does not apply.
  • When you initiate the sale at the seller’s permanent business location, the rule does not apply, even if the deal is closed in your home.
  • Despite popular misconception, there is no cooling-off rule for automobile purchases. Make sure you want that car before you buy it.
  • In order for the rule to apply, the purchase must be for personal, family, or household purposes.
  • This rule isn’t applicable to purchases made to meet an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a home insect infestation. Nor does it apply to repairs and maintenance on your personal property.

If you just bought the timeshare, many states have a mandatory “cooling off” period when you can undo the deal and demand a return of your payment. Of course, those periods are usually only a week or 10 days, not months, so they relieve are only going to relieve short-term buyers’ remorse.  If you are a timeshare owner, you must be aware of your state’s laws.  Do not rely on a timeshare company to tell you what the law allows you to do.

If you have questions about your state’s cooling-off period, call your state attorney general’s office.  If you’ve experienced buyer’s remorse and you’ve passed your state’s cooling off period, then you may have to consider other options to let go of your timeshare purchase.

Seniors Choose Investments Carefully Especially If It Involves a Timeshare

Timeshare Relief satisfied clientNot every investment an aging relative can make is a wise one.  For example, if an annuity plan doesn’t start paying out for twenty-five years, a senior citizen may wisely sit out that particular opportunity.  Some people initially purchase a timeshare because they are sold on the concept of a timeshare as an investment over the long-term.

Because they have more disposable income than their younger peers, they are an attractive market segment for a timeshare company.

Sometimes a timeshare developer will advertise specials with very little lead time at a reduced rate with less than 14 days advanced noticed.  Seniors are often attracted to these deals because they have more flexible schedules.

In most cases, you will not make any money buying a timeshare and will probably lose money on the deal.  In fact, if you really want to find a vacation getaway that might appreciate, you’ll have to buy a resort condo or vacation home.

Interestingly, research has found that seniors often choose timeshares because they perceive them as being money-saving opportunities.  However, research shows that because accommodation costs are pre-paid, interval owners tend to spend about 20% more per day on their holiday than other types of tourists.

The Impact of the Economy on the Timeshare Industry – Panel Discussion

A few days ago, timeshare executives discussed the impact of the economy on their industry during a panel discussion at the 31st Annual New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.  Beth Kormanik, the managing editor of Buyer Interactive and editor of Hotel Interactive writes about the discussion here.

Here is a summary of some of the more interesting points:

– With retirements being wiped out, more people are opting to keep discretionary income rather than spend it, especially on a timeshare.  So, timeshares are looking for a new pool of buyers.

– They want to emphasize rigorous maintenance of their properties, “even if it means raising fees.”

– They wish to cut down on the colossal marketing costs of timeshares

– Mortgages will require higher downpayments

– Timeshare owners for the most part kept paying their fees in spite of the economic downturn
“Will the consumer not pay the $800 and give up the $24,000 they have already spent?” he [
Stephen Cloobeck, chairman and CEO of Diamond Resorts International] asked. “That’s the issue in a nutshell.”
TR360 comment: Interesting statement…think about what that implies.  Timeshare owners feel compelled to pay the maintenance fees regardless whether they use the timeshare or not.

– Lower cost options are on the way with fewer ammentities and upgrades.

– We may see conversions into condo-hotels.

Last statement from Johann Murray, senior vice president of financial services for Hilton Grand Vacations: “We’ll be out of this downturn in five to six months. We’re already seeing signs of bottoming,” he said. “There’s just too much money to be made in this industry.”

Read that last sentence a few times.  He’s talking about timeshares making the money, not owners.

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.

Bluegreen Financials Mirror Economy and Timeshare Industry

BluegreenThe final 2008 financial report to SEC from Bluegreen Corp showed significant contraction from the previous year.  The timeshare company based in Boca Raton, Florida ended the year losing $12.2 million, or 39 cents a share in the fourth quarter of 2008.  When compared to 2007 for the same quarter, the results constitute nearly a $21 million drop in revenue.  The company downsized 3,000 associates companywide in response.

Overall, sales remained rather steady at $100.4 million, down somewhat from $112.5 million in the same period a year ago.  Annual sales actually increased in 2008 to $494.3 million, up from $472.4 million.

The major impact to the bottom line were delinquencies and defaults due to the rise in unemployment.  People are simply not paying non-essential bills, which will most likely crush their future credit rating; thus, limiting future consumer spending.