3 Ways Developers Trick You Into Timeshare Upgrades

by Ethan More
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Timeshare owners can attest to the fact that timeshare companies are notorious for using high-pressure tactics to continually attract new buyers and convince existing owners to upgrade. It’s similar to paying for additional services at an auto shop, where you may have only come in for an oil change but end up agreeing to unnecessary upgrades due to the salesperson’s insistence.

If you’re feeling exhausted from your developer’s persistent attempts to convince you to upgrade your timeshare, this article is for you. We’ll reveal the tactics that timeshare companies employ to push upgrades and explain why it’s best not to fall for them. By becoming familiar with these tactics, you’ll be able to identify if you’ve been targeted by a timeshare membership upgrade scam and start devising a plan to exit it.

Is a Timeshare Upgrade Really Necessary?

Recall the time when you made the decision to purchase a timeshare. It’s likely that the glossy images of happy vacationers on beaches in Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas or Florida’s Miami, coupled with a persuasive sales pitch, convinced you that vacation ownership was a convenient and luxurious option.

But why is your timeshare company now insisting that your initial purchase isn’t adequate and that you must upgrade?

While it’s true that your once-new timeshare may lose value over time and require updating as the resort ages, maintenance fees and special assessments are designed to address such costs. There’s no need to upgrade your timeshare, and your company shouldn’t be pressuring you into a new membership that you don’t want.

Regrettably, many timeshare owners are coerced into upgrading. They’re promised a better experience with the new membership that replaces their old one, or they’re persuaded that upgrading will lower their maintenance fees when, in reality, the opposite is true.

It’s crucial to be mindful of the upgrade tactics that you may encounter.

The Membership Upgrade That Becomes Two Timeshares

Company mergers have been instrumental in persuading and, at times, coercing timeshare owners to upgrade their membership. One such instance is the merger of Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) with Diamond Resorts.

HGV, a Florida-based timeshare company with hundreds of properties worldwide, acquired Diamond Resorts, a lower-tier provider, in 2021. This merger resulted in the creation of a new membership tier called HGV Max, which purportedly provides owners from both companies with an enhanced vacation experience.

While HGV already had several membership options, including the Hilton Grand Vacation Club and Hilton Grand Vacations Elite, HGV Max is distinctive. It offers the option to stay at both Diamond and Hilton Grand Vacation timeshare properties.

The merger between HGV and Diamond Resorts is an example of how two companies joining forces often leads to the creation of new membership tiers. However, while timeshare mergers may offer more vacation destinations, they may also mean increased charges. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand what you’re signing up for and how much you’ll be paying before committing to any upgrade.

Some developers view timeshare upgrades as an opportunity to sell a second timeshare, and many timeshare owners end up regretting their decision. Sales reps from various companies inform owners that their upgraded membership will replace their old property, when in reality, they’re signed up for an additional timeshare and are now responsible for paying double the maintenance fees.

Equity Discounts and Lower Maintenance Fees

Timeshare developers frequently use a misleading tactic to push timeshare owners to upgrade their membership, which involves convincing them that the equity in their current timeshare will transfer over to the new one. This ploy is similar to what real estate agents do when they tell their clients that the equity they have built in their current home will be applied to the price of the new one. However, the offer is generally a scam because it often involves paying inflated prices for a new membership. For example, it is unlikely that someone would sell a completely paid-off $300,000 home and put the equity towards a $1 million home of the same size. Similarly, timeshare companies use the “equity discount” excuse to convince people to upgrade, even if the new membership comes with slightly better perks and amenities. In addition, they may ask you to pay upfront fees in addition to the cost of the timeshare. Although timeshare companies also promise lowered maintenance fees, this may not be the case, and you may still be required to pay the same fees as before or even more.

Confusing Contract Jargon

Developers often use ambiguous language in timeshare contracts to deceive people into purchasing a timeshare. These contracts contain deceptive clauses that make it difficult to cancel the timeshare once the rescission period is over. If you have already fallen prey to this tactic, you need to be cautious of timeshare upgrades that come with new contracts.

It is crucial to carefully scrutinize any new contracts that come with an upgraded membership, as they may contain warning signs. The contract should clearly state that your original membership or deeded week is being taken back by the developer.

If the contract does not mention this, then it is highly probable that you are being signed up for an additional timeshare property or membership. As a result, you will be responsible for paying double the membership and maintenance fees, making it more of a financial burden than an upgrade.

Don’t Fall for a Timeshare Upgrade

From what we’ve learned today, it appears that timeshare upgrades are often just a ploy for developers to sell you another timeshare or push you into a more expensive membership that brings more stress than value to your timeshare experience. This is just one of many reasons why buying a timeshare should be avoided.

However, what if you’ve already been caught up in a timeshare scam like this? What if you now find yourself the owner of an additional timeshare that you never intended to purchase? If you feel that you’ve been pressured or deceived into this situation, it may be time to reach out to Centerstone Group.

Centerstone Group is an advocacy group that provides full-service support to protect timeshare owners from scams. Their team of timeshare exit specialists can help you navigate high-pressure tactics, timeshare resale scams, and unauthorized wire transfers. With an A+ rating and 4.78-out-of-5 stars on Better Business Bureau (BBB), you can trust their expertise.

If you’ve been misled by a developer and pushed into a timeshare upgrade that doesn’t meet your expectations, don’t hesitate to contact Centerstone Group. They’re just a phone call away and offer a free consultation to help you resolve your contract issues.

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