Are you one of the many thousands of timeshare point owners who are never able to book your preferred week? Are you aware that many consumers don’t even realise that they are in a timeshare points system due to the misleading way in which the product is sold as the famous ‘exclusive club’? It all comes down to the same thing, exchanging ‘points’, it’s just coated very nicely and made to sound ‘exclusive’ to entice current owners.
Timeshare points systems have come under a lot of legal scrutinies in recent years, primarily for the fact that so many consumers are finding themselves unable to book a reservation at their chosen resort, or sometimes any resort in the system at all. Clearly, this is not what they thought they’d signed up for. The contract signed may say ‘subject to availability’ but if nothing is available, even when booking a year in advance, what can they do?
A popular timeshare company was recently found guilty of ‘misleading’ their clients informing them that they could book ‘anytime’ ‘anywhere’ and as a result the company was forced to settle out of Court, compensating its members to the sum of $800,000. Unfortunately, none of the members were getting the holidays they had paid large sums for, and it was quickly recognised that the company was, itself, to blame for this. However, lawsuits cannot be thrown around simply because consumers are unable to book when they want to, this is not grounds for a legal case alone, particularly as it’s covered by that ‘subject to availability’ clause. Nevertheless, there are some loopholes to look out for.
Most of the resorts promise their ‘exclusive’ members priority when booking, however, upon further investigation this couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is that most prefer non-members to book so that they can approach these potential new members as they stand to earn more from engaging with new members as appose to current owners, obviously focusing their attention on getting new contracts signed, bigger sales equals bigger commissions.
A couple was recently conned by the ‘once in a lifetime timeshare opportunity’ in Las Vegas with RCI. The pair used nearly 40,000 timeshare points, plus cash money, to book a suite on the Las Vegas strip, booking several months in advance. In spite of calling several times to confirm that everything was solid, upon their arrival at their hotel, they were told that it was overbooked and that they would have to accept a room at a different hotel. The alternative hotel had none of the facilities of the hotel they’d originally booked. Upon their return home, they immediately contacted RCI and Wyndham and demanded a refund as their trip had differed considerably from what they had paid for. RCI was rude and only agreed to pay the couple after they threatened to contact the paper to share their story
It all sounds too familiar and it’s happening too often, however, we at the TCA would like to inform you that if you have experienced any of the above or something similar when signing a timeshare contract, you may have cause for a claim. If there is somewhere in writing, even better. Any way that you can show that the product was misrepresented to you when you purchased it is a chance to hold the resort to account.
Proving wrongdoing is not easy, as even though you may not be able to book where you want to, there are likely to be spots available in the system, even if they are at a resort you have no interest in.
Whilst all this doesn’t sound particularly positive, be assured that this is not the end of the road. Timeshare contracts can be tricky, and there are lots of complex little clauses that come up time and again that render contracts illegal in one way or another.
If you are convinced of foul play on behalf of your resort when it comes to booking timeshare reservations, the best thing you can do is to seek advice from an experienced timeshare legal expert who has a good grasp of timeshare contract clauses and the rules surrounding timeshare points reservations systems. It’s not an easy problem to overcome alone, no matter how hard you try. Often, and especially when it comes to timeshare, it’s best to get the experts involved.
Posted on: July 23, 2018
For more information regarding this article or assistance in any other timeshare related issues please contact the TCA on 0203 519 3808 or email: info@TimeshareConsumerAssociation.org.uk