High-pressure tactics are a common strategy used by timeshare companies to lure new buyers and entice current owners into upgrading their membership. For those who are unfamiliar with the process, a timeshare upgrade can be compared to paying for additional services at an auto shop, where the salesperson convinces you to purchase unnecessary upgrades. If you’re tired of being pressured by your developer to upgrade your timeshare, we’re here to help. In this article, we will expose the tactics used by timeshare companies to persuade owners to upgrade and explain why it’s best to avoid falling for them. By being aware of these tactics, you can identify whether you’ve been caught in a timeshare upgrade scam and take steps to get out of it.
Is a Timeshare Upgrade Really Necessary?
Recall the moment when you decided to purchase a timeshare. It’s likely that you were swayed by the captivating pictures of content individuals on beaches in luxurious destinations like Cabo San Lucas, Mexico or Miami, Florida, and the sales pitch made vacation ownership seem convenient and opulent.
So why is it that suddenly your initial purchase is insufficient? Why is your timeshare company pushing you to upgrade?
Admittedly, your once-new timeshare may depreciate over time, and your timeshare resort will inevitably age and require updates. However, that’s what maintenance fees and special assessments are intended for. Be assured that you don’t actually need to upgrade your timeshare, and your company should not be pressuring you into a new membership you don’t desire.
Unfortunately, many timeshare owners are coerced into upgrading. They’re told that the new membership will provide a superior experience and replace their old membership, or they’re convinced that upgrading will reduce their maintenance fees when the opposite is true.
Keep an eye out for these upgrade tactics.
The Membership Upgrade That Becomes Two Timeshares
Rephrased: When timeshare companies merge, it can often lead to pressure on timeshare owners to upgrade their membership. One such example is the merger between Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) and Diamond Resorts. HGV, a successful timeshare company based in Florida, acquired Diamond Resorts, a lower-tier timeshare provider in 2021. The merger gave birth to a new membership called HGV Max, which claims to offer an improved vacation experience to owners from both companies.
Hilton Grand Vacations has several membership types, including the Hilton Grand Vacation Club and Hilton Grand Vacations Elite. However, HGV Max is unique because it allows owners to stay at both Diamond and Hilton Grand Vacation timeshare properties. While mergers between timeshare companies can mean access to more vacation destinations, they can also result in higher charges. It’s essential to understand the costs involved before signing up for any upgrade.
Some developers use timeshare upgrades to convince owners to sign up for an additional timeshare, leading to regrettable decisions. Sales reps from various timeshare companies persuade owners that their upgraded membership will replace their old property, when in reality, the customers are signing up for a second timeshare, resulting in double maintenance fees.
Equity Discounts and Lower Maintenance Fees
Timeshare companies may try to entice you into upgrading your membership by promising that the equity you have built up in your current timeshare will transfer over to the new one. They may claim that the equity will serve as a discount on a more expensive timeshare property, similar to how equity works in real estate. However, this offer is likely a scam.
Confusing Contract Jargon
In reality, timeshare companies often use the “equity discount” tactic to convince you to pay exorbitant prices for a new membership, even if the new membership offers only slightly better amenities. Additionally, you may have to pay upfront fees, in addition to the cost of the timeshare, to upgrade your membership.
Another supposed benefit of upgrading is lower maintenance fees. Timeshare companies may lead you to believe that upgrading will result in a decrease in annual fees. But oftentimes, what they really mean is that the new membership will be cheaper than the old one. You will still have to pay the maintenance fees you currently owe, as well as fees on the new property, which may not become apparent until it is too late to cancel.