American Consumer Claims – Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you need to now about timeshare relinquishment, cancelling your timeshare and timeshare claims. The ACC team are waiting to answer your questions and help you sort your timeshare problems out once and for all! The “FAQs” below cover the most common questions we are asked – but please feel free to use the contact form to ask your own specific questions and we’ll aim to reply immediately.

Virtually all timeshare agreements include clauses relating to maintenance, management or similar fees that must be paid throughout the full contract term and these fees can be varied entirely at the discretion of the timeshare company.

There are many different types of timeshare contracts, but the fees are generally charged on the premise that all the “members” of a particular resort or scheme are collectively contributing to the ongoing upkeep and management of the resort.

Most timeshare companies annually or bi-annually increase the fees they charge their customers, who are usually locked in a long-term contract and have no option but to just accept these increases.

The only way to stop the fees is to get out of the timeshare contract – and that’s where the ACC team come in!

The management fee clause in a timeshare agreement is hidden away in the small print, which allows the timeshare company to change (i.e. increase) the fees at their discretion.

Unfortunately, because you have signed a contract agreeing to this and whether you realized it or not at the time, you are legally obliged to pay these fees throughout the full term of your agreement.

This situation is all too tempting for many timeshare companies, who have become used to simply pushing the fees up year on year – and this habit shows no signs of stopping. There are exceptions of course but, as a general rule of thumb, it is estimated that timeshare management fees double every 10 years. Therefore, if your fees were $400 per year in 2006, they are likely to be around $800 per year in 2017 and would be $3200 per year in 20 years time.

This will depend on your timeshare contract and the specific timeshare company but, if you refuse to pay your timeshare management fees, the likelihood is that the timeshare company will put you into their credit control process.

This is likely to include an escalating sequence of events, starting with reminder letters/phone calls and sometimes additional charges and/or interest for late payment. You may also suffer restrictions in terms of using, exchanging or renting out your timeshare while you remain in arrears.

Fees will usually continue to accrue and the recovery procedures may escalate, with threats of legal action, damage to your credit rating and the use of debt collectors – For example, Barclays Partner Finance are known to act on behalf of some timeshare groups/resorts in this way.

The whole process can be a very stressful and unpleasant experience and, ultimately, the timeshare company has a signed contract and they can enforce this as they see fit, so we would not recommend this course of action.

If you are unwilling, or unable, to pay your management fees, or simply want to bring your timeshare to a close, please contact us today so that we can help you escape your timeshare contract and the associated fee liabilities for good.

The one certainty about timeshare is that your fees will increase over time!

Timeshare companies know all too well that they have you and their other customers locked into contracts which allow them to increase the fees at their sole discretion… so most of them do.

Depending on the term of your contract, this could well mean that you are committed to major financial liabilities over time.

Along with the high management fees and the collapse of the resale market, the lack of availability is one of the major frustrations among Timeshare owners.

The sales demands of these timeshare companies over time means that many resorts and point schemes are hugely oversubscribed, which means that only a very small proportion of the members are ever lucky enough to be able to book their first choice accommodation and dates.

This is exacerbated by the fact that some resorts, groups and exchange networks are known to hold back some of the most desirable accommodation and dates for sale on the open vacation market, rather than sharing the full allocation fairly across their fee-paying membership.

On top of this, there is often a further allocation of the best units/dates held back for new potential customers, which means that the actual fee-paying members/owners, who have bought into their Timeshares and dutifully paid their management fees, are often pushed to the back of the queue and generally find themselves having to choose from what’s left over.

Whilst there are a handful of exceptions, it’s a sad fact that the vast majority of timeshares are simply impossible to sell now.

The salesman’s promise that timeshare was a great asset that may even increase in value over time, has proven to be entirely false – especially since the recent global economic downturn.

Timeshares are frequently advertised on eBay for $1, but even then, no-one wants to buy them for the obvious reason that the purchase price is of no consequence when compared with the associated fee commitments over the term of the contract. Rather than buying something for next to nothing, any buyer would therefore have to take on the future liabilities for increasing fees over many years to come – which represents a commitment of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the contract term.

Some timeshare groups insist that any attempt at reselling a timeshare is conducted through a specific resale company, but these companies generally charge open-ended “listing” or advertising fees. With virtually nil chance of success, it’s just another fee to add to the list – and we have customers coming to us every day who have spent years, and sometimes a lot of money, unsuccessfully trying to sell their timeshares.

It is of course heart-breaking to come to the realisation that your timeshare is not only worthless, but a growing financial burden. However, in the vast majority of cases, this is the sad reality – and you need to think about how you can get out of your contract to avoid further fees, as well as looking at other ways in which you could cancel your future liabilities.

Please contact us using the short ACC enquiry form now so we can help you.

Quite simply, whether or not some sort of buy-back option was loosely promised to you in the past, it is not in the interest of the timeshare company to take your timeshare back from you. If they did this, they would effectively be “letting you off” the management fees that you would otherwise be liable to pay over the rest of your contract term, which may well be worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to them.

It is also important to remember that timeshare has evolved over time, as many people have been moved over to points schemes, fractional ownership, floating weeks and similar variants.

This means that creating a new timeshare contract to sell to a new member is purely a matter of raising some paperwork, as the timeshare company does not need to have a timeshare that they have taken back from you or another member “in stock”. They can just sell a package of points to the new member and add to the over-subscription.

Please contact us using the short ACC enquiry form now so we can help you.

This depends on the timeshare company, the specific terms of your contract and certain rather technical legal considerations – but the timeshare would usually form part of your estate and pass onto your descendants accordingly.

Were you passing on a valuable asset, such as a house that you owned, this would normally be considered a good thing of course – but your timeshare contract is almost certain to be a liability, due to the increasing management fees attached to it over the course of the contract term.

We are frequently contacted by customers for whom this is a key consideration and for whom it is important to be released from their timeshare contract precisely to prevent it passing on their children. Similarly, we frequently hear from people who have inherited timeshares and have only more recently come to understand the associated fee obligations.

This will depend on a number of factors including the timeshare company in question, the terms of the contract, the legal jurisdiction under which your contract is governed and the transactional history of your particular case.

We would generally expect the process of cancelling a timeshare contract to take from 6-9 months, but there are exceptions of course. In some, rare cases there will be a specific set of conditions which enable us to conclude the cancellation much more quickly than this – and the process can sometimes take longer if the case is more complex or if the timeshare company in question is known to be more obstructive than others.

What is certain is that, the sooner you start the process, the sooner you will have peace of mind. It is also well worth noting that, as soon as they’ve taken the first step, many of our customers tell us that they had been putting it off and only wish they had done it sooner!

So please complete the short ACC enquiry form now to find out your options today