The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted just about every aspect of our lives, including our ability to travel. Due to their prepaid vacation model, the timeshare industry has experienced a variety of unexpected issues over the past year as we’re forced to navigate travel during a pandemic. While vaccines offer the promise that things may get better over the course of 2021, timeshare owners will likely continue to experience some issues with their ability to use their allotted week this year.
Every resort has developed their own unique set of policies in response to the pandemic. Some are more favorable to timeshare owners, while other resorts have created a situation that makes using your week even more challenging than ever. Your personal experience will be strongly correlated with the policies established by your home resort, as well as your ability to navigate the new procedures in place.
After a year in which many timeshare owners were unable to use their property (but still had to pay annual maintenance fees and other costs associated with timeshare ownership), the most pressing question for many timeshare owners is, “Will I be able to use my timeshare in 2021?” Unfortunately, the best answer we can give you is “maybe?”
Most resorts have reopened after the initial shutdown period last spring. That being said, there are several factors that have complicated the process of visiting the resort:
If you’re planning on using your timeshare in 2021, you should call the resort now to ask them if there are any changes to the ways in which reservations are being handled this year. You should also ask about alterations to their cancellation policy in the event that COVID-19 concerns force you to reschedule your trip at the last minute.
The sooner you have this information, the sooner you can begin planning your 2021 trip. Due to the high likelihood of increased demand for resort weeks later in the year, planning ahead will be crucial to your ability to use your week.
If you purchased a fixed week or floating week timeshare contract, your unused week in 2020 is gone forever. Depending on your flexibility exchanging weeks and the time of year you have the ability to use the timeshare, your 2021 week may be in jeopardy as well. It would certainly be understandable if you didn’t feel comfortable using your fixed week timeshare in 2021 if it falls in January or February, while coronavirus cases are still spiraling out of control. You’ll have to decide the level of risk you’re willing to take when determining whether it’s worth visiting the resort before a vaccine has been widely distributed.
If your timeshare runs on a points club system, it’s possible that your unused points from 2020 will be available to use this year. This would give you an ability to take advantage of your unused time from last year at a later date, and you may potentially be able use your banked timeshare points to earn a nicer vacation.
Each resort has their own policies regarding whether points can be rolled over from year to year, and it’s also possible that your resort has made changes to their regular policy to offer you greater flexibility during the pandemic. The first step is to read your timeshare contract to understand the standard policy regarding how unused points are handled. Then, you should call your resort to find out if any changes to this policy have been made as part of the pandemic. Always ask if there will be any additional fees incurred for rolling over unused points.
Most timeshare contracts require you to pay maintenance fees to your resort each year. These fees are required regardless of whether you use your allotted week. As many frustrated timeshare owners found in 2020, these fees were paid at a time of dire financial need when there was no way to use the timeshare. With the average cost of annual maintenance fees being $1,000, this is an extremely large expense for families struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic.
It’s highly unlikely that your resort will waive your maintenance fees in 2021. There are two reasons for this:
The stated purpose of annual maintenance fees is to cover expenses associated with maintenance, upkeep and day-to-day operations of the resort. While this is one use of these funds, the other unstated purpose of annual maintenance fees is to provide an ongoing revenue stream to the resort. The pandemic has created a huge financial strain on many timeshare resorts, and they need the revenue from maintenance fees now more than ever. For this reason, it’s possible that you saw your maintenance fees increase due to the pandemic.
If you’ve fallen on tough financial times, you may find that you’re unable to afford your maintenance fees this year. However, it’s important to continue making these payments. Failing to pay your maintenance fees can have serious consequences that result in long-term damage to your credit rating. A better approach than stopping payment on required fees is to legally cancel your timeshare.
The timeshare industry has been hit very hard by the pandemic, and many resorts are struggling to stay financially afloat. There is a decent chance that many of these resorts, particularly the smaller timeshare developers, may be forced to declare bankruptcy. A potential bankruptcy action will provide additional challenges to your ability to use your timeshare in 2021 and beyond.
There are several different scenarios that might occur if your timeshare resort goes bankrupt:
If you’ve been frustrated with your ability to use your timeshare during the pandemic, you’re not alone. Many families just like you are starting to find that timeshare ownership no longer meets their needs as we navigate the greatest crisis of our generation. There are many reasons why the pandemic may have made your timeshare feel like a burden. Regardless of why you may want to get out, you have options.
Timeshare Termination Team can help you grid rid of your timeshare. Our in-house legal team will carefully review your contract in order to recommend the most effective strategy to safely, legally and permanently cancel your contract.
You’ll also benefit from our You First Approach™, which ensures your needs are placed first at all times. We know that every timeshare situation is unique and as a result, no one strategy will be effective for everyone. We’ll work with you to understand your specific frustrations and your desired outcome. We’ll carefully educate you about your options to ensure you have the tools necessary to make an informed decision that is right for your family.
When you work with Timeshare Termination Team, you’ll also receive our Money-Back Exit Guarantee™. This gives you peace of mind that you’ll actually receive what is promised. If we aren’t able to legally cancel your timeshare, you’ll receive a full refund.
Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Get started living life on your own terms once again.
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