It would probably seem strange that you would be reading an article titled "I hate the Timeshare Industry" on The Timeshare Guru, a place meant to show readers how to maximize timeshare ownership but the fact is, the title says it all.
I continually have to do research on the in and outs of these timeshare programs in order to get the information to publish on this site. There is sparse information on the internet as the entire industry attempts to rely on the in-person sales presentation in order to close the deals.
I have sat through plenty of timeshare presentations and knowing timeshares and knowing the systems well, it always gets me extremely aggravated to hear the number of false statements or half-truths that the sales representatives say. These range from exaggerating the ease of exchanging into prime weeks to the "financial" value of the timeshare when you are done using it.
Marriott Vacation Club Resale Solicitation
In my latest dealings, I received an e-mail from the Marriott Vacation Club concerning resales directly from Marriott.
As a quick bit of background, Marriott has two programs, its legacy week program which is the standard timeshare system of owning a week at a specific resort and its points program, where you purchase points to be able to exchange into the properties.
Marriott no longer sells its weeks directly but does have a resale arm that sells these legacy weeks. Almost all third parties are selling the weeks program as there are not many resales on points since Marriott allegedly buys them back through their right of first refusal if a owner wants to sell them.
One of the most material differences of purchasing through Marriott directly is the ability to convert your timeshare week into Marriott Reward Points. These functionality disappears if you purchase anywhere except Marriott.
I find that the value to exchange into hotel loyalty points is generally very poor but it can make sense in limited situations. It does however give you a ton more flexibility on how you travel even if the value is poor.
The solicitation that I received was for resales directly through Marriott for its legacy weeks program. I was interested to see the price for these resales as compared to other third party sites and eBay.
Fortunately, they actually provide a transparent way to see the available units and the cost of these units. This can be found here:
Marriott Vacation Club Resale Information
If you sift through the information, you can see prices for what they offer but you cannot see the amount of maintenance fees.
While the purchase price is important, maintenance fees are potentially even more important since these are the ongoing fees each year and will almost definitely increase each year.
I spoke to the Marriott representative for about 15 minutes quizzing him on the various differences between the programs and why it may make sense to purchase directly through Marriott instead of a third party.
The particular representative that I received indicated that he worked for the Marriott Vacation Club for over 28 years and owned through their legacy program and their points programs. He was an expert in the Marriott Vacation Club.
I continued to quiz him on various functionality and then asked him what property, in their legacy program, had the lowest maintenance fees. Generally, I use almost all of my timeshare weeks by exchanging them so the best way for me to get tremendous value out of my timeshares are to own weeks that have the lowest maintenance fees.
As long as the week has a decent demand and the property is nice, they can trade very well through the programs so that I can exchange into prime weeks that would have a much higher maintenance fees.
The general idea is to own a week with low maintenance fees and trade into weeks where the maintenance fees are much higher.
I asked the representative and he indicated that "he does not know what property has the lowest maintenance fees" as each week and property was different.
I pushed back and asked him how he does not know the answer to this question considering he worked with Marriott Vacation Club for 28 years and looks at prices and maintenance fees every single day.
From this point in the conversation, he basically wanted nothing to do me and abruptly ended the conversation and wished me the best.
I HATE the Timeshare Industry
It appeared that once I started asking real questions and wanted to know real answers, he sensed that I was simply not a purchaser and didn't want to deal with me any longer.
The truth of the situation was that I wanted to know what property had the lowest maintenance fees so that I can focus my search on those properties and see whether owning with Marriott can be worthwhile.
After the conversation, I was truthfully incensed with the way that the representative handled the situation. He knew the information but didn't want to tell me the answer. He simply wanted to sell me on the "lower priced" resale inventory since they were apparently selling these for 50-75% of the original developer pricing.
After this latest run in with the timeshare sales representatives, it really made me think that I HATE the timeshare industry. I love my timeshare, love the accommodations, love the value but absolutely despise the sales process.
The sales process is truly atrocious as I always feel as though the sales representatives are hiding the truth or only sharing information that be used to turn their presentation into a sale.
What can be done?
I do not think that I am unique in my feelings as there are plenty of "owners" that really love their timeshare but hate the process. The goal of this blog is to educate readers on how timeshares work so that they can be knowledgeable on the timeshare systems and decide whether timeshare ownership can work for them and what system will work best based on their travel needs.
My hope is that readers can review the information and make the decision themselves on what they want to own, the price they want to pay and where they want to purchase.
If you are equipped with that knowledge, you can purchase a timeshare with ease since there is no sales pitch and you know what you want and know the pros and cons of timeshare ownership.
I really do hate the timeshare industry. The horrendous reputation is accurate for the sales process but unfortunately spills over to timeshare ownership.
The sales pitches and my interactions with all timeshare representatives are generally all self serving and I rarely receive complete transparency when asking questions.
I have called up a couple timeshare programs and they simply won't tell me anything over the phone as all information must be disclosed during a sales presentation.
I find this to be a horrible business practice and it makes me livid that the entire industry uses this method to sell timeshares.
Timeshares can be absolutely fantastic but obtaining the information and obtaining the truth can be very difficult. I hope that this blog change this issue.
What have your experiences been with timeshare representatives? Leave your comments below!