Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, today’s article is from another new contributor, the Kleen family, who we welcome to our pages. They explain their own experiences and show how the lack of a secondary market can harm families. So on we go with another in the series “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”.
A Wyndham Worldmark Member Offers an Analysis
Families Harmed by No Secondary Market
There is no secondary market for timeshare ownership. No one wants to buy a timeshare, so owners have trouble getting rid of one.
By the Kleen family
January 18, 2019
There is something inherently wrong with a product that cannot be sold or sometimes even given back, especially a product purchased for thousands of dollars. A lifetime is a long time to live without experiencing an adverse life event necessitating a need to sell. Wyndham states in their annual 10-k report that a viable secondary market is a risk to their investors. There is no mention of the risk to their customer stuck with their product that has virtually no secondary market.
Friends of ours in good standing with Wyndham received a $.36 per point buyback offer from Wyndham Ovations, which they accepted. The Wyndham Ovation program is Wyndham’s voluntary surrender program available to members in good standing. When we initially contacted “Wyndham Cares” about our medical hardship we had hoped for a similar offer, but never heard back. We have an outstanding loan, so are probably not eligible.
Timeshare points dramatically lose value. To compare, think of a house purchased for $100,000 that could only be sold for $11,666. That’s what $.36 per point would translate to for what we paid at $2.50 to $3.50 per point. They tell you think of your timeshare as a second home, but what home purchased for $100,000 would you buy that had a resale value of $11,666? What would happen to the housing market if virtually no secondary market existed? Too many families are being harmed. If you own a home with a loan, you can still sell the home.
We purchased our Wyndham Worldmark timeshare in 2011.
Our son Matt believes it is imperative that veterans be provided more disclosure. The housing market requires veterans be provided greater disclosure, like on HUD loans. Especially for active duty service members, who can get transferred or sent overseas, the lack of a secondary market is of real concern. “In the case of my parents, they would have been eligible for the Armed Services Vacation Club, which Wyndham runs and operates. This would have been a much better program for them. My father even told the sales agent he was a veteran,” said Matt.
In 2016 we wanted to help Matt. Matt is totally disabled, now living with us along with his daughter. The fact that not only is this timeshare worthless, but we are held hostage by it, prompted us to write this article hoping others will understand that timeshares are worthless, should you need to sell.
In 2015 we were looking forward to enjoying our retirement and a timeshare seemed a good way to do it. This purchase fell far short of that. Every time we went to a resort, the staff enticed us with offers of gift cards and money to attend “owner updates” which were just other chances to use high pressure sales. There was never anything presented about updated information.
They always told us that our points would never lose their value. Salesman told us that our previous point level was worthless, and could only be rendered of value by buying more points, explaining we would have a much better chance to get where we wanted to go, when we wanted to go, only if we purchased additional points.
More than eight months ago we contacted WorldMark/Wyndham Resort Development to request a hardship release. We have called and contacted Wyndham several times, but never received any answers. A manager said she was going to do her best and get back to us. Not one word received.
We are full time caregivers for our son and his daughter. We can’t use the timeshare as originally planned. Our two dependents require financial, medical, and emotional support. Our son needs special furniture. Traveling by car or plane is nearly impossible due to his lack of mobility. Since they have never contacted us about our hardship request, we add that to our “lack of customer service” complaints.
Sales agents always presented offers in a very confusing way. We had to ask questions again and again and have them repeat their answers as we tried to get clarification on certain things. Sometimes we just gave up. The sales presentations always lasted longer than the promised 60-90 minutes. We would end up leaving because the salesmen wanted us to sign statements about the cost of points in the future if we did not buy right then. They got very nasty when we refused to sign.
The salesmen never told us that upgrading was mandatory, but they pressured us greatly to upgrade. We were able to get away and use the program a few times this year. It is not an easy thing to do because of the responsibilities at home, but we were able to get away for a few days at a time for respite. Most of these stays had to be around when Wyndham had availability, so trips were not always convenient.
We hope our article reaches the eyes of those considering a timeshare purchase. We question why anyone would spend so much money on an “asset” that is really a liability if even the timeshare company does not want it back.
If you know what you are buying is worthless, should you need to sell, and still are comfortable with your purchase, then buy the timeshare. We wish we had known.
Thank you to the Kleen family. We agree too many families have been financially harmed by timeshare’s lack of a secondary market. Contact Inside Timeshare if you have a story to share.
Self-help groups Inside Timeshare feels are not industry influenced.
That is it for this week, join us on Monday for news and information on the world of timeshare, have a great weekend.