3 Ways Developers Trick You Into Timeshare Upgrades

Timeshare companies are well-known for their aggressive tactics to lure in new buyers and convince existing owners to upgrade their membership. If you’re unfamiliar with this area, upgrading your timeshare membership is similar to agreeing to additional services at a car repair shop. For instance, you went to the shop to get an oil change, but now you’re being convinced to replace the air filters and tires. These are services that may not be necessary, but you’ve been pressured by the salesperson to agree to them.
If you’re fed up with your timeshare developer continually badgering you to upgrade your membership, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll uncover the ploys that timeshare companies use to persuade you to upgrade, and why you should not fall for them. Once you’re informed about the tactics they use, you can determine if you’ve been ensnared in a timeshare upgrade scam and begin devising a plan to escape it.

Is a Timeshare Upgrade Really Necessary?

Recall the moment you made the decision to buy a timeshare. You were likely swayed by the attractive images of happy people on the beaches of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, or Miami, Florida, and the sales presentation that made vacation ownership appear to be convenient and luxurious.

However, why is your initial purchase suddenly inadequate? Why is your timeshare company acting as though you must upgrade your membership? 

While it’s true that your once-new timeshare may depreciate over time, and your timeshare resort may eventually require maintenance, this is what maintenance fees and special assessments are intended for. Be aware that you never need to upgrade your timeshare. Your company shouldn’t coerce you into a new membership that you don’t desire.

Unfortunately, many timeshare owners face pressure to upgrade. They’re informed that the new membership will provide a better experience and replace their old membership, or that upgrading will reduce their maintenance fees when, in fact, the opposite is true. 

Be on the lookout for the following upgrade tactics.

The Membership Upgrade That Becomes Two Timeshares

The act of merging companies has had a significant impact on the way timeshare owners are coerced into upgrading their memberships. An example of this is the recent merger between Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) and Diamond Resorts. HGV is a prominent timeshare company with properties worldwide, while Diamond Resorts is a lower-tier provider that was purchased by HGV in 2021. The outcome of the merger was the creation of a new membership tier known as HGV Max, which promises to enhance the vacation experience for owners from both companies.

HGV has numerous types of memberships, such as the Hilton Grand Vacation Club and Hilton Grand Vacations Elite, but HGV Max is unique. Opting for this membership means that owners can stay at properties belonging to both Diamond Resorts and HGV. Merging two companies can result in new membership tiers being introduced, offering a variety of vacation destinations to owners. However, it can also increase costs, which is why it’s crucial to understand the terms and expenses associated with any upgrade before making a commitment.

Several timeshare developers view upgrades as an opportunity to sell an additional timeshare, resulting in a regrettable decision for many owners. Sales representatives from different companies convince owners that their upgraded membership will replace their old property, but in reality, these customers end up with a second timeshare and double the maintenance fees to pay.

Equity Discounts and Lower Maintenance Fees

Developers often use the tactic of promising that your equity in your current timeshare will be rolled over to a new timeshare upgrade, similar to how equity works in real estate purchases. However, this offer is often a scam, and you should be cautious. It is unlikely that you would sell a completely paid-off $300,000 home and use the equity to buy a $1 million home of the same size. The same principle applies to timeshare properties. Developers may convince you that your acquired equity will act as a discount on a more expensive timeshare property, but this is generally not the case. They use this “equity discount” excuse to justify charging exorbitant prices for a new membership, even if the new membership comes with slightly better perks and amenities. Additionally, there may be upfront fees to pay on top of the timeshare cost to upgrade your membership.

Some timeshare companies also offer to lower your maintenance fees as part of an upgrade, claiming that your perks will improve and your annual fees will decrease. However, in many cases, this means that your new membership will be cheaper than your current one, and you will still be responsible for paying the maintenance fees on your current property in addition to the fees for the new property. Unfortunately, you may not realize this until it is too late to cancel.

Confusing Contract Jargon

Developers often use vague language in timeshare contracts to deceive people into buying timeshares. These contracts contain many clauses that make it difficult for people to cancel their timeshares once the rescission period is over. If you’ve been tricked into buying a timeshare, be cautious about upgrading it.

Carefully scrutinize any new contracts that come with upgraded memberships as they may contain warning signs. The contract should explicitly state that the original form of membership or deeded week you were assigned is being taken back by the developer.

If the contract fails to mention this, it’s highly likely that you’re being enrolled in an additional timeshare property or membership. This would lead to twice the membership and maintenance fees. It’s not an upgrade, it’s simply another financial burden that the developer is imposing on you.

Don’t Fall for a Timeshare Upgrade

The lesson we can take away is that timeshare upgrades are often a ploy by developers to persuade you into buying another timeshare or paying for a more costly membership that will do more harm than good. This is just one more reason why purchasing a timeshare is usually not a good idea.

However, if you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been conned into owning an additional timeshare that you don’t want, don’t worry. Centerstone Group is a comprehensive advocacy organization that specializes in protecting timeshare owners from fraudulent activities. Our timeshare exit experts are capable of dealing with high-pressure tactics, timeshare resale scams, and unauthorized wire transfers. Additionally, we have a BBB rating of A+ and a 4.78-star rating out of 5.

If you have been misled by your developer and tricked into a timeshare upgrade that is nothing like you anticipated, please contact our team to see if we can assist you in resolving your contract issues. We are only a phone call away, and we offer a free consultation.