Anyone who has ever owned a timeshare has learned how they are about the worst deals you can make other than investing in sub-prime auto paper.
We bought a timeshare through Marriott about 15 years ago. We trusted the brand and as we were living in the Los Angeles area, it was easy and convenient for us to get to Maui. The first 4 years were wonderful. Then we began noticing that the annual maintenance fees were increasing by more than 15% per year. For this most recent year, they are charging owners of a week more than $65,000 (52 weeks at $1,300 per week) to maintain a two bedroom unit.
We have been to Maui more than enough times. So, we have begun exchanging. Without exception, they are treating our unit as less than top quality (it was top quality when we bought it) and we are only being offered lock-out units which are one bedroom and one bath, so we are really getting mistreated on that front.
We have learned that all of the timeshare companies are gradually going to point systems. This is where the scam gets better. The point system is another form of derivative. You remember mortgage derivates – the financial engineering trick that created the global economic melt-down that began in 2008 and continues today?
Under the point system timeshare buyers no longer buy weeks at a resort. They now buy points that can be used anywhere – anywhere there is space available. So, buyers are buying nothing other than a promise from Marriott that if they have a resort available at a time you can use it and where you would like to visit, you can go. Now, as with mortgage derivates, they have created an infinite supply of supposed resorts out of thin area. These things should be regulated by the government.
Anyone who would buy these things needs financial consulting 101. In my opinion, these are a bigger scam they mortgage derivatives and could be as dangerous to the financial system.
I am going to contact my congressional representatives – mainly the democratic ones (the Republicans do not want to regulate anything as they are in the hip pockets of the banks and timeshare operators.
Please contact your regulators today and add your voice to putting this scam under regulatory oversight.