A timeshare is a commitment to ensure that you pay for annual trips to the same resort or a group of resorts. You must pay some money before you revisit, plus the annual subscription fee. If you want to pay for a different property owned by the same company, you might be requested to pay some additional fee. There are two types of timeshare contracts.
The shared deeded contract and the shared leased contract. Timeshare was a noble idea introduced to solve vacation housing problems. However, sometimes it has been misused by some scrupulous business people to con people their money. In this article, we shall be discussing the ten worst timeshare companies in the world, to help you make the right decision in the future.
10. Vida Vacations
Vida Vacations is a member-only timeshare, offering groundbreaking entertainment, the best relaxation places, and specialized travel services. Suppose you meet their salespersons, do not rush to make a deal with them without studying the corresponding customer experience. If you fail to do so, you are about to make one of the worst financial decisions. Customers have complained that whatever they tell you in their presentation is not what you will get in the written contracts.
Their sales persons have been described as scammers who will say anything to make you buy from them. Customers are encouraged to make a physical visit before they commit to anything. The salespersons make secret recordings of potential clients and use them in future marketing meetings. From this list, this is the company with the highest chance of improvement. It has even been sued the least.
9. Shell Vacation Club
Shell Vacation Club has more than 24 desirable destinations across North America. When you sign a contract with them, there are high chances that they will not tell you that you can terminate your contract at any time and still get your refund. They charge a high annual renewal fee, which can cost buying a rental. It has designed its contracts to ensure that even if you pass your timeshare to your generations, they will still have some financial obligation.
When customers want to get to them, they take time before responding. Their internal complaint management system is weak. It solves issues on a preferential basis, mainly depending on how much you have invested. Several customers have also complained that even after making the necessary payments, they must wait too long before getting their membership approvals.
8. Timeshare Owners Relief LLC
Werner and Billy Butlin formed the company in 1946. They started by expanding their holiday camp to cater to new visitors. Then they decided to venture into the business idea after seeing how successful it could be. Initially, the company offered top-notch services with self-catering and accommodation in flashy places. Everything was fine until the 1980’s when it started constructing more houses.
To get more customers, it started adopting illegal aggressive selling tactics. It started giving clients wrong information, which has been the trend today. When you search for the most authoritative sources on the worst timeshare companies, you will find them in the list. Customer comments about the company are highly damaging. The company has been sued on two grounds: breach of contract and giving false information to clients.
7. Diamond Resorts
Diamond Resorts has its headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada. It also has some regional offices in Lancaster, Florida, Orlando, and the United Kingdom. It has a service area of more than 30 countries with an estimated 370 destinations. Despite hosting several celebrities such as Brittany Lincicome, Brian Gay, and Reggie Jackson, the company has serious issues regarding its dealings with clients. Diamond Resorts has been accused of violating the Consumer Fraud Act. It was sued by the Arizona Attorney General in 2016 and cited several issues in its fillings. They include:
- The percentages at which the annual fee was increasing with, sometimes the fee would even shoot up by 25%.
- Consumers were frustrated when they wanted to sell their timeshares.
- The absence of discounts on travel needs.
- The misuse of the company’s buy-back programs.
In settling the issue, the company had to pay $800,000 as a fine, of which $650,000 was used to restitute customers.
6. Wyndham Vacation Resorts
According to Top Class Actions, its timeshare owners filed a lawsuit against the company. They accused it of giving them misleading information about benefits besides subjecting them to very aggressive marketing tactics to convince them to purchase useless points. For so long, many customers have accused the company of defrauding them when signing and after signing the purchase contracts.
In several suits against the company, timeshare owners have demonstrated how difficult it is to book a stay with them. Yet, they promise they will take you to any preferred destination. The company has been accused of not adhering to strict timelines during its events. For example, a family who had purchased a timeshare with the company in Florida was invited to one of its events, being promised that it would take 3 hours only to stay the whole day.
5. Bluegreen Corporation
The Bluegreen Corporation has its main offices in Boca Raton, Florida. The company currently has approximately 4,500 employees and over 60 company-based timeshare resorts. It targets the average American through its booths and promotions set strategically at places where customers can easily detect them. It entices you with the most fabulous weekend treats before things turn around. The company has been subject to so many customer complaints.
If the customer complaints are something to go by, then this is one of the most manipulating companies ever. First, customers have accused it of setting fixed prices and not giving room for price negotiation. In addition, the company also uses high-pressure selling tactics to win customers in its schemes. Bluegreen Corporation is so cunning that it does not indicate future cost changes in the introductory part. Still, it slowly clings on flimsy grounds to introduce them at later stages of engagement. Customers have raised concerns that it has offered them buy-back programs while, in reality, they do not exist. The Abrams Firm reports cases where the company overcharged customers on different occasions.
4. Holiday Inn Club Vacations
The company has been accused of lacking operational ethics if a careful analysis of customer reviews is anything to go by. A Majority of its employees are said not to have proper background screening. One user stated that the company has achieved all the wrong activities in the business world; the company starts with an excellent impression only to change its tactics in the future. Its timeshare holders have accused it of having a very porous recruitment process where recruits are hired on the spot. Holiday Inn Club has also been accused of giving wrong training information and failing to notify its clients on time as far as changes are concerned.
Internal conflict resolutions are weak and are subject to preferences by its management. The Rinehuls family sued the company for breach of contract and violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act by wrongly reporting and failing to verify their loan tradeline. It still went ahead to give a false report on the same. Employees have also accused it of issuing instructions that change the principal contract, like the change of workstation, without proper notice. According to the Coalition to Reform Timeshares, the company was sued by its timeshare owners for tricking them into buying from them using high-pressure tactics.
Disney Vacation Club is owned by subsidiaries of the larger Walt Disney Company. It has attracted more than 220,000 members. Still, with its high membership numbers, it has some severe shortcomings. Many times, it has been accused of negligent behavior. In 2019, it was sued by Mrs. Klinger for installing slippery sandcastle water slides at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. A similar suit just followed in 2022. A lady alleges that she fell over rotten wooden beams placed unevenly on one sidewalk at Disney Boardwalk.
In addition, the company got entangled with one of its timeshare owners, Validus, over violating fire codes. According to the Wow News Today, the management was not patient enough to clear Validus’s complaint. It just chose to proceed with its Saratoga Springs Resort renovation project. This brings out an image of a company that is not ready to listen to its clients.
2. Anantara Vacation Club
Anantara Vacation Club is a premier homeownership company in Asia. It’s one of the youngest timeshare companies, launched in 2010 by Minor International PCL. Like the other timeshare share companies, you will meet a compelling salesperson who will give you the best presentation. They trick customers by not revealing that their initial entry point will not permit them to visit some vocational areas.
They have a website that you cannot log in to unless they send you an email deliberately delaying their communication with you. Many of the details they give out during their presentation will likely differ from the real ones. They advertise the company as an investment route rather than informing clients that their main business is timesharing. Their contracts make it too difficult for someone to get out without losing a good amount of money to them. Their staff is not welcoming enough.
1. Westgate Resorts
David A. Singel established Westgate Resorts company in 1982. By 2021, it had more than 29 destinations across several cities in the United States. The company has been accused of mistreating its employees and timeshare owners. In addition, it has found itself in constant conflict with the federal government. It holds the record of the most sued timeshare company. Its former employee, Dawn Myers, accused its founder David Sigel of battering her. The company was found guilty and fined more than $ 600,000 in punitive damages and general damages to the employee.
The Supreme Court in 2015 upheld a decision by a lower court that the company had to pay a fine of $500 000 because of using pressure sales tactics to convince customers. The case brought out an image of the character of the company- the failure to adhere to compliance issues. 300 former sales employees sued it for failing to pay them their commissions. It was also taken to court by Tutor-Saliba Corporation for failing to pay after it had constructed its pH Towers. Generally, Watergate Resort not only scams its clients, and employees but also other companies.
What To Do to Avoid Losing Money in Bad Timeshare Companies
According to Nolo, there are several steps you can take to avoid being scammed by bad timeshare companies. They include:
- Watching out for enticing simple deals. Many scammers would come up with very enticing deals without giving you specifics. They tend to push you to sign as first as possible but take your time.
- Conduct background screening before attending the timeshare presentation. You can visit the company’s website and see clients’ comments. If they have their comment section locked, you should worry about them.
- Seek legal advice. Unless you are a qualified lawyer, seek the services of one. Do not attend a presentation; feel you can sign it there and then. These are the moments when they take advantage of the ignorance and bind you with contracts that are too difficult to leave.
- Avoid making upfront fees. A genuine company will wait until you are convinced to buy and will not demand any fee before you sign the contract. That’s unethical and unprofessional.
- Know the person you are dealing with. Demand to see essential identification records for the salesman. If possible, call the main office for cross-checking.
One common feature of all these companies is that they all started with good intentions of offering the best quality services to their clients. However, their employees started participating in unethical business practices in growth and maximizing profits. Giving wrong information to potential clients is a vice that cuts through all companies. Full disclosure has been their significant problem and still the main ground on which they have been sued. Do not seek services unless they prove to you that they have corrected the issues they are accused of.