Timeshare chains are hardly a rarity in the world today. Currently, over a dozen such chains are in business. They advertise elaborate, fancy resorts in warm, beautiful destinations like Kauai, the Virgin Islands, Palm Beach, or Florida. Or, the pitch goes, you can change it up. You can go mountainside and take a ski trip in Colorado, Park City, or Lake Tahoe.
Each timeshare company has its own methods and drawbacks. One of the most popular among citizens of the United States is Marriott. Marriott Vacation Club International, or MVC, is an Orlando-based timeshare company that has licensed the Marriott name but is actually separate from the Marriott hotel company.
This article will take a specific look at Marriott timeshare resorts and ownership systems. Of course, you’re probably reading this article because you have an MVC membership and you are looking for a way out. So, we’ll also talk about potential exit strategies for Marriott timeshares, including transfers back to resorts and other possible transfer or resale strategies.
In some cases, though, you may need to be more creative with your timeshare exit. In that case, Centerstone Group can also help you with its own proprietary strategies designed to get you out of your timeshare contract as speedily and efficiently as possible.
From the beginning, MVC tries to position itself as a different kind of timeshare company. Marriott’s advertising materials profess a dedication to honest and forthright business transactions. MVC’s strategy here is important, given that the timeshare industry is filled with people and companies who are less than honorable.
This advertised philosophy, though, does not mean that a Marriott Vacation Club timeshare is a good financial decision for you or your family. While MVC is rated with an A- on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, it is not an accredited business with the BBB. Several reviews on the website also indicate bad experiences with high-pressure sales tactics and high costs.
MVC’s system for vacation ownership is also expensive. Whether you have an MVC points membership or a “weeks owner” membership, you’ll have the same kinds of annual dues or maintenance fees as other timeshare chains. You’ll also be tied down to ownership of a deeded real estate interest at an MVC resort.
Like many other companies in the timeshare business, Marriott originally sold traditional timeshare units. In other words, the company might break a condominium at one of its resort properties into 52 segments, each corresponding to a week of the year. Weeks would then be sold to purchasers.
The current state of the industry, and MVC’s business, is a bit more sophisticated now. While MVC does still sell “week” units to people who want them, the more popular and modern system of vacation ownership is with points. Rather than owning a unit at a “home resort,” you receive annual Vacation Club Points that are used as currency to book your stay at Marriott Vacation Club resorts.
For example, let’s say that you purchase 5,000 annual Marriott points from a resort in the Caribbean. You can use those points to reserve time within a specified window at any of the resorts that MVC directly owns.
The Marriott sales pitch, though, is that you can also use those same points for a unit (in a narrower time window) in South Carolina at Hilton Head Island or the Grand Chateau in Las Vegas. There are also offers for units at other Marriott Vacation Club destinations like Hawaii (Maui and Kauai), Thailand, and Spain.
If owners want more options, MVC allows you to trade points for reservations at resorts operated through its sister company, Interval International. The Marriott rewards system is thrown in as another measure to ensure that you stay loyal to their brand for all your vacation needs.
While this may sound like a good deal in the abstract, customer reviews tell a different story. Your Marriott Vacation Club points cost you money every year in the form of annual fees. They also cost a significant amount of money upfront, with purchasers spending over $20,000 at the low end of the spectrum. Some even take out mortgages to afford their points.
The costs of MVC vacation ownership, which continue forever, are often more than timeshare owners can bear. Though Marriott timeshare units are often higher quality than those offered by other companies, the fees are also among the highest in the industry.
The fact that these memberships also effectively limit where and when your vacations happen make this a particularly bad deal. (You can often get the same experience at a better price renting one of these units instead of owning them.) If this describes your experience with MVC, you may need an exit strategy.
Like other companies in the timeshare industry, MVC sells products that are not easy to get rid of. This is because Marriott resorts depend on the income stream generated by Marriott timeshare owners. Difficult, however, is not the same thing as impossible. You have a few options both inside and outside of MVC.
The first option that some people have for getting out of their Marriott Vacation Club ownership is rescission. Rescinding a contract means that it is effectively unwound or cancelled, and the parties are put in the position that they would have been if the contract had never existed.
MVC contracts, like other timeshare contracts, do not have long rescission periods. The exact time in contracts may vary according to state law. Generally, though, you have 3-10 days after signing your timeshare contract to rescind it. Therefore, if you have purchased a timeshare recently and are regretting the purchase, rescission may be your best option.
Rescission is a time-sensitive issue. If it is not done correctly and you miss the contractual window to do it, the mistake could cost you thousands. Therefore, you may want to consult with an expert at Centerstone Group to ensure that you cancel your contract in the correct way.
The timeshare resale market is difficult in the best of circumstances. Marriott is a bit more open about this process than other vacation resort companies. They do have contact information for their in-house “exit specialists” on their website, which is relatively forthcoming. Rest assured, though, that the Marriott timeshare resale process is not tilted in your favor.
In the past, this in-house exit program allowed timeshare owners to give their interest back to MVC as long as the initial purchase price had been satisfied. That is no longer the case, a fact that many MVC owners have come to resent.
In several cases, owners were persuaded to purchase their units based on the promise that MVC would take them back. This change in policy has led to many unhappy owners saddled with fees they were led to believe they could get rid of if necessary.
You should know that MVC’s exit specialists have been trained to keep you in your MVC membership at all costs. If you purchased your timeshare at an MVC presentation, you may remember how aggressive and unhelpful the sales tactics were. (Their aggressiveness is what makes them so successful.)
Expect to experience those aggressive tactics again. Also, keep in mind that the “exit specialist” on the other end of the phone has a vested interest in keeping your business with Marriott. Therefore, once you have made up your mind to exit your timeshare, it can make more sense to hire a company like Centerstone Group to do the work for you.
However much you might want to, you may not be able to resolve your exit concerns with Marriott. Some Marriott Vacation Club owners want to get out of their contracts because they feel like the sales tactics used against them were improper. Some may have been promised an exit solution from Marriott, only to find that those programs no longer exist.
If this is your situation, don’t despair. Centerstone Group’s professionals have decades of combined experience in resolving just this kind of problem. Our BBB accreditation and reviews speak to our results. We have developed a proprietary three-pronged approach to getting your timeshare exit completed.
First, we will engage in a pressure campaign against the timeshare resort, consisting of phone and written communication as well as social media engagement. We’ll also review your case to see whether there are any regulatory concerns, and if so, we’ll file the necessary complaints.
We also offer the ability to use a receiver to take over your timeshare obligations during the transfer process. This way, we can help to ease your burden of timeshare ownership as soon as possible.
Or maybe you need legal help to get out of your unit. If our review indicates that your case needs legal attention to succeed, we can help you with that as well. We will work with our established network of lawyers to make sure that you receive the best possible representation at rates below what you would normally pay if you just walked into a lawyer’s office if you hired them yourself.
MVC salespeople sold you your Marriott timeshare with representations that you could take more — and more fulfilling — family getaways for a decent price. Unfortunately, this is just not the reality of vacation ownership for most people. Purchasing your timeshare may have been a mistake, but you don’t have to compound that mistake by holding on to your timeshare.
You don’t deserve the pain and financial burden of your timeshare membership. There is a way out. Contact Centerstone Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation, and let us help you get started on your way to peace of mind and freedom.