Resounding Thoughts on Timeshare Resales and Relief Companies

In the January issue of Resort Trades Magazine, and the January/February issue of Management Operations, attorney David Waller takes on the topic of timeshare resales and relief companies.

David is the senior hospitality lawyer in the Denver, Colorado offices of the national firm, Baker & Hostetler, LLP. Known for his work with hospitality companies and independent developers, David’s focus includes timeshares, condo hotels, resorts, hotels, condominium development and management, and a range of vacation ownership issues. He is licensed in Colorado and in Texas and is a frequent presenter at the ARDA Annual Conference and the Ragatz Fractional Interest Conference.

Looking at David Waller’s expertise before reading his comments is important; it reminds us he is infinitely knowledgeable on the subject of timeshares, experienced and unbiased. When he shares his thoughts on timeshare resales and relief companies, he is not advancing a personal agenda or promoting an individual client. Instead, he is truly offering insights that are sound, seasoned, and have the overall interests of both the timeshare industry and the consumer at heart.

Upfront Fee Timeshare Resale Advertising

Pointing out that a concerned timeshare industry is moving in the right direction, David Waller then addresses two specific instances where more work is needed by an evolving industry; one of these being the matter of timeshare advertising advance or ‘up-front’ fees. Describing advance fees for timeshare resale advertising as having suffered “misdirected condemnation,” he then explains why. Here’s part of what David Waller writes:

“…Concerns about advance fees still resonate in the timeshare industry today. The following is a representative sample of warnings targeted to consumers:

It’s preferable to do business with a reseller that takes its fee after the timeshare is sold. (Federal Trade Commission, Facts for Consumers – Buying and Selling Timeshares and Vacation Plans)

An advance fee may be called a “marketing fee,” a “listing fee,” an “Internet advertising fee,” or something else. No matter what it is called, don’t pay it in advance.(Arkansas Attorney General, Timeshare Troubles)

Don’t pay any upfront fee. (Florida Attorney General, Timeshare Resale Fraud – Do’s and Don’ts

Because these warnings imply that there is something inherently wrong with charging advance fees, they contradict accepted advertising practices. Classified ads in print and commercials on television typically require payment of an advance fee. Annual meetings between television network executives and advertisers are even termed “upfronts” because their main purpose is to allow advertisers to buy commercial airtime several months before the television season begins.”

The point being made here is simple: there are no critics who say don’t pay upfront for a magazine or newspaper ad to sell timeshare or any other product. Imagine advertisers telling magazines that they want to sell their boat/condo/ handmade crafts but they are offended at the idea of paying for the ad until, and unless, their product actually sells. No one really expects newspaper, magazine, radio, or television advertising to bill after the fact, yet certain critics condemn online timeshare resellers for doing the same thing that is done across the board in most advertising venues every day.

Are there places you can advertise your timeshare resale at no cost? Yes. Just as there are neighborhood newsletters, free websites, and other avenues for advertising many types of products. Some work better than do others and some work for certain types of products but not all. Consumer trial and error is usually the best assessment of a free advertising option with the role of consumer agencies being best directed toward helping consumers identify credible resale and resale advertising services. And here again, David Waller’s observations are spot-on:

“Rather than condemn the practice of collecting advance fees, these agencies should recalibrate their efforts to further the consumer’s ability to identify companies that purport to be timeshare resale companies, but actually have no business purpose other than to collect advance fees…

“In doing so, it is perfectly reasonable to explain that fraudulent companies are more likely than legitimate operators to charge an advance fee. However, the warning should not equate advance fees with fraud. Rather, the warning should explain that consumers have a choice: they can pay an advance fee, or they can choose to pay a commission that, in the event of a sale, will typically exceed the amount of the advance fee.”

Thank You Resort Trades

If you are interested in buying, renting, or selling timeshare, you owe it to yourself to read David Waller’s article in full. You will find it in the print issues listed at the start of this blog post and by clicking here to read it online: Thoughts on timeshare resales and relief companies. Resort Trades Publisher Tim Wilson explains, “We have an advantage because we are totally independent, and that freedom to speak without censorship or limitation is exactly what our editorial policy is based on.”

Thank you Resort Trades for providing your readership with this informative reporting and for your permission to reprint segments of it here on The Timeshare Authority blog.