Caveat Emptor: A saying made for Timeshare

It may have been a holiday weekend, but as I keep being reminded “timeshare never sleeps”, and that is evident from the social media groups which AIT follows. The posts with questions and warnings on “updates”, and questions about floating weeks and points have been at the forefront, what is strange is these questions are the same ones which have been asked in the past by consumers in Europe, and now seem to be increasing with our US friends.

By now everyone should know that any “invitation” to attend any “update” or whatever name they decide to use, is primarily a sales pitch, they want more of your money.

The “invite” such as this email received by one “member” is typical of how this “update” is so important:

“I’m with Hilton Grand Vacations corporate office. I was assigned to your account as we approach the much-anticipated launch of HGV Max and we wanted to make sure you have opted in and registered your account so that you may enjoy all the benefits Hilton Grand Vacation Max has to offer such as:

  • Rolling points over and never expiring,
  • Using 100% points on airfare, car rentals and cruises all year long,
  • 3,000 more luxury homes in 100 countries,
  • Use of the wonderful high-end luxury Hilton Resorts,
  • Use points at over 6,800+ Hilton Hotels and no resort fees.

Without doing so you will not be able to access any of the above benefits, so we will need to set up a phone call at your earliest convenience to assist you with this.”

All looks very convincing, we just wonder how much of it is true, especially considering the last paragraph.

It opens with what is in our opinion tantamount to a threat, “opt-in and register” or lose the “benefits”. The opening line in any sales pitch, give the consumer something then take it away.

They create an air of urgency by using “so we will NEED to set up a phone call”, and just to be polite they add “at your EARLIEST convenience”. This is to assist you in sorting out your “registration”, what the email does not tell you is how much it is going to cost you.

This is most definitely a “Caveat emptor” email.

Moving now to “Floating” weeks and what are they?

In the early days of timeshare, what you purchased is what we call a “fixed week & appointed apartment”, this means you purchased a specific week number and specific apartment, this is yours to use at this time each year until the end of the contract.

To ensure the sale of only 51 weeks and no more, of each apartment, it tended to be customary to register this sale in some kind of registry, usually the local land register. In Spain during the early years, purchasers were registered and many received an “escritura” or deed. This officially recognised that they had “rights of use” of a specific apartment and week. It did not mean they owned the property itself or a percentage of it, which was unfortunately the perception that was given during the sale.

Obviously, once all the weeks in each apartment are sold, this leaves a sales team without anything to sell. Enter points and floating weeks.

With these systems you are not assigned a specific week or apartment, you are basically joining a “club”, which specialises in holiday accommodation. You purchase the points equal to the number of weeks required in different accommodations, from studio to penthouse. Floating weeks are basically the same, purchase the number of weeks and apartment type.

It makes no difference if points or floating weeks, what you purchase is the same as with fixed week timeshare, the right of use, but with points and floating systems, it is subject to availability. As it is not actual week numbers and apartments which are being sold, there is no limit on what can be sold, it’s first come first served.

This was the whole point of the fixed week system, it did not allow for overselling, and it guaranteed what you purchased, unfortunately, the registering of weeks was abused and still is being abused.

One developer in Spain got caught out with registering specific weeks and apartments multiple times, yet the contracts specifically state they are “floating weeks”. This was found through attention to detail by a group of lawyers working on cases against the developer in the Spanish Courts. They found many of their clients had the same weeks and apartments on the contracts, then working through the “land register”, found they had also been entered in the register.

A flagrant attempt to circumvent the law.

It would seem this practice is also being used in the US, as the image of a section from a Westgate contract reveals.

As you can see, it clearly states that it is “floating”, yet it then states that it is “recorded” at the Register’s Office. What has been registered?

Is it a week and apartment assigned to this purchaser, or is it just another “legalised” smoke screen, with all the weeks and apartments registered to the “management company”?

Whatever the answer, the fact is it is a floating week, it is subject to availability, you own nothing, it is worth nothing, and to cap it all you will probably find the week you want at a cheaper price on the internet.

We hope you all had a great holiday weekend, Baby Dog is too busy sleeping it off, he had a couple of visits with his friends and has now taken over my bed.










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