Shining the Light on Predatory Military Timeshare Lending

By Charles Thomas and Irene Parker

In America, the 4th of July holiday weekend kicks off Military Consumer Month. 

July is Military Consumer Month. Whether you’re a new recruit, a service member PCS’ing with your family, or a soon-to-be veteran, the FTC wants to share some ways to steer clear of rip-offs and scammers.

After Inside Timeshare has heard, just this year, from six U.S. active duty service members, two ICE (border control) agents, and a veteran employed at the Pentagon who all found their security clearances in jeopardy because of timeshare lending. We will be featuring their accounts during the month of July, hoping the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau take note of the risk that timeshare lending poses for America’s national security.

Timeshare Sales appeared at #9 on the FTC’s Top Ten Scam list and Timeshare Resales (fake buyers) at #10.

Our US articles this month will feature reports from the nine service-related timeshare buyers negatively affected by timeshare lending.

Predatory lending in the EU, with regards to timeshare, and serving military personnel, is not an issue we have come across. As AIT is familiar with the UK Services, they will be used as our example.

At the start of the massive timeshare sales boom, it would have been very rare to find serving military attending a presentation. They would not have fit the criteria as a “full tour”, but they may, however, be accepted as a “courtesy tour”. The main reason was the home. All sales decks in Europe would only accept “homeowners”, so renters and council tenants did not fit.

Other rules on attending the presentation included being married or living together for at least 3 years. Now, considering that most serving members of the armed services are young and single, living in “barracks”, they definitely don’t fit the criteria. Those who are married also came under the same rule as council tenants, as the vast majority of married service personnel lived in “married quarters”. In other words, rented accommodation including when the whole family moved abroad. These military “postings” would be around 3 years at least, so holidays tended to be taken in the country of posting or travelling home to the UK to visit the family.

So, loans for timeshare purchases were not a problem. We also have to take into account the British Military Regulations. British servicemen were very much aware that getting into financial hot water was frowned upon, and as usual, there is always some rule that covers it. Lenders were also very wary of issuing loan agreements to serving personnel  (could this be down to the dangerous job). How that has changed today is yet to be seen, but as there are no timeshare sales in Europe at present, it is not a problem like we have been seeing in the US.   

It is incomprehensible that in America, an active duty service member can be tricked and trapped into a timeshare loan a military family cannot afford, financed at 12% to 18.99%. The loss of a security clearance can lead to the loss of a military career. For deployed service members, the lack of a viable secondary market clearly poses a risk. There is little hope of selling a timeshare with an outstanding loan, and it is not easy to sell a timeshare even if it is paid in full.

After Inside Timeshare has reported on lawsuits filed in America against Bluegreen Vacations Case No:21-cv-61938-RAR and Westgate Resorts Case 8:22-cv-00283-CEH-JSS, accusing both companies of violating the Military Lending Act (MLA). The US Congress enacted the Military Lending Act to protect service members from predatory lending practices that had a documented impact on members of the armed forces and our Nation’s military readiness.

Developers argue that they are exempt from the Military Lending Act (MLA) because a timeshare loan is the same as a residential mortgage.  Nothing is further from the truth. Show us a home in America that can’t be sold because there is an outstanding mortgage.

Related articles:

Westgate Arbitration and the Military Lending Act Lawsuit June 17, 2021

PDF Link: Westgate Case No 8;22CV-0028-CEH-JSS

A lawsuit was filed alleging Bluegreen violated the MLA, on January 28, 2022

PDF Link: Bluegreen Case No 21-CV-61938-RAR

Thank you, Irene and all those who have contributed to this ongoing story, the practice of “predatory lending” to those who serve is one which we find abhorrent, but it is just another extension of the way the timeshare industry is hell-bent on making as much money as possible, regardless of the future consequences to their “clients”. As we mentioned, in Europe this does not appear to be a problem, the “predatory lending” was more targeted to those over 55, about to take early retirement possibly due to voluntary redundancies or having recently retired. The redundancy and retirement packages many received were something the timeshare sales departments couldn’t ignore. The plan was to invent “investment packages”, packs of weeks to rent and subsequently sell for a profit, all paid for with loan agreements brokered by the sales staff, we now know the consequences of that move. Both of these examples of “predatory lending” are ongoing campaigns by AIT to highlight a very concerning problem, one which we think the authorities should address with urgency, especially if the industry itself does not do anything.

If you have any comments or would like further information on any article published, please place your comment on the appropriate article or use our contact page and AIT will get back to you.

We hope you all had a great weekend and AIT would like to wish all our US friends a Happy 4th of July, Baby Dog can smell the party already.




  1. Kenton Knight

    It’s really too bad that timeshare companies have been allowed to prey on our military members. Losing a security clearance due to shady loan practices adversely affects not only the military member but our country as well. Something needs to be done to stop these companies from preying on our military member.

  2. Steve Deal

    Yes, these predatory lending tactics really need to see the light of day and expose the companies that allow and even promote these practices to be seen for the rotten apples they are.

  3. r.s

    This is truly unfortunate. These companies are given so much power and authority to steal and lie to people for there own gain. What a shame.

  4. Chris B.

    The USA government has been infested with crooks that use soundbites and emotional appeal to get votes from unsuspecting victims. When you vote for crooks, you get a crooked government, which is why we are dealing with so much predation and assaults on our freedom; and much of the gov tends to protect parasites. People, wake up! Dismantle the two-party system and elect real intelligent, moral patriots who care about you.

  5. Benn Dover

    Military families make enormous sacrifices for our country, they often face some unique financial challenges. Timeshare should NEVER be one of those financial challenges, especially through predatory lending. Any company that can cross that line obviously lacks ethics and probably would not hesitate to take advantage of any consumer.

  6. Sherida Nett

    The industry is a spider’s web with the Concierge being at the edge of the web. Don’t get stuck into the web. Check in and walk away no matter what the Concierge is dangling before you.

  7. Jude

    There shouldn’t be an “all in” approach that one cannot simply say “I’m done.” People sell, and even trade-in, cars, homes and other big ticket personal items. Even walking away from a service that is no longer satisfying, of value, should be a viable option.

    1. Timeshare Insider

      Reselling cars and homes cannot be equated with timeshare, you don’t own anything apart of a right of use. It is a membership and has no value, you can’t sell a membership to a gym or golf club. Just because the price to “purchase” that membership is high does not put any value on it. You should be able to just walk away, the same as for any other club membership.

  8. Marl

    Time to seriously act at how big the timeshare impacts to consumers when a product doesnt satisfy the value of how it was being sold. Our military servicemen doesnt deserved this, they already suffered enough from unconditionally devoting themselves to serve out country and from being away to thier families. Protect them so as other timeshare consumers from these heartless companies. Time to make a change, time to stop predatory lending tactics.

  9. Joanne Y Peck

    In the US, no one should be permitted to sign a contract for which there is no possible exit during their lifetime. No seller should script the contractual recording for the buyer. No organization should universally require everyone to sign an NDA upon exit. No seller should train their sales force to lie to make a sale.
    And no government should walk away from citizens harmed over and over again by predatory lending and deceptive sales practices: least of all from those in service to their country.

    1. Timeshare Insider

      Thank you for your comment, AIT totally agrees that the signing of the NDA upon exit is wrong, it denies the consumer the right to make public the misdeeds of any organisation which then prejudices others. It also means that the industry has something to hide.

  10. Jack

    In my opinion, Westgate Resorts is an evil corporation.

    The commissioned sales reps call sales agents “consultants”, which seems to alleviate responsibility for anything the reps say “orally”.

    Note the same lies are being reported by thousands of unsuspecting presentation goers throughout the industry, which proves the validity of the plethora of similar complaints.

    Hundreds, if not thousands of people are now being scammed by exit companies because so many are desperate to get out of Westgate’s and other developer’s lifetime (& beyond…heirs have to file in probate court to disavow ownership responsibilities), that “timeshare exit companies” are swindling desperate timeshare owners out of even more outrageous sums of money.

    Nobody seems to know where to turn.

    Timeshare corporations are defrauding customers daily, laughingly called “pitching heat” or “no heat, no eat” among the rank and file and higher. With so little protection they will continue to do so because they know government officials are turning a blind eye.

    It it astonishing that in this day and age, this is happening to so many citizens of the United States.

    Many are trying to figure out why even the Consumer Protection Agency is no match for the Westgate Corporation.

    To top it off, in the presentation the high-pressure, morally unjust sales consultants orally promise that owners can rent out their week for profit, however, none of the larger resorts wants their owners competing with them in terms of renting to third parties, although they do nothing to discourage their sales staff which is purely commission driven, from selling it as an investment opportunity. Worse, the Florida AG protects developers by going after exit companies that promise they can rent, but dismisses our complaints.

    Frighteningly it has become a similar situation to mafia organizations.

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