3 Ways Developers Trick You Into Timeshare Upgrades


Acknowledging the notoriety of timeshare companies for using high-pressure tactics to attract new buyers and upsell existing ones is crucial for any timeshare owner. These tactics are often employed to entice customers into purchasing a timeshare upgrade, which can feel like agreeing to unnecessary services at an auto shop after only coming in for a simple oil change. However, it’s important to recognize these tactics and avoid falling for them. By understanding the strategies used by timeshare companies, you can identify if you’re being pressured into an unnecessary upgrade and plan a way out of it. So if you’re feeling worn down by a developer who won’t stop pushing for an upgrade, keep reading to learn more.

Is a Timeshare Upgrade Really Necessary?

Recall the moment when you made the decision to purchase a timeshare. It’s likely that you were swayed by glossy images of happy vacationers lounging on pristine beaches in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico or Miami, Florida, and a sales pitch that made vacation ownership seem like a luxurious and convenient option. So why, all of a sudden, is your initial purchase no longer sufficient? Why is your timeshare company pressuring you to upgrade?

Although your once-new timeshare may lose value over time and your resort may require updates, that’s what maintenance fees and special assessments are for. There’s no real need for you to upgrade your timeshare, and your company shouldn’t be coercing you into a new membership that you don’t truly want. Unfortunately, many timeshare owners find themselves under pressure to upgrade, often through claims that the new membership will provide a better experience or replace their old membership, or that upgrading will lower their maintenance fees when the opposite is true.

Be on the lookout for these upgrade tactics so you can avoid falling victim to them.

The Membership Upgrade That Becomes Two Timeshares

Timeshare company mergers often play a significant role in persuading or even pressuring timeshare owners to upgrade their membership. One such example is the merger between Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) and Diamond Resorts. HGV is a highly profitable Florida-based timeshare company that owns numerous properties worldwide, while Diamond Resorts is a lower-tier provider that HGV acquired in 2021. As a result of this merger, a new membership tier called HGV Max was introduced, which supposedly enhances the vacation experience for owners of both companies.

While HGV is known for offering a variety of membership options, such as the Hilton Grand Vacation Club and Hilton Grand Vacations Elite, HGV Max is unique. It allows members to stay at both Diamond and Hilton Grand Vacation properties. However, when companies merge, they often create new membership tiers, which can result in additional charges. It’s crucial to understand the costs and commitments associated with any upgrade before agreeing to it.

Some developers view timeshare upgrades as an opportunity to sell a second timeshare, and unfortunately, many owners end up making this costly mistake. Sales representatives from various companies may claim that the upgraded membership replaces the old property, but in reality, the customer is signed up for a second timeshare and must pay two rounds of maintenance fees. Be sure to carefully consider any upgrade offers and understand the full financial impact before making a decision.

Equity Discounts and Lower Maintenance Fees

Developers may use a tactic to persuade you into a timeshare upgrade by promising that the equity you have in your current timeshare will transfer to the new one, just like in a real estate transaction. However, this claim is typically misleading. Would you sell a paid-off $300,000 house and put the equity toward a $1 million house of the same size? It seems unlikely. Similarly, many timeshare companies use this “equity discount” as a guise to encourage you to pay excessively inflated prices for a new membership, which is not proportional to its actual value. Besides, you may have to pay additional upfront charges, aside from the timeshare cost, to upgrade your membership.

Additionally, timeshare companies claim that upgrading will reduce your maintenance fees. They might tell you that if you upgrade, your benefits will improve, and your annual fees will decrease. However, the actuality is that your new membership will be less expensive than your current one, and you’ll still have to pay the maintenance fees you owe for the present membership. Moreover, you will be charged fees on a new property that you may not know about until it’s too late to cancel.

Confusing Contract Jargon

Developers often use confusing language in timeshare contracts to deceive people into owning timeshares, making it challenging to cancel them after the rescission period. If you were tricked into owning a timeshare, be cautious of a timeshare upgrade. Review any new contracts related to an upgraded membership thoroughly, as they may contain warning signs. The contract should clearly state that your original membership or deeded week is being relinquished by the developer. If this language is absent, it is probable that you are being enrolled in a second timeshare membership or property, which will increase your membership and maintenance fees, rather than upgrading your current membership. It is not an upgrade; it is merely an additional financial obligation that the developer is imposing on you.

Don’t Fall for a Timeshare Upgrade

From what we have discussed, it is clear that timeshare upgrades are often a ploy by developers to sell additional timeshares or expensive memberships that do not add value to the timeshare experience. This is just one of many reasons why buying a timeshare is not recommended.

However, if you find yourself in a situation where you have been deceived into owning an additional timeshare or paying for a membership you didn’t want, you should contact Centerstone Group. Our team of timeshare exit specialists is experienced in protecting timeshare owners from scammers who use high-pressure tactics, resale scams, and unauthorized wire transfers. We have an excellent rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with a 4.78 out of 5 stars and an A+ rating.

If you have been a victim of a timeshare scam and tricked into a timeshare upgrade that did not meet your expectations, please contact us for a free consultation. We are always here to help you resolve your contract issues.


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