I recently attended a Wyndham vacation ownership presentation.
After 5 hours (Yes – 5 hours), my fiancee and I ended up purchasing 105,000 points for 18K with a maintenance charge of $55 per month
Upon returning home, my fiancee and I seriously questioned our decision. We love the idea of being able to take a weekly vacation for the annual cost of the maintenance fee. In addition, they have something known as “last calls” where you can take a weekly vacation for $269 between 2 and 40 days from departure. There are no fees (in the past there was) to allow my parents to take advantage of these last call deals. It all sounded great, but we didn’t really feel comfortable spending $18K.
I came across this group – Timeshare Users Group, which has wealth of information about the industry.
The overwhelming response from these users was RESCIND your membership immediately. Even though you signed the contract, all states have laws (time varies by state) that given you a window to cancel without penalty. In New York (where I live), it is 7 days. We didn’t even realize that we had initialed on the contract twice where there was a statement indicating that we had 7 days to cancel. They breezed over it so quickly that we didn’t even know that we had the right to cancel.
You will be given stacks of papers, but the instructions to cancel the membership are actually on the CD that is given to you. In the instructions, they will give you an address to mail letter indicating that you are canceling your membership. It was a painless process to rescind membership and they did follow-up with alerting me that they received my cancellation letter.
What I learned from this process is that you NEVER BUY FROM THE DEVELOPER. You can always get a much better deal on the resale market.
I could buy that 105,000 points on Ebay for $1. I could probably even get $154,000 points for $1. In particular for Wyndham, you can a great deal from buying points on secondary market. I also was curious to learn more about Marriott. There are also opportunities to buy Marriott points on the resale market. You can probably get a 50% discount on Marriott points (not the 90%+ for Wyndham). The key is to be patient and look for the right deal.
If you plan to purchase on the resale market, you should definitely read more on Timeshare Users Group. On that website, they will give you tips on avoiding any scams and on the information to ask the seller.
It is also worth mentioning that by purchasing on the resale market that you will NOT be able to acquire certain privileges that are awarded to top-tier members at both Wyndham and Marriott. For example if you purchase 400K points from the developer for Wyndham, you are labeled a VIP and get certain privileges like discounts.
STOP READING AND RESCIND YOUR MEMBERSHIP NOW!
FYI – I still think acquiring a vacation ownership is a good idea if you want to travel regularly for a low cost (i.e., maintenance fee). The key is simply saving a lot of money by making the purchases on the resale market.