Get Rid of Your Marriott Vacation Club Timeshare

Marriott Vacation Club is a popular brand with a long history. Though it was founded with the intention of selling timeshares without misleading people, Marriott still followed industry trends that put buyers at a huge disadvantage. We hear almost daily just how badly Marriott timeshares can hurt people financially, leading many to want to get rid of their Marriott Vacation Club timeshare. People often feel like Marriott’s lies led them to make a purchase they never really wanted. If this sounds like you, keep reading.

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This video is from YouTube and is the opinion of a third party. Though it shows that buying retail is a bad idea, it is our belief that you should not buy at all. You can rent a property for cheaper than your maintenance fees!

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Though Marriott Vacations got its start as a humble food stand and eatery, it now runs a long list of brands:

  • Marriott Vacations Club
  • Sheraton Vacation Club
  • Westin Vacation Club
  • Grand Residences by Marriott
  • Ritz-Carlton Destination Club
  • St. Regis Residence Club
  • Hyatt Residence Club

Making a Name by Doing Good Business

1927 was the company’s first year in business, and it later became a food service management company called Hot Shoppes. J. Willard Marriott, its founder, enjoyed further success when his company signed service contracts with a number of public schools and hospitals. Hot Shoppes opened its first motel in 1957, and changed its name to Marriott Corporation in 1967. The company continued adding locations over the next 10 years. Then, in the early 1980s, it began looking for ways to enter the timeshare business.

American Resorts, founded in 1978, would soon become Marriott Corporation’s timeshare division. Insurance executive Edwin McMullen and former accountant Robert Miller founded and ran the company in Lakeland, Florida. They hoped to set themselves apart from Florida’s shady real estate landscape. Together, the two men developed a 123-unit resort on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. This is now Marriott’s Monarch at Sea Pines resort.

Marriott spent around $20 million to acquire American Resorts in 1984. McMullen and Miller kept positions within the company. In keeping with their vision, they chose to continue selling fairly. Florida Trend explains that Marriott chose not to use the industry’s famous high-pressure sales tactics. Instead, “it replaced the rigid fixed-week structure with floating weeks that gave buyers more flexibility.” Under Miller’s leadership, Marriott grew profits to over $250 million.

Steady Growth, Some Controversy

The 1990s and 2000s were a busy period for the Marriott’s rise to the top of the hospitality and timeshare industry:

  • In 1990, it partnered with ILG, allowing owners to trade weeks for other locations.
  • 1993 saw Marriott Corporation divide into two companies. It became Host Marriott and Marriott International.
  • Steve Weisz became CEO in 1996, and the company began expanding internationally.
  • Then, Marriott rolled out the Ritz-Carlton Club, its first vacation ownership program, in 1999. The company saw continued success and growth through the mid-2000s, with its timeshare sector generating billions.
  • However, the 2008 recession set back profits. Only about a third of sales were to new owners, down from almost twice that number.

Over the next few years, Marriott would make several changes to stay relevant in the industry. One of these was a key move away from fixed and floating week-based timeshares. Marriott would instead move its owners toward a point system. However, this system would cause some trouble down the line.

In 2010, it introduced the Marriott Vacation Club Destinations program. This would let owners use “Vacation Club Points” to book trips instead of the weeks of the past. Marriott Vacation Club was then spun off in 2011 into a separate, public company (NYSE: VAC). Marriott Vacations Worldwide continued working with MVC to keep its network large, and further expanded in 2018 when they bought timeshare exchange company ILG.

While Marriott was very successful, some of its owners began to realize that what they owned didn’t live up to the company’s promises in more ways than one. To address this, Anthony and Beth Lennen, who were owners at Marriott’s Marco Island, Florida property, led a class-action lawsuit against the company. Among 18 other items, the suit included “three violations of the RICO Act, the law initially created to prosecute organized crime” (Florida Trend). The big problem was that Marriott sold timeshares as a good alternative to property ownership and vacations. Marriott sold the rights to its properties to more people than its resorts could hold. This was against the usage rules in the Lennens’ purchase contract, so doing this violated their ownership rights.

Marriott did its best to have the suit thrown out, but the Lennens did not give up. In May 2019, Marriott owners continued their efforts to take the company to court. Many, many owners are still angry with Marriott for their lies.

What About the Owners this Lawsuit Left Behind?

While a lawsuit is good news for some owners, many still find themselves left with nowhere to turn once they realize they have been scammed out of thousands. They may be outside their rescission period, or unsure of the company was really at fault. Many of our clients describe a stressful, emotional sales process, full of promises they thought for years would come true, but never did. This lawsuit may fix some of these issues, but we still hear very often that sales reps are still lying to make sales.

For instance, sales reps used the merger between Marriott and Starwood to pressure owners into buying so they wouldn’t “lose out” on the new changes to come. They also said the money put toward owners’ existing contracts would be worthless without an upgrade. Among many other lies, buyers were told:

  • They could refinance their loans, especially with a good credit score. However, after buying, they found out their bank was not willing to refinance anything.*
  • Marriott would happily buy back their timeshare if need be, “to keep the value of their properties up for other owners,” when that wasn’t true at all.*
  • They were getting the best price available to military veterans. This is a lie. Those who have served in the military can enjoy much cheaper vacations through the Armed Forces Vacation Club.*
  • Paying their maintenance fees early would earn them bonus points. This is just not true.**

Many people decide to buy a timeshare based on these things. When they discover they were lied to, they often realize it is in their best interest to get rid of their timeshare.

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What To Do Now?

However, because they might be in a financial bind, many owners think their only option is to pay it off. That is not the only way out. If you believe that Marriott has lied to you, please contact us. We are here to help cancel your ownership and get it out of your life.

Call us today at 1-800-604-3989 or fill out the short quiz at the top of this page.