Timeshare maintenance fees are a necessary evil for timeshare holders. They can rise dramatically from one year to the next, which can be a source of financial stress. Most people, when taking out a timeshare contract, would have done their calculations to make sure that annual maintenance fees are affordable within their budget. When maintenance fees rise, however, this can throw the budget out, creating affordability issues that can become incredibly difficult to overcome.
That said, your resort does need to charge maintenance fees. They exist to cover the cost of the resort’s upkeep and other outgoing costs of keeping the resort going. Without your maintenance fees, the resort would fall into disrepair and may even go bankrupt. The problem arises when the annual increase exceeds the rate of inflation and/or seems to include some dubious entities.
When you rent a property, for example, you are obliged to pay rent. You are contractually obliged to do so. The same goes for your timeshare. So if you simply stop paying your maintenance, you will accrue debt and will find yourself subject to collection efforts, missed payment charges, and interest. Stopping payment is therefore an absolute last resort. Your best option is to pay the maintenance fee before speaking to a timeshare legal expert and ascertaining your best route out of the unaffordable contract.
If there is simply no money available for you to pay with, you may consider writing to your resort enclosing a breakdown of your income and outgoings to prove the lack of funds. It’s not guaranteed to put them off, but it may buy you some time to get your money in order. If your timeshare is paid for through a finance company, you may or may not have to write to them instead. If you are able to offer a partial payment, this is certainly better than nothing and shows willing, at least.
If, however, you are convinced of wrongdoing by the resort then holding back on payment while you speak to an expert about your case may be a better avenue for you. Just don’t leave your payment too long. Ascertain whether you have a case before deciding to withhold payment entirely.
The key is to know what your rights are, and act accordingly.