Special assessment fees - Aren´t timeshares supposed to relieve stress?
A special assessment fee is a payment to the owner´s association in order to offset an expense. This is an extra fee in addition to the ordinary maintenance fees.
Over the years, many timeshare developers have changed the wording of their contracts to better protect their interests. Some timeshare owners are sent a bill for a special assessment, even though there is no mention of these fees in their contract. Others may have it written in their contract but in convoluted wording used to confuse the buyer at the time of signing. For example, the special assessments may be noted in the resort regulations document, and the contract will make a statement that the purchaser has read the regulations and agrees to abide by them.
This is a common scam in the industry used to confuse clients. Many clients are unaware of the details outlined in the regulations document at the time of purchase, or they are verbally misrepresented to believe that there are no additional fees besides the regular maintenance fee payments.
Most timeshare agreements outline terms for maintenance fee payments, which are typically levied annually to timeshare owners. The fees are determined and collected by the Resort Management Company or Home Owners Association based on the type and size of the unit. The maintenance fees should cover routine expenses such as paying for insurance, utilities, refurbishing and taxes. These fees should also include additional funds to build up a reserve to pay for non-recurring costs like furniture, appliances, etc that need replacement periodically and the payment of other capital costs as normal physical deterioration occurs as the resort.
Timeshare Special Assessment
Special Assessments on the other hand, should only be charged for events that are not reasonably foreseeable. This could include such things as natural disasters that cause a lot of damage and could not have been predicted. Replacement of routine items, such as bedding or furniture, should not be considered sufficient reason to levy a special assessment.
If you have been charged a special assessment fee, it is important that the resort clearly outlines the reason for which it is being charged so that you do not receive a fraudulent charge. They should also outline the distribution of your maintenance fee payments to ensure that the funds are not being misappropriated.
A major scam that continues in the timeshare industry is that the special assessment fees, and even the maintenance fees, are levied at very high rates to fund other projects, such as acquiring new properties, instead of for the routine maintenance that is required. Often the clients find that, despite the high fees that they pay every year, the resorts maintenance deteriorates. This is because the funds are not being allocated properly.
Many timeshare companies will levy the special assessments without due cause because they know that the members have few or no options to fight against their large companies. As the companies are located in Mexico, litigating against these companies would require the clients to proceed in fighting a legal battle in Mexico, which many clients are not willing to do due to the large expense, inconvenience and lack of knowledge of the Mexican legal system. In addition, if it is written or referred to in the contract that they are entitled to charge special assessments, the case will not hold up in court.
Most North American clients want to protect their financial health; consequently, their credit score is important to them. As such, they may decide to pay the special assessment, even if it is a scam, in order to avoid any negative information being posted on their credit report. In doing this, the resorts have succeeded in successfully collecting money that is based on fraudulent premises.
Cancel your timeshare
If you have received a bill for a special assessment and you were sold the timeshare plan with no mention of special assessment charges, or verbal promises of no extra fees, contact us today! Instead of paying increasing fees every year, you may be able to cancel your timeshare contract and rid yourself of the obligation to the resort. Contact our staff at MexicanTimeshare Solutions for a free consultation about your situation.
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