Interval International Adds Upgrade Fee with no notice and no explanation

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Jul 4, 2016
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#1
Last Sunday, June 26th, Interval instituted unit size upgrade fees with no notice and no explanation. Suddenly, the fees ($99 per unit size upgrade, so someone trading a studio to a 3 bedroom will pay $297 extra, the actual exchange fee is $179 and that remains the same) appears when people were trying to exchange timeshare (interval is a timeshare exchange company). The interval members are in an uproar. There is a thread on the interval forum, if you have an account, where you can see nearly 300 posts and 10,000 views. http://www.intervalworld.com/web/my/home

Basically, this is an example of a travel company just adding on additional fees without warning an explanation. I'm sure it is legal, however, it is such a bizarre way of doing business, I thought it might be a good article for the Post. So far, Interval is basically telling members to call or look at the FAQs that have been updated. However, this has left a bad taste with many of the Interval Members.

Happy to answer additional questions if needed. Again, I'm not asking that Interval be contracted on my behalf. I am an Interval member, but do not want to get into an argument with them. We've used our timeshare this year and do not have any timeshare weeks until next year.
 
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JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#2
You might post the Relivant FAQ that allows this or maybe the before the change FAQ & the revised. Is this change explained anywhere?
And no we do not have access to your member only site.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jul 4, 2016
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#3
The FAQs are public. Here is the link. http://www.intervalworld.com/web/cs?a=60&p=faq-main

The Q.s on the following are what is at issue. I think the core issue is that before unit upgrades were already allowed without an additional charge - and there was no notice/explanation from Interval of the change.
Q. How can I upgrade to a larger unit?

Unit-size upgrades are offered when making an instant exchange confirmation. Upgrade opportunities are based on availability and are not available for every exchange confirmation.

Q. What is an upgrade step?

Upgrade fees will be charged for each step, or unit size confirmed that is larger than the unit size deposited. For example, if you upgrade a one-bedroom unit to a two-bedroom unit, you will be charged for one upgrade step. If you upgrade a studio unit to a two-bedroom unit, you will be charged for two upgrade steps.

Q. What is the cost to upgrade my unit size?

The cost to upgrade your unit size is $99 per upgrade step. Interval Platinum members will pay a reduced rate of $59 per upgrade step, and Interval Gold members will pay a reduced rate of $79 per upgrade step. The Unit-Size Upgrade fee is in addition to your exchange fee.

There is no upgrade fee for instant exchange confirmations made within the Flexchange window.

Q. How many steps can I upgrade my unit?

The number of steps you can upgrade your unit is based on the unit size of the week you deposited and exchange availability.
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#4
These time share things are very slanted toward the companies, not the consumer.

In your contracts under the terms and conditions is there anything that says they have the right to change their terms?

You can always contact your state attorney generals office and file a complaint if you feel that this is illegal. But this is such an unregulated area that our advise almost always is to speak to an attorney because it is so difficult to fight these companies by yourself.
 
Jul 4, 2016
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#5
I haven't read anything in the Buyer's Guide (their T&C) that would stop them from changing the fees. In the Interval forum, many more experience timeshare owners haven't said that this isn't allowed. I think nearly everyone is bothered by the process and the lack of notice. Maybe there is a good reason for this new upgrade fee, but Interval just hasn't explained it.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#6
The FAQs are public. Here is the link. http://www.intervalworld.com/web/cs?a=60&p=faq-main

The Q.s on the following are what is at issue. I think the core issue is that before unit upgrades were already allowed without an additional charge - and there was no notice/explanation from Interval of the change.
Q. How can I upgrade to a larger unit?

Q. What is an upgrade step?

Q. What is the cost to upgrade my unit size?

Q. How many steps can I upgrade my unit?
We'll need the answers too, please.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#9
Yes as I understand ownership of a certain type of unit, on a certain property = # units. These units can be traded for time in various properties and in various size units.
Apparently the terms and cost of upgrading to larger units and possibly more expensive properties has increased without notice or explaination.

Of course the terms and conditions allow these mgmt companies who operate the properties are allowed to darn near do anything they want ;)
 
Likes: AAGK
Jul 4, 2016
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#10
Basically, if you have a timeshare, you can join, Interval, RCI, or a couple others. Then you can trade your timeshare week for a specific year for another timeshare at a different time and location. We've actually really liked it it the last couple of years. Interval is the middle person that organizes the exchange.

I don't even understand what this is about. Is this some sort of timeshare/home away hybrid?
 
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Neil Maley

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#11
I think many of the time sharemarkets are making it harder for those who are in other time share networks to share. Maybe that's the problem- I can't see where the middleman can arbitrarily change rules- wouldn't it be based on the rules of the company you are trading with?
 
Likes: jsn55
Jul 4, 2016
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#12
Interval is the middleman. Basically, members can choose to deposit a timeshare week with Interval. Then, the member gets a different week based on trading power, availability, and some other complex rules.

I think many of the time sharemarkets are making it harder for those who are in other time share networks to share. Maybe that's the problem- I can't see where the middleman can arbitrarily change rules- wouldn't it be based on the rules of the company you are trading with?
 

Neil Maley

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#13
So wouldn't interval be subject to each companies rule or is this a ploy to make more money off the consumers back?

If they are a middleman they have to make their money somehow.

Is there a way to work this without using them or do you have to use them to trade?
 
Likes: AAGK
Aug 28, 2015
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#14
So wouldn't interval be subject to each companies rule or is this a ploy to make more money off the consumers back?

If they are a middleman they have to make their money somehow.

Is there a way to work this without using them or do you have to use them to trade?
Yes, if there is a specific property you like, is there a way to go directly through them? Although I imagine interval's agreement has language preventing this with its partners. Without knowing more about the agreements In place it's impossible to know.
Often business we like make changes to make more money. There is nothing to be done other than taking your business elsewhere. No point writing the company as the decision was intentional.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#15
Also, vacations are supposed to be fun. This company creates the illusion of transferability and choice to what would otherwise be a simple short term rental booking.
It combines the worst features of both models (the stranglehold of the timeshare commitment with the uncertainty of renting in some strangers house).
 
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Jul 4, 2016
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#16
Interval makes money traditionally by charging a membership fee (about $100/year) to join and then an exchange fee of $179 per exchange. Interval doesn't appear to be subject to various timeshare companies rules ( a timeshare can elect to give owners the option to exchange in Interval or not). I think at by timeshare, RCA is also an option, a competitor to Interval. However, I've already paid membership dues until 2019 to Interval, so that may not make sense.

So wouldn't interval be subject to each companies rule or is this a ploy to make more money off the consumers back?

If they are a middleman they have to make their money somehow.

Is there a way to work this without using them or do you have to use them to trade?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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#17
Interesting. Can I ask an honest question? Is it really worth all of this to go on vacation? Are you really saving money with what you paid upfront, the annual fees and then these fees added in, plus whatever fees it costs you to switch to an all inclusive?

I don't know how many people you are traveling with but couples can do all inclusive from as little as $3000 a week including air. How does that compare with a time share?

I still don't have a firm grasp on time shares and what is ends up costing. I know my brother had one and it cost him money every year whether he went ion vacation or not.
 
Likes: AAGK
Jul 4, 2016
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#18
I think people's experience with timeshares are very mixed. My parents have had several weeks for 25+years and have gotten great value out of them (including exchanges). My wife and I had really good exchanges the last 2 years. However, it does give less flexibility. So... it is worth it? We pay $500/week for our timeshare before the new fees. This is very low since our timeshare is a hotel room unit size. Most people probably pay $1200 to $1700 week. They are probably not saving money. However, timeshares do offer much larger units (1, 2, 3 bedrooms) compared to hotels, so it is not comparing apples to apples. I think the main reason people are upset is that there was no notice and no explanation of the new fees. Interval has since responded, but people still aren't satisfied.


Interesting. Can I ask an honest question? Is it really worth all of this to go on vacation? Are you really saving money with what you paid upfront, the annual fees and then these fees added in, plus whatever fees it costs you to switch to an all inclusive?

I don't know how many people you are traveling with but couples can do all inclusive from as little as $3000 a week including air. How does that compare with a time share?

I still don't have a firm grasp on time shares and what is ends up costing. I know my brother had one and it cost him money every year whether he went ion vacation or not.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#19
What was their response? I would imagine it's "yes we can do it",

It's unfortunate because had you known this was going to happen when you bought, you might not have signed the paperwork if you knew this restriction was going to be in effect.
 
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jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#20
Interesting. Can I ask an honest question? Is it really worth all of this to go on vacation? Are you really saving money with what you paid upfront, the annual fees and then these fees added in, plus whatever fees it costs you to switch to an all inclusive?

I don't know how many people you are traveling with but couples can do all inclusive from as little as $3000 a week including air. How does that compare with a time share?

I still don't have a firm grasp on time shares and what is ends up costing. I know my brother had one and it cost him money every year whether he went ion vacation or not.
As far as the costs, Neil, 20 years ago we looked at a Hyatt timeshare in Lake Tahoe. It was very appealing to both of us (we rarely agree on anything). I sat down with the numbers and found that we could vacation in their Penthouse for a month every year for less than a TS would cost. Of course there is the savings of a full kitchen in a condo, but I'm not a big fan of cooking dinners and cleaning up the kitchen. I'd rather set the room service tray out in the hall.