When one purchases a Timeshare, they are often directed by the resort to a booking company to properly make use of it. Companies like RCI and Interval International are seen as neutral parties, working through membership programs and providing access to resorts all around the world. But how neutral are they? Who owns them, and why?
What is RCI?
RCI, formerly known as Resorts Condominiums International, is a vacation exchange membership program. By purchasing a subscription for their membership program, the consumer is provided the ability to find, price, and book usage for their timeshares. The services offered by RCI, or its main competitor, Interval International, are usually requested by the resorts in order to manage and book timeshares.
In theory, it sounds reasonable, so what’s the catch? What often goes unmentioned is how RCI operates. They claim to be independent from the resorts, offering their services on an unbiased network. However, that is very far from the truth. RCI is a subsidiary company underneath Wyndham, the largest Timeshare conglomerate in the world. And while RCI itself is supposedly based in New Jersey, their corporate headquarters are located in Orlando, Florida—within the same office building as Wyndham’s Corporate Headquarters, at 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida.
Further dispelling the illusion of neutrality is Wyndham’s central booking ‘reservation system’ that most consumers must use, per the contract of their timeshares. This small portion of the contract dictates that as part of a ‘multisite timeshare plan’, they are required to go through RCI in order to manage and utilize the room. This ‘multisite timeshare plan’ will almost always include a “nonspecific time-share interest,” which is the highly restrictive and ever-changing system they refer to when offering accommodations through one or more reservation company—Such as RCI or Interval International—but includes no specific right or verbiage to use any particular accommodations. Meaning that RCI retains the right to withhold any services, benefits, or usage of the Timeshare by the owner.
How Wyndham Uses RCI
Wyndham’s purpose is to develop and sell vacation Timeshares with grandiose promises, complimentary services, and alleged value that ultimately are attributed to ‘points’ in the ‘points system’ of a supposedly neutral booking company. Since these points do not correlate to a real monetary value, nor to any deed of ownership, RCI imposes a variety of restrictions upon the usage of these points, intended to frustrate the consumer into ‘upgrading’ their membership. These restrictions can be both deceptively benign, or outright severe in impact, as no two contracts or booking rules on a given day are the same. The ‘points’ could be extremely undervalued by RCI, or perhaps the required points for a particular package or benefit could have simply increased over night without the owner’s knowledge. Worse still, owners are typically, and artificially, forced to book their stay 11 months in advance, only to still be barred from the usage of their timeshare due to ‘a lack of availability,’ resulting in an entire year of paying for their Timeshare without staying there for even an hour.
As additional costs, fees, and services are silently added, the owner ends up paying an average of about 1000-3000% more to book their Timeshares than what the general public would pay to simply book the room online. In particularly egregious cases, sometimes the owner may find themselves simply unable to book their room at all, while a different consumer can book the exact room in the resort online with little issue—Booked today and stayed the same night without obtuse restrictions.
See our next article for more information regarding upgrades, and how RCI uses booking procedures to make ‘secret profits’ for its parent organization and depriving consumers of their due usage.
To learn more about the Timeshare industry and how it functions, visit, https://thetimesharelawfirm.com
To schedule a consultation, contact The Timeshare Law Firm at, 321-224-1111