|Your Location: Timeshare Users Group Advice: Ask Fern - Timeshare Exchange Advice |updated: 5/23/08|
When you buy a timeshare from a developer, or even in a resale, usually membership in RCI (Resort Condominiums International) or II (Interval International) goes along with the sale. You pay dues to one of these organizations, and in exchange get a large catalog ("wish book') with the pictures and descriptions of the various resorts. In addition, the wish book lists the occupancies of the units, the seasonal designations, amenities, etc. In addition, you get updates in magazine with articles, like a travel magazine (II has 4 per year. RCl has 6). Save these, for they sometimes have resorts that are not yet in the wish book. With RCI you can tell by the resort number if it is new to RCI or not (does not mean it is new, just new to RCl) The lowest numbers are the oldest. Newest ones are in the 3000+ range.
To obtain an exchange, you must first SPACEBANK your week (with II this is not necessarily true, but is with RCI). Once you do this, the exchange company is free to give it to somebody else, and you can't get it back, so be sure you want to let it go, and are not going to use it for the year you give them. Some resorts will not let you spacebank until you pay the maintenance, by the way. If yours does, you can pay them an approximation of next year's and they will then confirm for you.
Once you have spacebanked, you may make a REQUEST. When you make the request, if it is not immediately confirmed, you must pay a refundable deposit equal to the fee for the week in order for the search to continue. The best way to obtain something is to be as broad with your request as you can. In other words, give them a range of dates to look for (usually I give them a month or so) and an area or a list of at least several timeshares that you would stay at. If possible, you should make this request a year in advance, since the most spacebankings are done either just under a year in advance or when maintenance is paid (which will be around the first of the year for many). January and February are very busy months for RCI. This time of year I am not even hearing Muzak when I call.
Once you make the request, you ask them to "call to confirm," and then they will have to contact you to see if the unit is what you want. When this happens, it is your right to ask for a 24-hour hold while you discuss it with your spouse, obtain air fare, or ask us about it. If you do not call back within the time, though, you lose it.
I believe in calling when I have an exchange pending; sometimes they come up with something I would take, but not on my list, if I only knew!
If for some reason you need to cancel your exchange, RCI allows a grace period of 24hrs to cancel exchanges without penalty. There is a charge of $75 if the exchange date is 60 days or more. No refunds for cancellations less than 60 days out.
Visit Fern on the Timeshare Users Group Online Community forums at http://www.tugbbs.com/forums where information is always free!
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