Timeshare Philosophy: A Platonian Perspective

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When you’re forced to write a regular blog about timeshares, a/k/a, ‘vacation ownership’ plans, you’re always looking for fresh perspectives on what they really are and what if any merit there is to the concept. In the interest of avoiding endless repetition, sometimes you’re even forced to reach a little. This is one of those times.
 
Plato was the first to articulate the concept of archetypical phenomena. At the risk of oversimplifying, an archetype in the platonian tradition is simply an idealized version of an object or abstraction. The archetype thus lacks physical substance, but represents instead the ‘essence’ of the thing conceptualized. In the platonian realm, seemingly ‘real’ objects are but penumbras – shadowy and flawed manifestations of their idealized archetypical essence.
 
A platonian timeshare is a good thing. It has the appeal of ownership of one’s own resort condominium property, uniquely accessible at least once annually in a desirable location or locations. It’s not just a hotel room, but a condominium unit. Much larger, much nicer. You can’t be there to take care of it most of the time, but you don’t have to. Other people maintain it for you. Because you ‘own’ it, unlike a rental unit, you’re actually invested in it. Thus you can rent it out or even sell it. And best of all, if you’re on some kind of ‘points’ or exchange system, you can access dozens of similar resorts, each one more opulent than the one before, all over the world.
 
real timeshare, not to be confused with its archetypical counterpart, is not as good. Although you ‘own’ it, as a practical matter the resort developer has unique access to your ‘ownership’ information, especially contact data, as well as that of all the other ‘owners.’ This superior access to information allows the developer to circulate voting proxies, installing its own stooges onto the board of the owner’s association. These insiders, in turn, hire an affiliate of the developer to manage the resort. The actual ‘owners’, who lack this critical contact information, are unable to galvanize meaningful opposition to the rigged process. Thus, resort ‘maintenance’ fees are higher than they would be for a standard condominium – higher by an order of magnitude. If you do some basic arithmetic, multiplying your one week annual dues by 52 weekly intervals, you’ll see for yourself.
 
The penumbral timeshare also diverges from its philosophical counterpart in terms of accessibility. Those ‘points’ of access that sounded so good in theory are decidedly less appealing in practice. Especially since they keep selling more and more of them, without actually building anything new. They were supposed to get you to Hawaii, but now you can’t even get to Hackensack.
 
Think of it as a hunt club. You bought into it first, and hunted to your heart’s content. Trophy after trophy, meal after meal. Your garage freezer was stocked with venison. But after a season or two, you couldn’t help but notice that your haul was diminishing. Maybe you get a stray yearling if you’re lucky. Soon you’ll be  lucky to bag a rabbit. And who are these peculiar fellows in the lodge? Didn’t you used to have the run of the place? Now you’re sharing a room with some guy named Brutus. Next year you’ll be sleeping on a cot.
 
The platonian timeshare also differs from its real world version in terms of its ‘investment’ aspect. If Plato owned a timeshare, he’d loosen his toga, and relax on his timeshare sofa. He’d rent it out every year he couldn’t use it. And when he got a little older and didn’t really use it at all, he’d sell it to someone younger with a family – Aristotle, perhaps. At a profit, no less. But you’re not Plato, not Aristotle. Heck, you’re not even Yogi Berra. You’ve tried to rent it. Lord knows you’ve tried to sell it. Maybe you should have majored in philosophy.  Surely you would have steered a mile clear of this catastrophe.
 
And so the moral of the story is this: Philosophy can have practical applications. Also, timeshares are not good.  And call us to discuss how to get out of them. We can address your legal options  free of charge, including timeshare termination.

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