Manhattan Club Timeshare: Nice Place, If You Can Use it

Buying a timeshare in the middle of Manhattan seemed like a wonderful idea four years ago. manhattanclub

For only $12,500 John and Monika Dreslin of Stonington were promised seven nights every three years at the luxurious Manhattan Club.

Of course that doesn’t include the $11,250 in interest cost over 15 years to finance the time share on top of the annual maintenance fee of about $700.

The Manhattan Club turned out to be as luxurious as promised and its location in the heart of Manhattan couldn’t be beat.

If only they could use it when they want to, as they said they were promised when they purchased the time share.

The Drelins and hundreds of other timeshare owners discovered that there are so few units available to them that they have to make reservations up to a year in advance.

What frustrates them is that the developer has plenty of units available to rent to non-owners, including those interested in purchasing a timeshare there.

They have filed complaints with the Attorneys General of New York and Connecticut and with the Better Business Bureau.

The couple is not new to timeshares. They have owned one in Stowe Vermont for 30 years and one in Maui for 12 years.

“We never had a problem,” said John Dreslin, a retired dentist.

That is until this year when they tried to book their seventh night at the Manhattan Club. Every night was already reserved for the rest of this year.

“This year, despite multiple attempts and phone calls, we have been unsuccessful in securing a day that is due us in 2013. We even went so far to ask for any available date during the remaining six months of the year but every time we call, we are told that the Manhattan Club is fully booked,” the couple wrote to Jose Rosario, manager of the club.

“We were advised that we should make reservations nine to twelve months in advance, but then were also told by the reservation staff, that since we only have a one third share, we cannot reserve more than six months in advance.”

However, the couple added, that units were available to the general public.

“When checking the website, units identical to ours are being offered to the nonmember general public on many dates, including the one(s) we had requested.  This is inexcusable since dues-paying members should have first choice of units and dates.”

Officials of the Manhattan Club did not return a message inquiring about Dreslins’ complaint.

However, they did respond to the complaint the couple made to the Better Business Bureau.

Louise Church, director of inventory management at the club, wrote to the BBB that they have a separate pool of units for non-owners and that income from those are used to reduce the maintenance fee. She said that the couple is seeking to make a reservation at the busiest time of the year.

The couple has been placed on a waiting list, Church wrote.

“The waitlist works; we have revamped it and TMC owners are very happy with the results,” she wrote the BBB.

Well it might work for some people but it doesn’t for the Dreslins.

They would love to turn over their timeshare to someone who is willing to take on the remainder of their obligation.

But giving it away doesn’t seem like an option. Church told the BBB that the Club is not interested in refunding the couple. Some owners have tried to sell their timeshare on EBay for as little as $1.

While I recommend against buying a timeshare, if you are going to buy one I have three suggestions:

Make sure whatever the salesman tells you, get it in writing as part of your contract.

Try and purchase the timeshare through a discount seller or on EBay.

Pay for it in cash, don’t finance it through the seller.

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1 Comment on "Manhattan Club Timeshare: Nice Place, If You Can Use it"

  1. When the Manhattan Club was first being renovated for timeshare, my wife showed me an offer for a nearly free night’s stay with the requisite one hour timeshare presentation. Our kids were 10 & 7 and it was in NYC for $100, so we signed up. The room was great; the presentation not so great. I am perhaps not your typical timeshare buyer. I hold an MBA from one of our finest programs and went to the presentation armed with my HP 12C financial calculator. Early in the meeting with the salesperson, I started asking some financial questions about the program. “Help me understand” was my approach. I can rent a room for $XXX.00 or I can pay you more with carrying costs and maintenance together. I was not aggressive, yet, in front of my children, she quickly snapped at me, “I don’t need this sh#t!” At that point, I ended the session, complained to the manager, had the $100 fee waived and received a verbal and written apology from the offending salesperson. I was grateful to her for giving us a quick exit to our day of exploration with the kids in the Big Apple.

    I pay for hotel rooms when I need them. I find great deals. Timeshares are a great concept for the developers and perhaps for people who buy them in the secondary market. Probably they are best for people who buy the use from an owner on a one-off basis. I do own a condo in South Florida, but bought that during the depth of the Great Recession at 1/3 the prior selling price. Zillow says it is worth nearly double my cost. A hotel might be cheaper, but not when you factor in the appreciation of the investment and my utils of satisfaction of having my own stuff in place when I get there.

    Thanks for the article. It brought a smile to my face.

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