What is a maintenance fee? As owners, we would all agree that maintenance fees is what we pay annually to Marriott to cover the costs of maintaining the property we own. This would include the expenses to run the property, Marriott’s management fee, the reserve fund and the property taxes. On Marriott’s owner website, they have a link to “Pay Maintenance Fees” and a link to “View Maintenance Fee Packages”. Both of which take you to your bill which includes all of the above costs. So it sounds like Marriott is in agreement with us owners as to the costs that comprise a Maintenance fee.
If you have ever called Marriott Owner Services you have most likely been asked, by nearly every customer service rep you speak to, to purchase Marriott’s Travel Insurance to “protect your vacation”. They will tell you that your “Maintenance Fees” will be reimbursed if you have to cancel due to a covered reason. I have even recommended this insurance to all of my clients. The policy from CSA clearly states on the front page “100% of Maintenance and Exchange fee insured”. And we all know what a maintenance fee is, right? WRONG!
A client of mine recently made a claim to CSA for their maintenance fees since they had to cancel their trip to their villa this winter due to a covered medical reason. They submitted their maintenance fee bill clearly showing that they paid $999.40 for their 2012 maintenance fees. They received a check in the amount of $705. “Why the short-fall?”, he asked. After several calls to CSA and Marriott Customer Service, a supervisor clearly explained to him that 100% of Maintenance fees insured really means 100% of the Operating Fee, which does not include Property Taxes nor Replacement Reserve. A difference of $294–almost 30% less than he was expecting and entitled to.
Below is a snapshot of the front page of the CSA policy sold to Marriott owners.
If all you are insured for is the Operating Fee, why does the policy front page state “100% of Maintenance and Exchange fee insured” under Insurance Coverage? When did the phrase “Maintenance Fees” become to mean Operating Fees?? This is deceptive business practices. I encourage all owners who have purchased this insurance to call Marriott and demand their money be refunded or contact the office of the President of Marriott Vacation Club to lodge a complaint. Marriott should not be allowed to get away with this misrepresentation. They need to change the wording of their policy and stand-behind what they have sold to us owners in the past.