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Are Timeshares Scams?

Timeshare units are a hot commodity in the hospitality and vacation business. In 2020, the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) reported that close to ten million American households currently owned a timeshare property.

While that's a significant number of people on the timeshare bandwagon, it doesn't necessarily mean they are a good financial investment compared to hotels or a membership to vacation clubs. Many people are looking for ways off that wagon as the number of unhappy owners in the timeshare market increases each year. 

So, if you want to buy a timeshare, here are a few things to consider:

What To Know Before Buying a Timeshare

More times than not, timeshare properties are sold to potential buyers who know very little, if anything, about what they are purchasing. The truth is if more people knew that timeshares were not the highly touted investment salespeople paraded them to be, then the timeshare industry might disappear.

So, before you make a potential lifetime commitment to any timeshare management company, here are a few things you need to consider:

  • Timeshares often are sold using questionable tactics
  • The actual cost of your timeshare is more than you think
  • The resort may not keep its promise of a lifetime of vacations dates
  • It's incredibly complicated to get out of a deeded timeshare title agreement

How Many Americans are Timeshare Owners?

Recent studies show that 9.6 million U.S. households own one or more timeshare weeks. And that number appears to be rising. Alas, the cost of these vacation properties continues to increase as well. ARDA reports the average sales price for a timeshare to be $22,942. Considering how many Americans buy timeshares at that price, these resorts now make up a ten-billion-dollar-sized industry.

It's also worth considering the number of owners who regret their timeshare purchase. A study from the University of Central Florida concluded that an astounding 85% of owners regretted buying a timeshare. Keep in mind that as the timeshare industry grows, so does the timeshare exit industry. And it appears for good reason, too, as more and more buyers are left feeling disappointed or even scammed.

Are Timeshare Presentations A Scam?

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To no fault but their own, timeshare presentations have developed a reputation for being deceptive. 

Resort companies sometimes entice people to attend presentations by offering free stays at their luxurious resort or giving out lavish gifts during your vacation trip. Often, it’s the only way to get people to listen to their sales pitch. During these presentations, sales staff use controversial approaches to pressure buyers into unfavorable lifetime commitments.

Seeing through the fog of a sales pitch can be tricky. Below, we’ve outlined how you can handle these highly-pressured presentations.

How to Handle Timeshare Presentations

Here are three suggestions on how to handle a timeshare presentation to ensure you don’t get taken advantage of:

  1. Look Out For The Warning Signs: Were you offered a free prize to attend this meeting? Do the salespeople come off as abrasive? Are you stuck waiting through a presentation longer than you want? Is this offer only valid today? If you answer yes to any of these, you are likely in danger of a scam. 
  2. Ask About The Rescission Period: A rescission period is also known as the "cooling-off period." After the purchase, it is a short time you have to cancel a timeshare with no consequences. Most buyers are not aware of this right of rescission until it's too late, so be sure to ask during the presentation.
  3. Don't Rush Into A Decision: Timeshare presentations often rush you into a commitment without thinking. But timeshares can be expensive agreements that last a lifetime. For that reason, take your time to do plenty of research before signing any agreement. 

Are Timeshares Worth It

Timeshare salespeople regularly brag that their type of timeshare membership is a ‘great investment.’ Well, financially speaking, that’s not true. Buy one today, and it will begin to depreciate by tomorrow. Match that with the fact that the expenses continuously rise, and it’s evident that timeshares are not worth it.

Why Are Timeshares Bad?

Not only do timeshares start losing their value immediately, but they also come with a number of hidden fees, including maintenance fees and closing costs. These additional costs are rarely discussed during the sales process and many prospective owners do not account for these fees when making their decision.

Timeshare Maintenance Fees Are Costly

Timeshare maintenance fees get heavily downplayed to the point that sometimes they seldom get mentioned during the sales process. Still, they’re one of the foremost reasons many owners look to get out of their timeshare agreement. 

Maintenance fees never cease. Even after you pay off the mortgage, these fees continue. Maintenance costs also typically increase 2-4% every year. Maintenance is necessary to keep your unit clean and up to date, but eventually, it becomes too burdensome for many owners.

What Happens If I Stop Paying Timeshare Maintenance Fees?

With all the hidden fees that come with a timeshare, affording them can become unmanageable for many people. If that's the case for you, your first instinct may be to stop paying the maintenance fees. Well, you might not want to do that. Failing to pay your maintenance fees can result in property foreclosure, costing you your unit and a sizable drop in your credit score.

How Do You Get Out Of A Timeshare?

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Whether it takes one year or twenty years of vacation ownership, most timeshare owners eventually realize they got a bad deal. From the annual maintenance fees to the fact that it's a lifetime agreement, there are several reasons to ask, "how do I get out of a timeshare?" 

Well, the answer to that can be tricky. Depending on how much time has passed since your purchase date, getting out of the deal can be difficult. But it's not as bad as paying the mortgage and maintenance costs for a lifetime.

First, remember there’s a rescission period directly after buying the timeshare where you can freely cancel the purchase. All you may have to do is write a cancellation letter to your resort developers. Unfortunately, you usually only have five to fifteen days to write this letter. 

Once the cooling-off period of time passes, you can expect a troublesome experience if you want to cancel your agreement. Most timeshare sales are lifetime commitments, and the companies don’t want to lose you as a client.

Is It Difficult to Get Out of Timeshares?

Many timeshare buyers are blatantly lied to on how easy it is to sell or rent their share of the property. Often, it’s almost impossible to do so. Timeshare companies make it very challenging to get out of their agreements and leave you with limited alternatives. Perhaps the biggest downside to getting out of a timeshare is how exposed you become to potential scams.

Timeshare Scams

As the number of unhappy owners has grown higher, the risk of timeshare resale scams has increased. Still new and with limited regulations, the timeshare cancellation industry has seen an influx of scammers. 

Many imposters claim to work in timeshare resales but are con artists. They manipulate those who desperately need help to make some quick cash. Their behavior is fraudulent and immoral. 

Most owners believe that selling their timeshare is the only way out of their agreement. However, reselling is challenging and often impossible. Timeshare cancellation companies offer an alternative option to those in need. 

Avoid The Scam of the Timeshare Resale Market

Navigating your way out of a timeshare agreement is hard. It’s vital to avoid scammers in the secondary market. Here are a few tips on how to prevent getting ripped off:

  1. Ignore Random Phone Calls Claiming To Sell: Phone calls out of the blue claiming to have a "guaranteed buyer" for your timeshare can not be trusted. Credible companies and real estate companies will not call without your permission first. Plus, with timeshares, nothing is ever guaranteed.
  2. Refuse High Upfront Costs By Resellers: ​​Many random callers claiming to sell your timeshare also charge costly money upfront. There are painful stories of people paying an average cost of thousands of dollars to so-called "resellers" who disappear with their money.
  3. Find A Reputable Timeshare Cancellation Company: When looking for a way out of your timeshare, it's essential to do thorough research. Trustworthy timeshare exit companies don’t lie about their services or charge outrageous fees.

How To Report a Timeshare Scam

If you have any information regarding a timeshare resale scam, here are the two sources to report it to:

You can help stop future fraudulent timeshare activity by reporting your experience today. 

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Are Timeshares a Rip-Off?

Many current and former owners feel like their timeshare is a rip-off. However, everybody's experience is different, and it often comes down to the circumstance in which the timeshare got sold.

If you're looking to sell your timeshare, be wary of the resale market. Scammers are rampant. If you want a reliable timeshare exit company, consider Wesley Financial Group, LLC. We are highly rated and well-known in the timeshare exit industry. Let us know how we can help you!

Wesley Financial Group, LLC, and its affiliates, successors, or assigns are not lawyers or a law firm and do not engage in the practice of law or provide legal advice or legal representation. All information, software, services, and comments provided on this site are for informational and self-help purposes and not intended to substitute for professional advice, legal or otherwise.

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