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Timeshare Scams

Every year, more and more families fall victim to the deceitful timeshare industry and get trapped into an agreement that continuously requires payments. Despite their fraudulent activity becoming more well known to the public, timeshare vacation clubs remain a hot commodity within the travel industry. So, why exactly do people consistently continue to fall for the timeshare scam when we all know how bad of an idea it is?

When you step back and look at all the data, you notice many similarities in how most timeshare owners became such owners. Almost everyone experiences some sort of gift offering before attending a sales presentation. Once there, they encounter highly-trained salespeople who use high-pressure sales tactics until they feel they have to agree to buy whatever is for sale.

If these vacation properties are as valuable as they allege, it should not take deceptive approaches to sell them. Let's look into what makes up a timeshare, and perhaps we will find out exactly why the salespeople feel the need to bend the truth so often.

What Are Timeshares?

Timeshares are vacation properties sold as shared ownership, so there will essentially be several different unit owners who split up the property costs and the time spent there. On paper, it sounds like a good idea. That feeling will quickly fade when all the extra charges start piling up, and you find yourself with a mountain of debt and unable to get out from under it.

Even if you are up to date on all your property payments, it can still be difficult to book your weekly vacation each year. Imagine paying thousands of dollars on a vacation property and not even being able to stay there. That's what so many timeshare owners are experiencing right now. Do you want to be one of them?    

Why Timeshares Are Bad

The absolute best-case scenario as an owner is that you are reserving your vacation for future years. Again, this could be an ideal situation if you only plan to visit the same place and at the same time every year, but even then, most owners are left unaware of the specifics of their agreement. That includes added costs to be paid every year, whether or not you've paid off the timeshare's mortgage and increasing maintenance fees. The fact that timeshares are sold as investments when in all actuality, they are money pits that you cannot escape from is one of the most significant issues that owners face.

Timeshares Are Never Paid Off

According to the American Resort Development Association, the average cost for a timeshare unit from a resort developer in 2018 was just below $21,000. So one would think that paying off their timeshare mortgage after many years would be a cause for celebration. Well, hold the confetti because you may be unaware of maintenance fees.

The mention of maintenance fees often gets left out of the sales presentations, and if not, their impact gets drastically undersold to potential clients as minimal payments. These fees may seem reasonable initially, so many owners will just let it slide, but here's the catch:  The cost of an annual maintenance fee increases every year, and the yearly average price in 2018 was close to $900 and rising. Timeshares aren't like traditional real estate, so don't expect to be free of payments if you purchase one.

Timeshares Are Poor Investments

With the high closing costs that it takes to purchase and maintain a timeshare, these properties should hold a high value as an investment should. But, just as timeshares mask themselves as real estate, they also attempt to disguise themselves as an actual investment. If you are constantly paying for something and not receiving anything in return, or what you receive is insignificant compared to the price, it's a poor investment. That is if it's considered an investment at all.

It is pretty standard for owners to feel regret and shame after realizing what a timeshare truly is. They often attempt to get rid of their timeshare once they recognize their mistake in purchasing it. Unfortunately, selling a timeshare on the secondary market, or using it as a vacation rental, will be nearly impossible. If you buy one of these units, expect to pay a hefty amount, but do not ever expect to make anything back from it.

How To Get Out Of A Timeshare

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After realizing there were so many hidden costs and you become fed up with the nonstop lies from salespeople, some people now want to get out of their timeshare agreement. When purchasing, you have the right of rescission directly following it, also known as a cooling-off period. This period is where you can easily cancel the agreement. If you are lucky enough to still be in the rescission period, all you have to do is write a cancellation letter to your timeshare company, and it should not be any more trouble from there.

Now, are you ready for another catch? This cooling-off period typically only lasts for a couple of days after the purchase.

So let's say you attended one of the mandatory sales presentations at the resort on one of the first few days of your vacation and purchased a timeshare. Now, by the time your vacation is over and you return home, you will most likely be out of the rescission period and now stuck with the timeshare. Once this period of time has passed, canceling a timeshare becomes tenfold more difficult because there are many more stipulations in place.

Why Is It So Hard To Cancel A Timeshare?

You were probably rushed through the signing process when purchasing, and it all seemed relatively easy. Don't expect the same treatment when trying to get out. Attempting to cancel can be a cruel course for you and your family, costing you your money and time. The timeshare companies know that many of their clients will regret their purchase and attempt to exit. So they make sure to fill their agreements with conditions and provisions that will make leaving very difficult.

Timeshare resorts go far out of their way to ensure the company remains financially protected if an owner ever attempts to leave. The resort company ensures it will never be the one obligated to the burden. Many owners are left feeling helpless and hopeless because they can no longer afford their property costs but receive little to no help from the company to solve these issues.

Timeshare Resale Scams

The only thing worse than one scam is getting scammed again when trying to get out of the first one! If you got scammed before, you should be aware that the chances of it happening again are high, and you need to be extra careful. Due to the extreme difficulty in canceling a timeshare and owners looking for other ways out, such as selling them, there has been an increase of instances where scammers take advantage of these people by pretending to be a timeshare resale company. 

Timeshare resale scammers will call people who have listed their unit for sale online and claim to be real estate brokers who have an interested buyer on another line. They will then attempt to convince you to sell your property unit right then, and all you have to do is pay the upfront costs to close the deal. If you follow through with this, you could be out of thousands of dollars and remain obligated to make future timeshare payments.

How To Spot One Of These Scams

If you attempt to sell your property and post it online, you will most likely have several encounters with scammers. It is vital to be skeptical of anyone who calls you out of the blue, saying they can immediately sell your unit. Also, it is crucial never to pay any upfront fees the first time speaking with an alleged timeshare resale company.

These timeshare resale scam companies prey on those already scammed before. Knowing these people are desperate and in a weak state, as they attempt to get out of their first scam, they will go to extreme lengths to convince you they are a legit company. It would be best to take your own time to properly research before working further with them.

Ignore Unsolicited Calls

If it is an unsolicited phone call regarding your property's resale, it is best to ignore it. If there are warning signs, then this is one. Credible and honest-living timeshare exit companies will not be cold-calling people by saying they can sell your unit. These scammers will use similar tactics to timeshare salespeople and may attempt to incentivize you to speak with them or mislead you into believing they offer a legitimate service. Whenever you advertise your timeshare for sale online, you will encounter these scams left and right, but unfortunately, a genuine buyer will not be as easy to find.

Never Pay Upfront Fees

These scammers will push you to act fast and tell you that you have to pay an upfront fee to complete the sale. Never pay upfront. There are only so many ways to say this, but it needs to be understood. That is an immediate red flag. The moment they ask you to pay anything upfront, hang up because they are not a trustworthy timeshare reseller, but instead only there for your money. You already lost thousands of dollars in a timeshare you want out of, so don't fall for another rip-off.

Summary

The timeshare business is full of scams and dishonest companies looking to undermine innocent people into making poor decisions. Do your research before purchasing a timeshare, and if you have already fallen into that trap, then be sure to do the proper research to find a legitimate way out. These hotel chain resorts need many owners to fill all of their units and stay afloat financially, so they will take extreme measures to secure ownership, even if it is done so in a disingenuous way. Once you have fallen for the first sham, you will be susceptible to more. If you find yourself in such a predicament, the best thing to do is to find credible help within the timeshare exit industry.

If you're hiring a cancellation company, look no further than Wesley Financial Group, LLC (WFG).* Since 2011, WFG has canceled over 16,000 timeshares and eliminated $300,000,000 of timeshare mortgage debt. Schedule a free consultation with WFG representatives today to plan your best course of action! 

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 only and not intended to substitute for professional advice, legal or otherwise.

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