Every year, more and more families fall victim to the deceitful timeshare industry and are trapped into an agreement that continuously requires payments, whether they use the timeshare or not. Despite their fraudulent activity becoming more well known to the public, timeshares still remain a hot commodity within the vacation industry. So, why exactly do people consistently continue to purchase timeshares when we all know how bad of an idea it is to do so?
Well, when you step back and look at all the data you began to notice many similarities with timeshare owners and how they all became such owners. Almost everyone experiences some sort of bribery before attending a sales presentation and once there, they encounter highly-trained salespeople who use high-pressure sales tactics on them until they feel as if they have to agree to whatever it is being sold.
If these vacation properties are as valuable as they allege, then it should not take such 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.
Timeshares are vacation properties sold as shared ownership, so there will essentially be several different owners of the unit who split up the property costs and the time spent there. On paper, it sounds like a good idea, right? That feeling will quickly fade when all the extra costs 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 somehow 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?
The absolute best case scenario as a timeshare 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. This includes added costs that must be paid every year whether your unit is paid off or not 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 also one of the biggest issues that owners face.
According to the American Resort Development Association, the average cost for a timeshare unit 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.
Maintenance fees are often left out of the sales presentations, and if they are mentioned, their impact is drastically undersold to potential clients as minimal payments. These fees may seem reasonable at first, so a lot of owners will just let it slide, but here's the catch: The cost of an annual maintenance fee increases every year, and the average annual cost in 2018 was close to $900 and rising. Timeshares are not like other forms of real estate, so do not expect to ever be free of payments if you purchase one.
With the excessive 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 do receive is insignificant compared to the price, then it is a poor investment if it can even be considered an investment at all.
It is quite common 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 the mistake they made in purchasing it, to begin with. Unfortunately, selling a timeshare on the secondary market, or renting it out, will be close to impossible. If you purchase one of these units, expect to pay a hefty amount for it, but do not ever expect to make anything back from it.
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 and legally cancel the agreement. If you are lucky enough to still be in the rescission period, then 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 as it is a binding contract with many stipulations.
When you purchased your timeshare, they probably rushed you through the signing process and made it feel relatively easy. Don't expect the same treatment when trying to get out of it though. Attempting to cancel, can be a cruel course for you and your family, costing you your money and time. The timeshare companies are very aware that many of their clients will regret their purchase and attempt to exit, and so they make sure the contractual agreements are filled with conditions and provisions that will make exiting very difficult.
Timeshares go far out of their way to ensure the company will be financially protected if an owner ever attempts to leave, and the company will not be the one obligated to the burden. Many timeshare owners are left feeling helpless and hopeless because they can no longer afford their property costs, but they receive no help from the company to reach a solution for both sides.
The only thing worse than a scam is getting scammed again when trying to get out of the first one! If you have been scammed before, then 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.
These scam companies will call people who have listed their timeshares for sale online and will claim they have an interested buyer on another line. They will then attempt to convince you to sell your timeshare right there at that moment, 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 along with still owning your timeshare and being obligated for all payments.
If you are attempting to sell your property and posting it online, then you will most likely have several encounters with scammers. It is important to be skeptical of anyone that calls you out the blue saying they can sell your timeshare immediately. Also, it is important to never pay any upfront fees the first time speaking with an alleged timeshare resale company.
These timeshare resale scam companies prey on those who have already been scammed before by buying a timeshare. 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. You should always take your own time to properly research before deciding to work any further with them.
As mentioned above, if it is an unsolicited call regarding the resale of your property then it is best to ignore it. If there are warning signs, then this is one. A credible and honest-living timeshare cancellation company will not be cold-calling people saying they can sell your unit. These scammers will use similar tactics to those of 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 true 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. This is an immediate red flag. The moment they ask you to pay anything upfront, hang up because they are not a true timeshare reseller, but instead only there for your money. You already lost thousands of dollars in a timeshare you obviously want out of. Do not fall for another rip-off.
The timeshare industry 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 in finding a legitimate way out. These resorts need many owners for all their units so they can stay afloat financially, and this is why they go to 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 timeshare scams. For this reason, the best thing to do is stay as far away as possible from the timeshare industry.