If we could share the stories of hundreds of disappointed owners who have regretted their purchase, and found themselves trapped in a timeshare contract, it would help others understand that the industry is full of buyers who wish they had never signed on the dotted line because they feel like timeshares are a bad choice. Owners that are looking to understand their situation better, can review thousands of complaints online from other owners, who have found themselves in the exact same situation.
In fact, they have such a terrible reputation and low consumer satisfaction rating, that many buyers who simply want to cancel their timeshare contract criticize themselves for not ‘knowing better’ or for the red tape that exiting the obligation presents. Our team of counselors knows that the psychology behind high-pressure timeshare sales is effective; it’s not your fault for accepting the information that was provided to you at the time of the sale. It’s meant to be attractive to consumers; in fact, the marketing and sales pitch from a timeshare company is engineered to be almost impossible to refuse.
That is deliberate. And that is how they sell so many every year, despite changes in the economy and in consumer financial burden. They make a fortune convincing you that it is a “wise investment”, and that your time is “easy to sell” should you change your mind. Some companies are very good at convincing you that your contract will be worth more in time, and that you will actually profit on your “investment” when it comes time to sell. If that is the case, why are there so many timeshare owners figuratively giving their timeshares away, simply to end the financial obligation of owning one?
With very extraneously few exceptions, the only person that makes money on a timeshare is the developer who sold it to you. We share three reasons that timeshare properties are a bad choice for consumers.
Timeshares Are Expensive
When you buy a timeshare, there can be a low, very lucrative and appealing minimum monthly cost. It is designed that way to lure in consumers with a perception of affordability. When you look at the introductory maintenance and membership fees, it’s difficult to imagine that those fees can double or even triple in less than five years, depending on the nature of your contract. You may be using your timeshare once or twice per year, but the bills arrive every month, and it can be distressing to see those fees continue to rise.
Timeshares Are Hard to Sell
Because smart consumers always ask about selling their timeshare, should they want to cancel their timeshare contract, developers position the resale market as being a strong one. If the resort is popular, your likelihood of reselling your timeshare is moderate at best. If the resort is an older one, in a lower demand vacation area, your chances of selling are marginally low. Why do companies mislead consumers? They want you to think that there is an easy way out of your contract, when in fact, the property appeals to few consumers. In the age of Airbnb, why would you go to the same vacation spot every year, when you could rent for a week or two in a different locale every time? The practicality of paying monthly fees is a hard sell (when you are not bribing it with a free dinner or airfare).
Timeshares Do Not Retain Value
Unless you have purchased a timeshare in an elite, super luxurious resort community that has a track record of increasing vacation demand, you should not expect your timeshare to ever retain its value. In fact, the minute you walk out the door of your vacation property marketing presentation, your timeshare has already depreciated by approximately 50% or more. At any given point, there are not hundreds but thousands of properties available on the resale market; a buyer’s dream, but a seller’s nightmare.
If you know someone who is considering the purchase of a timeshare, we recommend consulting with a financial adviser or legal counsel to review the terms of the contract before buying. Know your rights and your obligations before you make a long-term commitment to prepaid vacation time at the same resort, year after year. Statistically, very few new timeshare owners retain their properties beyond ten years, and when you consider the cost of monthly fees, there are better ways your family could spend their vacation budget.
Get the facts from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on timeshare ownership. If you are ready to take steps to cancel your contract, call us for a free consultation. Protect your credit and exit your timeshare contract for good.