On our consumer protection blog, we’ve shared that owning a timeshare is universally held as a bad financial decision for most Americans, who simply do not get sufficient value from the cost of owning a vacation membership. A quick search on Google for “timeshare complaints” will provide endless pages of negative consumer feedback, regarding the resort, vacationer rent arrangements, fraudulent sales tactics, and very dissatisfied owners who try to rent a timeshare.
In this article, we will discuss the availability of timeshare rentals as a viable and cost saving alternative to ownership, and where to find them.
The Affordable Vacation Sales Pitch
If you have attended at least one timeshare sales presentation, you know that the sales pitch hems on affordability. The numbers the salesperson will review including the cost of buying and maintaining a vacation home, in your desired location (which is the least affordable option for many families).
The next set of costs a timeshare sales person will review are the separate costs of taking 1-2 vacations per year, if you had to rent hotel rooms. Hotels are a less practical option for families, and one that rarely offers the convenience of a kitchen, and laundry facilities that many travelers need to keep their vacation affordable. Suites are even more expensive, but an option for larger families who want to feel like they are sharing the same space (a necessity for families with young children).
After the consumer has agreed that the first two options are more expensive and less accommodating, the timeshare sales professional makes a proposition about ‘leasing’ weeks through a resort membership. They position the timeshare opportunity as more affordable than owning a vacation home, and more flexible and practical than staying in a hotel, while adding that most timeshare resorts offer more family friendly amenities.
The hidden costs of owning a timeshare include:
Maintenance fees (which can increase any time)
Late or skipped payment penalties (which are compounded on top of regular fees)
When consumers take a closer look at the numbers and the affordability of owning a timeshare, they quickly realize how unpredictable maintenance fees can be, and that is a risk that many people are unwilling to burden themselves with financially. However, the temptation to stay at a five-star resort at a popular destination is difficult to resist, until you realize that you can experience the exact same vacation privilege by renting a timeshare, rather than buying one.
Renting a timeshare provides all the benefits of ownership, without the financial and legal liability of being contractually bound to monthly payments. That means more freedom for consumers, who can choose a variety of locales (instead of being restricted to only one resort, or complicated time-swap arrangements with other owners).
Why Do Timeshares Ask for a Large Upfront Purchase Payment?
The first cost to buying a timeshare is the upfront down payment, or balloon payment that is required to start your contract. Have you ever wondered why timeshares frequently require a deposit of several thousand dollars, just for the privilege of locking you into a long-term lease?
The commissions that are payable to trained timeshare sales teams come out of the initial deposit. Essentially, you are paying for the sales pitch that took two hours or longer to close. That’s convenient for the resort because that means the cost of the actual incentive, the advertising and marketing expenses (including free cash giveaways, cruises, dinner, tickets and other bonus signing offers) cost them nothing.
Remember that for every timeshare the resort sells, the consumer is covering the operational costs of the sales model, and frequently there is plenty of money left over from the buyer’s deposit, to earn some profit too, before membership and maintenance fees even commence. There is only one winner; and it is not the consumer.
How to Rent a Timeshare and Where to Find Them
Keep your options open and your budget on track, by looking online for affordable markets to rent a timeshare in. Many timeshare owners have an arrangement with the resort to market unused and available weeks, and there are some good destinations to choose from. Many consumers trust a timeshare rental that is being provided by the resort, however, managed rentals tend to be higher in price (the resort charges the owner a marketing fee). Listings managed by resorts are frequently available on the resort website, on a directory of available units and dates.
The second alternative is to look for available timeshare rentals that are provided directly by owners. One of the best places to look for a direct rental is EBay™ or Craigslist. A word of caution to vacationers that an online transaction should never occur with a credit card number. Digital payment services like PayPal offer buyer protection (and refund claims) should the renter misrepresent the property or fail to deliver access for the paid vacation time.
Another step for individuals who are attempting to rent privately, is to verify the rental and owner through the timeshare company. While personal details are private, the timeshare may be willing to confirm the owner issuing the rental agreement, and details about the unit.
With so many flexible travel options available today, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would consider buying into the financial burden of a locked in, long-term timeshare. You can have amazing vacations without the monthly and annual obligations, and the uncertainty of not knowing whether your ownership fees will increase, making the affordable vacation solution “not so affordable” anymore.
If you have considered buying a timeshare, we encourage consumers to rent different timeshares and learn how easy the process is to get into the most desirable resorts in prime destinations. If your family enjoys going to the same destination every year, you can also build a positive rapport with the timeshare owner and reserve your week annually. Timeshare owners are looking to recoup some of the ownership costs, and are eager to see their unused weeks successfully rented out.
Take the time to research your timeshare rental options online. And if you, or someone you know is looking to end their long-term timeshare contract, call Aconsumercredit™, and learn more about our team and the advantages of canceling your timeshare.