Common sense ideas for timeshare buyers and sellers to help avoid being taken advantage of

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TimeSharing Today urges owners use these tips when dealing with solicitors or paying high upfront fees

Avoid paying high-up front fees. Deal only with reliable sources. Rent before you buy.

Since 1991, TimeSharing Today magazine has published numerous articles describing the positive experiences of timeshare owners. According to Shep Altshuler, publisher, “In contrast to those upbeat commentaries, we have received countless complaints about owners falling prey to timeshare scams, making false promises of having a ‘buyer’ who doesn’t exist. Those promises end up costing consumers millions of dollars.”

“Timeshare ownership has a unique place in the hospitality industry. There is no other segment of the industry that simultaneously delivers a truly happy travel experience for owners and their families, while suffering a terrible reputation as being a rip-off in the mainstream media,” he added.

As a result of the negativity, there has been an emergence of companies that charge high fees to help owners get out of their timeshare obligations. Often, the owners end up finding out they are still obligated to pay the maintenance fees.

There are common-sense ways to avoid being taken advantage of.

  • Contact your resort first. Timeshare ownership involves a long-term commitment, but many timeshare resorts are offering deed back arrangements. Some prominent vacation clubs will take back deeds on a selective basis. A growing number of independent resorts have implemented programs allowing owners to turn in their deeds for a fee. These programs enable the resorts to recover title, without having to foreclose. The fees contribute funds to the timeshares Owners Associations.

An owner contacted TimeSharing Today saying that he paid a company $3500 to help end his obligations. While waiting for paperwork from the company, the owner decided to call his resort. He found out that he could turn back his timeshare deed at a cost of $350. He asked if TimeSharing Today could help get a refund from the company. This time, the owner received a full refund, but it’s not the usual outcome.

  • Avoid paying high up-front fees to solicitors. You’ve seen the news reports about arrests by law enforcement agencies of email and telemarketing scams that target timeshare owners. Millions of dollars are lost each year by owners who are desperate to get out of their obligations. Never give out your personal information to solicitors.
  • Deal with reliable sources. There are licensed timeshare resale brokers who work with owners on a commission only basis. They can advise seller about the value of their timeshare. Several licensed timeshare brokers and affordable online advertising services can be found in TimeSharing Today.
  • Know what you’re buying. A growing number of consumers are enjoying memberships in vacation or travel clubs. However, it’s important to learn how each program works. Points based programs can be costly and confusing. Do your homework. Evaluate the cost/benefits, know the process for redeeming points. Remember, points may not have any residual value.
  • Rent before you buy. Take advantage of rental opportunities at professionally managed resorts. Suite Vacations, showcases properties with suite-style amenities, that include kitchens. You can book directly with the resorts and a personalized travel agency/concierge service is available.

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Shep Altshuler-Publisher
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