From the California Attorney General
Timeshares might seem like a good deal, but beware. Timeshares often have large fees in addition to the purchase price. Some fees, such as maintenance fees, can rise each year without a limit, so the timeshare can quickly become unaffordable. Also, double check any promises a salesperson makes and make sure important terms are in writing in the contract. Salespeople may lie and pressure you to buy because they can make a very large commission from the sale. Ask lots of questions and do your research to see what others have to say about the timeshare company or resort.
If you want to buy a timeshare, consider buying on the secondary market. Timeshares often lose a lot of their value after they are first sold, and many timeshare owners need to sell their timeshare because the fees are too high or they no longer want them. It can be hard for owners to sell timeshares, so significant discounts may be available. Thus, you may be able to find better deals on the secondary market, but understand that you also may have difficulty selling it later if you need to. If you purchase or take over a timeshare, be sure you understand all the costs and fees associated with it, and read the contract carefully so you know what you are agreeing to.
Timeshare Resale Scams
Timeshare buyers often regret their purchase and try to sell them. Beware of scams by timeshare resellers who offer to help you sell your timeshare.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
⇒ Don’t pay any fees upfront even if the company promises a “money-back guarantee.” The reseller’s fees should come out of the proceeds after a sale is complete.
⇒ Make sure to get everything in writing. Be sure to get a written contract that accurately reflects the promises that have been made to you.
⇒ Be wary of resellers that tell you they have buyers “on the line” or “in their office” ready to buy your timeshare. It’s likely a lie to pressure you to commit on the spot.
⇒ Do your homework. Even companies with celebrity endorsements and Better Business Bureau accreditation might try to sell you something that you will regret. Again, don’t pay any fees upfront even with a “money-back guarantee.”
Timeshare Recovery Scams
Timeshare recovery scams re-victimize people who were already defrauded in a resale scam. Victims are promised assistance in getting back the money they lost from a resale scam, or told a restitution award from a fund designated for victims of timeshare resale fraud is waiting for them … for a fee. As with the timeshare resale scam, never pay any upfront fees and do your homework to determine whether the offer is legitimate.
Additional Resources and Complaints
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides helpful information on Timeshares, including an infographic on Timeshare Resale Scams. Consumer Reports also provides helpful information on identifying the warning signs of timeshare resale scams.
Reprinted from the website of the California Attorney General.