Here are 7 things you can do to avoid timeshare scams:
- Don’t ever, ever buy (or sell) ‘on the spot.’ Sleep on it, and take the time
to evaluate whether the deal is a good one.
- If you are offered a prize as an incentive, read the ‘fine print’ on the
prize, and DON’T PAY for anything.
- Read the contract and have it reviewed by an attorney. If the sales person
promised you something that’s not in the contract, don’t sign the contract!
- If the presentation is too high pressure, leave. You have every right to
leave when you want. Simply stand up and politely say ‘thank you very much but
we’re leaving now.’ Then go — don’t let them argue with you.
- Ask for references — and call them. Ask for folks who have been happy and
unhappy with the previous service.
- Don’t ever call a 1-900 number to book a trip — it’s very likely a scam.
- Consider a timeshare the same way you’d consider any other real estate investment.
Do research and educate yourself on the market and the value.
Let’s now talk for a moment about timeshares as real estate investments. A common
question Nolo Press gets asked is “I’ve been told that I shouldn’t buy
a timeshare because it will be hard to sell later. Is this true?”
Here’s their answer:
“Very likely, yes. Timeshare owners face a few difficulties when they try
to sell. The first hurdle is the lack of a strong resale market. Although statistics
vary, all studies show that there are many more timeshare owners wanting to
sell than there are buyers.
“Another problem is the likelihood that you will lose money on the sale
of a timeshare. The original price of a timeshare may have included premiums
of up to 40% to cover sales costs. Also, timeshare properties age and can become
less desirable. So, your resale price may be anywhere from 20% to 60% of the
original purchase price — plus you will have to pay a commission to the broker
(often as high as 20% of the resale price) who sells the property for you.”