Timeshare FAQ and Discussion

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wordgirl said: [Q]How about a timeshare FAQ? The thread posted today by user JackAshe (in which he reveals several of the high-pressure tactics used in selling him a overvalued timeshare) is worthy of archiving. The same discussion has surfaced several times here in FWF.

NEVER buy a timeshare at a "sales pitch". IF you decide you want one, buy one AFTERMARKET... like on eBay...

and yes, I went to a presentation and the sell was real hard....
I almost bought one!! <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif" border=0>

This linky is almost EXACTLY how my Timeshare Experience Went...
http://www.johnnyjet.com/folder/timeshareadvice.html
(I must have had the same "dragon lady" closer!)

You have a right of recission of 3 days (in FL, anyway) when you buy.. and the company rep LOSES if you buy and cancel as opposed to not buying.



Some Links:

TimeShare Users Group
They have a nice FAQ Here

ARDA.. American Resort Development Association
FAQ and how to file a complaint regarding a timeshare



As seen in Newsweek:"To find the best deals...haunt sites like TimeSharesToGo.com"



IRS Timeshare FAQ here
(one paragraph about reporting timeshare income)


How to transfer ownership of a timeshare info
Linky..

Glossary of timeshare Terminology

Very Nice veryhungry! I especially like to exploit the timeshare spills to get free tickets and nice resort vacations for a few hundred bucks and another 90 minutes of my time. I'll add in a few past discussions about timeshare that are now inactive.

Timeshare solicitations as inexpensive getaways.....
How and Where to ReSell Timeshare Property?
How is a timeshare reported on a credit report?
Timeshare purchase dilemma EDIT: cancelled
I'm Safe, Thanks: Cancel contract within 5 calendar days.. timeshare in Las Vegas

in vegas the comps in exchange to listen to the spiel is usually not worth it. The buffets are not the best ones and the shows are the second or third tier shows.

Just got back from a timeshare whoppie in Palm Springs. It was at Palm Canyon Resort, a Monarch property. 2 nights plus a $40 meal cert. for $49.

I registered as single, so MsMojo wouldn't need to go to the presentation, but she actually opted to go. She's about to do some major fund raising and wanted to check out the sales techniques.

We arrived at 10am, and were assigned a salesman right away. I think he sensed early on that we were just tire kicking. He was pretty good and quite experienced but when I pointed outthat the 90 minutes were up, he asked once or twice if we were buying, and then released us. No pressure or anything.

For those familiar with Monarch, the deal was 133 points for $9,700. That's one week every other year. Maint is about $350/yr. When I got home I found 133 pts for sale on the secondary market for about $1,900.

I kind of like the Monarch chain. When I have more time to vacation and devote to figuring out the system, we may actually buy 133 Monarch points. We're in Palm Springs quite a bit, and on weekdays an overnight stay is only 9 points, or about $40 if you want to pay cash. I'd also like to check out the II weeks that can be had for pretty reasonable prices. I figure if I pick up a pkg for around $1,600, in a few years if I don't realize any savings I can dump it at pretty close to what my costs were.

did the salesman fill out one of those "box papers"?

they ask you how much you spend on vacation, how many times you go per year?

the answers to those questions usually figures what pressure they put...


veryhungry said: [Q]did the salesman fill out one of those "box papers"?

they ask you how much you spend on vacation, how many times you go per year?

the answers to those questions usually figures what pressure they put...

I tell the salesman I usually stay for free at time shares. That usually puts them in the right frame of mind for getting me out the door ASAP.

Most of these timeshares sell for much less on eBay.

dweick said: [Q]veryhungry said: [Q]did the salesman fill out one of those "box papers"?

they ask you how much you spend on vacation, how many times you go per year?

the answers to those questions usually figures what pressure they put...

I tell the salesman I usually stay for free at time shares. That usually puts them in the right frame of mind for getting me out the door ASAP.

<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>

eBay does have some good deals but the key is to know what your buying and with Timeshares it can be tough.



Tom

Excellent Linky about how they can scare you into not using the right of recission

As per the above linky, there is also different ruules applying when it's not a US timeshare, (although that should be obvious!)
Timeshare Laws in UK.. a good read!

snippets:

Your Rights Under UK Law

The Timeshare Act 1992 already gives buyers protection. The Timeshare Directive gives additional rights, and the Act has been amended to include these rights. If your contract is made under the law of the United Kingdom, the amended Act applies. If you borrow money to pay for the timeshare, and you tell the lender that it is for a timeshare, or if you use a credit card, this agreement is also covered by the amended Act.

Under UK law:

You have a right to a 14 day cooling off period, counted from the day you sign the timeshare contract. During the cooling off period, you have the right to cancel the contract at no cost and to have any associated credit agreement or credit card payment cancelled automatically.

The seller must give you the brochure and contract in your own language, if you ask for it, providing that this is an official European Union language.

It is a criminal offence for the seller to try to sell you a timeshare without giving you the brochure containing the information set out in Section 2, if you ask for it. It is also a criminal offence for the seller to ask for or take any money from you during the cooling off period. Local authority trading standards departments are responsible for enforcement.
--

Linky: article; Cold Hard Facts about selling Timeshares


Deceptive Timeshare Sales

Source: Missouri Attorney General Website

Vacation timeshares


Introduction

Missourians sometimes are targeted by real estate developers and resort communities to buy vacation timeshares, an arrangement in which consumers buy vacation homes, usually in a resort area, for a specific length of time each year.

The property, which typically consists of condominiums, apartments, lodges, cabins or hotel rooms, sometimes is sold by salespersons using high-pressure tactics and misleading advertising. Sometimes, the timeshare property may be a campground where members must provide their own campers or recreational vehicles.


Buyer protections
Major provisions of a state law protecting buyers are:

A five-day right of recision. If a consumer signs a contract to buy a timeshare and then changes his mind, he has five days to cancel. The cancellation must be in writing, and cancellation is effective when the letter is postmarked. According to state law, the seller must give the buyer an 18-point, boldface printed notice of the right to cancel at the time of purchase.

Follow through on promotional offers. The name of the business entity and all timeshare operations involved in the promotion must be included in promotional literature. This material also must contain the deadline by which all prizes are to be awarded, the odds of winning each prize and the manufacturer's suggested retail price for each prize.

Delivery of promised gifts. When the seller uses free offers or other promotions when soliciting, the seller must deliver any promised gifts or an acceptable substitute gift or cash in an amount equal to the retail value of the gift offered within 10 days of when promised. The seller also must make available to the public a list of names and addresses of all winners. If the seller fails to provide the buyer with a promised gift, the buyer can sue.

Explanation of timeshare exchange plans. Exchange plans usually involve trading a vacation at one timeshare facility for a vacation in another location. Limitations, restrictions or priorities regarding exchange programs must be outlined for the buyer. For example, the timeshare operator must tell a buyer if a Lake of the Ozarks vacation can be exchanged for an Alaska vacation only during December.


Understanding timeshares
A timeshare often carries with it a potential for liability for the owner or member. Be sure to obtain and read any restrictions and covenants filed with the recorder of deeds in the county where the timeshare resort is located.

Also, read the bylaws and rules and regulations. Sometimes, timeshare owners and members are subject to "special assessments" in addition to annual maintenance fees.

If you do not understand the full extent of your liability as a member or owner, consult an attorney before buying.

Also, beware of subsequent amendments to these documents. They may affect your liability.


Violations
Under state law, timeshares are defined as merchandise and fall within the guidelines of Missouri's Merchandising Practices Act, Chapter 407, Missouri Revised Statutes.

Use of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, unfair practice or concealment of fact by a person in connection with the sale of timeshares is subject to civil and criminal penalties that may be brought by the Attorney General.


Typical complaints
Complaints range from disappointment with a prize and high-pressure sales tactics to outright deception and fraud. Typical complaints include:

Not informing consumers they must listen to a lengthy sales pitch before receiving their "prizes."

Misrepresenting the facility's physical condition.

Misrepresenting the facility's market value.

Misrepresenting the facility's resale or exchange potential.

Making oral promises that were omitted from the written contract.

Including fees and obligations in the contract that never were mentioned orally.



Press Release


DON’T LET THE PRESSURE OF TIMESHARE SALES COOK YOU


BBB Offers Tips For Travel Plans

Portland, OR/ DuPont, WA — February 19, 2003 — With Northwest weather taking its toll on residents, many people plan sunny spring vacations for a change in scenery, and temperature. The BBB warns to stay away from high-pressure timeshare sales, they may end up costing more than you bargain for.

The following time-share companies have received unsatisfactory records with the BBB and are doing business on a national level:

SVC Pacific Group/Shell Vacations
11818 South East Mill Plain Blvd. #403
Vancouver, WA 98682

SVC Pacific Group/Shell Vacations
16429 7th Pl. W
Lynnwood, WA 98037

Timeshares R Us, Inc.
4702 SW Scholls Ferry Rd. #368
Portland, OR 97225


Complaints against these companies ranged from high-pressure sales techniques to hidden costs and rate hikes. Timeshare salesmen misled consumers about the vacation packages they were selling, overstated the amenities included, told travelers they had won trips when in fact they had not, hid extra charges in "all-inclusive" packages, or charged consumers for products and services they never received.

Many people saw their "dream vacation" turn into a nightmare that wound up costing them hundreds of dollars more than they expected. Some even received a timeshare tour they had not been told about when they booked their trip.

The BBB offers these tips to avoid getting burned;

Ask about maintenance fees. Developers can hike maintenance fees after units are sold. While quality-level certifications are reissued every certain number of years, they can’t guarantee their facility would retain these current high classifications.

Watch out for “fuzzy math.” You may be asked to estimate the price of five vacations and compare it to the timeshare's sales price. Of course, the complete vacation costs included lodging, transportation, food, and sightseeing, while the timeshare price included just the lodging--and even then, just the sales price, not the annual maintenance fee.

Contact your Better Business Bureau for a report on the company you're considering using. When planning to purchase a time-share, be sure to check the company first with the BBB. Be a smart shopper, the BBB suggests requesting a Reliability Report for any company you intend to use. You can find a free copy of companies Reliability Reports online at http://www.thebbb.org/search.html or by calling the BBB at (206) 431-2222.

ABOUT THE BBB
The Better Business Bureau is a non-profit organization funded by BBB member companies. Our mission is to promote the highest ethical marketplace relationship through self-regulation, education and information. Everyday we receive more than 6,500 inquiries through our Web site and phone lines. For more information about our services and products, call us at (206) 431-2222 in Washington or (503) 226-3981 in Oregon. Visit us at 1000 Station Drive, DuPont, WA 98327 or at 333 SW 5th Ave. Suite #406, Portland, OR 97204 or online at www.thebbb.org.


Can anyone confirm this info here?

I had the same speil after "extending my stay" more then the minimum allowed...

so it seems from this linky and my personal experience that if you stay the minimum you get off easier, but if you show interest there has to be a second (in my case 3!) people that have to "allow" you to leave and get your freebies, each one being progressively nastier?

[Q]You may contact the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes, Bureau of Timeshares at (850) 488-1122 for additional information.


Was the "Palm Canyon Resort" the same one here?

Resort

If so it looks like crap

<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>I am an owner of a timeshare in Las Vegas since 2002. My husband and I really love Las Vegas. However, the maintenance fee is constantly escalating it has increased by 15% each year. When we were at the presentation and asked about the maintenance fee the salesmen told us that the highest the fee could increase was 15% but that was rarely. He also showed us a newsletter showing that there were no maintenance rate increase in 2000. Going at this rate in 15 or 20 years the maintenance fee can get as high as $13,000 annually. They tell you this is an investment that you can leave to your heirs and the only thing they have to pay is the maintenance fee, daah. Now that I have had a reality check, I feel like I have a milstone around my neck. Is it wise to keep the timeshare until I can't pay the maintenance fee or try and get out now. We paid over $18,000 for a master/suite.

babycakes1956 said: [Q]<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>I am an owner of a timeshare in Las Vegas since 2002. My husband and I really love Las Vegas. However, the maintenance fee is constantly escalating it has increased by 15% each year. When we were at the presentation and asked about the maintenance fee the salesmen told us that the highest the fee could increase was 15% but that was rarely. He also showed us a newsletter showing that there were no maintenance rate increase in 2000. Going at this rate in 15 or 20 years the maintenance fee can get as high as $13,000 annually. They tell you this is an investment that you can leave to your heirs and the only thing they have to pay is the maintenance fee, daah. Now that I have had a reality check, I feel like I have a milstone around my neck. Is it wise to keep the timeshare until I can't pay the maintenance fee or try and get out now. We paid over $18,000 for a master/suite.

They lie

You own a millstone

You'll find out how much you got conned out of when you try to sell it

The developer makes a bundle off the fees, once the fees get high enough people start walking away from their units. Units are foreclosed, refurbished and sold to new suckers.

It's a racket

I wonder if these companies use the threat of credut damage to keep people from letting units go to forclosure if the mantenence is too high?

hmm....

Bump for suckisstaples idea from other thread (more for a vacation home but for ts maybe?).. Growing up in NYC many people used to also own houses in the poconos. For those situations they said they lived there 50% and were able to get health insurance and car insurance based from living there...


Suckistaples wrote:
Just thought of this strategy as a way of (possibly) making a timeshare purchase worthwhile....

In some counties, health insurance premiums are much cheaper. For example, in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, Blue Cross has a No-premium Medicare + Choice plan....compare that with $160/month for a couple in SF...thats $2000 savings per year. If they pickup the timeshare for free or less than $1000 on the resale market, the annual maintenance fees will be more than offset by the insurance savings...

Does anyone know how receiving mail would be handled at a timeshare?? Sure, they might be able to get away with renting a private mailbox in the county to get the adress, but this could be a way to own property in the county and a place to vacation!

Greetings all... I am new here as I found you all because several of you visited my website from a link above...

http://www.quarterbore.com/timeshare/

My father got us into timeshares back in the 1980s and his first was purchased through the sales pitch. It is a great unit and my father has used the unit every year and gone to more resorts then I could ever try to list BUT it was expensive! My father learned his lesson and purchased a second week from an owner that just wanted out and it was very obvious that this second hand timeshare had the same tradability and usefulness as his (Est $18,000) timeshare he bought in the mid 1980s but he paid a more modest $3K for the second week.

My website as linked above is slightly dated as we now own two timeshare weeks. We still own the Killington week in February, which is our annual ski vacation, plus we purchased a second week in the Pocono’s for the end of the summer. Both of these units were purchased from individuals even though our second week was found through a realtor. We paid $5500 for the Killington week, which was an extreme deal for a four bedroom sleeps 10-14 unit, and about $3500 for the Pocono’s week. These are deeded properties with fixed weeks and they have adequate room and facilities for my family and with three kids we would never want to have to stay a week in a motel somewhere!

In my honest opinion, timeshares are a great way to vacation but there are a few things that need to be considered before you buy.

First, How do you like to vacation?

If you like to travel and see various parts of the country timeshares can still be a good deal. The trick with this is that you need to purchase a timeshare that has a solid trade value so that people will want to trade for your unit so that you can go where you want. You also need to be flexible on where you go and you need to be prepared to plan your vacation a LONG time in advance. This increases your chances in getting the kind of place you want in the area you want.

Now, the other type of vacation is one that you buy with the primary goal of going the same place every year. Both of our timeshares are this type as we know that in the middle of February that there will be plenty of snow to Ski in Killington Vermont and that at the end of August would be a great time to get away with the kids before school starts again. Our August vacation in the Pocono’s is at a resort with tons of activities for the kids and it close to lots of other activities as well.

I will also advise that in my experience it has been easy for us to simply rent a week off eBay in an area that we want to vacation and in fact it has worked better for us then trying to deal with RCA or II to trade. Instead, what we have done is to rent a week we want and then rent our own timeshare out as this way you can control where you will get better and you will get the best return on your own unit... It works for us! In fact, we do not subscribe to RCA or II for either of our timeshares...

Second, WHERE TO BUY

This has been mentioned above but the sales center at a resort can be the worst place to buy. The best place is from owners that are tired of paying maintenance fees and just want out. Newspapers, TUG, auctions, and lots of other places have timeshares for sale. The trick is having the patience to find the right week at the right price. Those that spend the time and search smart can save a lot of money while those that get caught up in a sales pitch will end up paying some salesman the down payment for their next sports car...

I guess that is enough from NEWBEE me

Well, I think I need to update my own webpage to include my ramblings here... I want to thank you all for visiting my little website and I will try to look at more of what is here when I get a chance. I just wanted to say that timeshares are not a bad deal BUT you need to think before you buy and NEVER buy based on the sales pitch unless you have an extra $10K or more to toss in the trash as you can save that amount or more by doing your homework before you buy!

Any advice on the most painless way to sell the timeshare?

My parents got suckered into buying one 4 or 5 years ago for around $15,000 (what's worse is that they did it for me and I'm not even vacation type). I forget the name of the company (Fairfield Resorts maybe or something like that) but they have resorts around the world, both nice and crappy locations. The actual property is in Colorado, but I don't think it matters since it's flextime in 50+ locations around the world.

The maintenance fees now are approaching $1000/yr and growing. My mom stopped paying fees about a year ago. The timeshare hasn't been used once and none of us are planning to use it. Any money we can recoup in selling the thing would be a bonus now. Any suggestions as to the best way of going about it? eBay? Any personal experiences and tips would be most welcome. Thank you very much!

(I read the Timeshare FAQ, it doesn't really go much into selling. I believe donating and writing it off taxes is nearly impossible.)

fluffyistaken said: [Q]Any advice on the most painless way to sell the timeshare?

My parents got suckered into buying one 4 or 5 years ago for around $15,000 (what's worse is that they did it for me and I'm not even vacation type). I forget the name of the company (Fairfield Resorts maybe or something like that) but they have resorts around the world, both nice and crappy locations. The actual property is in Colorado, but I don't think it matters since it's flextime in 50+ locations around the world.

The maintenance fees now are approaching $1000/yr and growing. My mom stopped paying fees about a year ago. The timeshare hasn't been used once and none of us are planning to use it. Any money we can recoup in selling the thing would be a bonus now. Any suggestions as to the best way of going about it? eBay? Any personal experiences and tips would be most welcome. Thank you very much!

(I read the Timeshare FAQ, it doesn't really go much into selling. I believe donating and writing it off taxes is nearly impossible.)

Try TUG or PM me and I'll take it off your hands <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif" border=0>


Good luck,

Tom

The problem with selling on eBay is their fees are pretty high as a timeshare is treated like any real estate. The advantage with eBay is that you will instantly get thousands of perspective buyers far beyond what you can find anywhere else. Another website that seems like a good idea is Bidshares.com but they just don't seem to have the same trafic and the auctions there seem to be the same units listed week after week.

Some other suggestions would be to call the resort where you own and ask them if they keep a list of units for sale for prospective buyers. Most places have something like this and I like to use that list to buy so it would be a great way to sell as well. From there, you might try to look for a realtor in the area where the resort is located. I know many realtors don't like timeshares as frankly a percentage of a small sale just isn't a whole lot but perhaps they keep a list for their clients or they will do it for a fee? You might also try posting ads in newspapers or what-ever sale flyers that are in the area of the resort especially during the week you own as you might find someone that wants to buy a week at that time of the year. Beyond that, there are lots of places on the web that buy and sell timeshares but I am afraid that most of these places are sharks waiting on a bleading timeshare owner for their next meal as well.

Sorry to hear you got sucked into timeshares the wrong way but these are a few ideas that I would try. Hope this helps some...

I just found the following that is really quite exceptional....

REALLY LOOK AT THIS UK WEBSITE AS IT IS GREAT!!!

Because this is a government website I am confident that copyright laws are flexable so following is the key text from the link above... still, look at the link!

============================ QUOTE ============================================

1. What is Timeshare?

Timeshare means buying the right to spend a set period in a holiday property each year for three years or longer. Most timeshare resorts are linked to an exchange organisation that offers to arrange exchanges with owners in other resorts, normally for a fee.

Many people have bought timeshares and have enjoyed using them. However, timeshare touts operate in some resorts. DTI receives many distressing letters from people whom touts have pressured into buying timeshares they do not want and cannot afford.

Become a satisfied timeshare owner by all means, but don't become a victim.

If someone tries to sell you a timeshare.…

Think:

    Do you want to take this sort of holiday every year?

    Is it good value for money? Remember that when you buy a timeshare, you will still have to pay the costs of flights to and fro, food etc.

    Timeshare is not an investment. Generally, the resale value of a timeshare is far less than the price you have paid for it when new. If the seller offers you a "money back guarantee", check the small print carefully.

    Shop around. Don't take the first timeshare someone tries to sell you. Consider different resorts in different areas, look in newspapers and magazines, contact resale agencies and compare prices.

    Find out if the seller is a member of The Organisation for Timeshare in Europe (OTE) a trade association which represents many British timeshare developers and marketing companies and has a code of practice.

    Know your legal rights.


The "buy-sell con". If you already have a timeshare, a timeshare seller may try to convince you to buy a better one on the promise that he or she will sell your existing timeshare to pay for it. Under the "buy-sell con" this sale never materialises and you will be left with the expenses of both. Remember that the second-hand value of most timeshares is far less than the price when new.

Timeshare presentations

Some companies sell timeshare by getting people to go to sales presentations. They may offer gifts or free holidays to persuade you to attend. They may suggest you have won a competition and say you have to go somewhere to get the prize. Only after you have arrived do you find out that they are trying to sell you a timeshare.

    If you know the sales team are selling timeshare and you do not want one, you could unnecessarily give yourself a hard time if you go to the presentation just to get the free gift. Once the sales team get hold of you, they will not give up easily. They are more experienced in persuading people to buy timeshare than you are in resisting a hard sell and they may keep you for hours.



    If you find you have been tricked into going to a timeshare presentation, and you are not interested in buying, walk out. Ignore any claims that you are missing the chance to win something valuable.



    If you accept a lift to a presentation, you may find it difficult to get back to your hotel when you wish to leave. It is safest to refuse.



    If you attend a presentation, do not take credit cards, a cheque book, or much money with you. Never use your credit card as identification. A tout could put you under heavy pressure to use it to pay a deposit. Never let a salesperson take you to your hotel to get money or credit cards.



    Ask for a brochure - under the Timeshare Directive, you have a right to certain basic information, listed in Section 2 of this document, whether or not you buy.



    Pay nothing at the presentation, even if you agree to buy. A reputable company will not ask you to do so since the Timeshare Directive forbids it.



    Be careful about accepting drinks which could affect your judgement.



    No matter how unpleasant the sales team make it for you to leave a sales presentation, it can't be as bad as signing a contract you don't want and can't afford.



    Remember that gifts that appear to be valuable (eg free holidays) may well have hidden extra charges.



    Insist on full details in writing of what is being offered. A responsible developer will have no difficulty in providing a brochure giving full details of the resort and the apartment or house concerned. (See Section 2 for a list of the information to which you are legally entitled).



    Consider whether you can afford it. Remember, you are unlikely to get your money back if you sell, so do not consider giving security in payment, such as remortgaging your home.



    Satisfy yourself on maintenance charges. Low initial maintenance charges may be a sales inducement, subsidised by the developer. These may increase in the future. Check what is planned, what the charges include, and who will decide the increases. Will you have a say in how the resort is managed?



    If you want to exchange, check that you understand the rules of the exchange and are happy with them. Also check that the exchange organisation has access to resorts you want to use. Remember that most resort prices are in three seasonal bands (high, medium and low). The band you buy in may affect your ability to exchange: you cannot expect to buy in the low band and then exchange into the high band.



    Get everything in writing.


Before you commit yourself

    Take your time and think. Read the contract carefully and, if you have any doubt, take independent advice about your legal rights.



    Don't be rushed. Timeshare sales staff may put you under pressure to sign immediately on the promise of a discount. Don't sign anything until you have read it carefully and talked it over with people you trust.



    Never sign anything to get away from the sales team. It will cost you more trouble to get out of a contract.


============================ END QUOTE ============================================

For $18k you can buy a wife.



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