Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Unraveling A Bad Timeshare Purchase Is Possible

Spending money wisely is important, but it's also important to undo money mistakes. Timeshare vacation properties are a good example.

Timeshares are the right to use a vacation home, often a condo at a resort, usually during a specific week each year.

We've previously examined why timeshares are a complicated purchase and are bad as real estate investments, especially if purchased new from a resort.

But what if you succumbed to the hard-sell pitch from a timeshare sales representative and bought one, then regretted it? Getting out is difficult, as many readers have found. Here's a sampling:

"Please send me anything that may be helpful to sell these timeshares. I would be happy to get my initial investment back."

"Do you have any suggestions after the damage has been done, as far as unloading this beast?"

"Help! We have a timeshare and don't know how to get rid of it. We know that we will not get our money back, but we don't know where to turn."

"I simply want out of this time share, even if it means forfeiting my initial investment and assessments paid to date."

Jeffrey Strain, operator of the Timeshare Trap Web site (, said he hears about those situations all the time.

"Unless the timeshare owner is in an extremely unique situation, they are going to lose a lot of money," Strain said.

There are no perfect ways to get out of a timeshare. But here are some do's and don'ts that might help.

Don't pay an upfront listing fee. If you pay an upfront commission or fee, often $400 to $700, to someone promising to sell your timeshare, you'll probably get no results.

"More often than not, these companies are in the business of taking your listing fee and nothing more," said Lisa Ann Schreier, founder of Timeshare Insights, which guides consumers through timeshare arrangements, and author of "Surviving a Timeshare Presentation ... Confessions From the Sales Table" and "Timeshare Vacations for Dummies."

Do try to sell it back. Check with your home resort to see if it will buy back the timeshare. "Resorts that are sold out or close to being sold out may make you a reasonable offer," Schreier said.

Do try renting your timeshare week. In a few years, you could make more than if you'd dumped it on the resale market at a fire-sale price. And renting it should more than make up for your annual fees, which can run about $500 per year.

Do try to sell it online. Use eBay and other timeshare listing Web sites that don't charge upfront fees but take commissions on the sale. Just realize you'll rarely get all your money back on a resale, and eBay shoppers are looking for timeshares at huge discounts.

Do try selling it yourself. Advertise in local newspapers and vacation magazines. "If you want to get the best price, you're going to have to sell it yourself and do a lot of leg work on your own," Strain said.

Don't abandon it. If you owe money on the timeshare, stopping payments probably will damage your credit rating.

Don't ask too much. Listing a timeshare above the cheapest comparable timeshare will mean it will sit unsold.

Do consider using a pro. "You can use a reseller or commissioned real estate agent that only gets paid for the sale, but you'll have to price it under market value or give a bigger commission to get rid of it fast," Strain said.

Do your homework on resellers. Check out the reseller by contacting the Better Business Bureau, state attorney general's office and consumer protection agencies in the state where the reseller is located. "If there are any complaints against the seller, walk away," Strain said.

Do try to transfer payments. If you financed the timeshare, just turn it over to someone willing to take over the remaining payments. Whatever you paid will be lost, but you will avoid any future payments and monthly fees.

In getting rid of a timeshare, you'll have to fight human nature, which wants to at least get even on a bad deal before abandoning it. Realize that won't happen on a timeshare you don't want. Dump it, take the loss and be rid of it. Holding onto it while waiting for a good price offer that may never come just makes a bad spending decision worse.

John, do you have examples of reliable timeshare resale companies? I will do ANYTHING to get rid of my timeshare as long as it guarantees I will actually be rid of it. I will pay anything.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?