The colonies at Williamsburg VA – Pressured to Upgrade

We received the following submission from one of our users regarding their experience with RCI:

“We purchased at timeshare in 2006 had it paid for in full. In 2010 we both lost our jobs. We left the yearly fees go. And felt we lost the timeshare. In 2018 we receive a letter telling us that they will accept half of the fees to bring it up to date. Well, we both have good positions and are doing ok getting out of the hole we put ourselves in while out of jobs. So we took the offer took out a loan and paid the fees off. We love the week we have and decided to go because it wouldn’t cost anything but food and tickets to places.

While we were there they said we need to go to this free lunch and learn about the new incentives the Interval Company was putting in place. We agreed. We went there spent 4 hours telling this man that we couldn’t afford it and he just kept asking us what we could afford. I said only $100 a month that’s all. So he came back with what we thought was a good chance to get better services and area. So we did it. And now we just want to go back to what we had.

Is there a way to get out of the upgrade??? That’s all I want to do.”

Timeshare Resale Scams – T.F.T.I.

Tales from the Inside

We’ve talked about timeshares and the many reasons not to get involved with them. We’ve covered the sleazy tactics many salespeople use to reel you in during the presentation. We’ve even discussed the most common myths of the Timeshare industry. It’s no secret I am not a big fan of Timeshares or of shady salespeople. As much disdain I have for the industry, there is one industry that I believe I am even more upset by…

Timeshare resale scams.

The whole idea is a wonderful concept, and one that us much needed. With so many people regretting their timeshare purchase and wanting desperately to get rid of them, the service could really benefit a lot of people. There are many companies providing the service, and while they all offer their own individual results, the most common is the quick and easy sale of the property to another private party.

While the concept was developed with good intention, it wasn’t long until the scammers jumped on the bandwagon and saw this as a great opportunity to take money from innocent people. Not only are we talking about the typical scammers we are all used to (were you aware the warranty on your vehicle is expiring!), but seasoned timeshare reps all over saw the opportunity to make a quick buck as well. That’s right, the timeshare reps that were responsible for tricking so many of these people into ownership in the first place, was now going to represent them and help bring them justice.

I’m sure you can all see where this is going…

Fast forward a few years later, the industry may be more dangerous to consumers than the timeshare industry itself. Most people end up paying fees of several thousand dollars with the promise of results, only to be strung along and ultimately realize they are no closer to getting rid of their property than they were to begin with. I have personally heard stories of people investing over $15,000 into a timeshare resale scam.

Here are a few red flags that you should be cautious of, based on the information provided by Consumer Reports.

Resale Scam Warning Signs:

Watch out for up-front fees.
Generally, fees are paid at the conclusion of the service, or are taken out of the settlement.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Most scams will come with the guarantee of a quick sale. If you have tried to get rid of your property yourself already, you know that nobody can guarantee a quick sale.

Don’t wire money, pay in cash, or send a money order, certified bank or cashier’s check.
These methods are extremely difficult for law enforcement to track. It will basically be lost. Stick with personal checks or wireless transfers.

Do your research.
Don’t be so quick to assume that the company has a nice website and social media pages that they must be legit. Contact your State Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the reseller is located. Don’t forget to check the Better Business Bureau as well.

Check with your resort.
Check to see if your resort has any restrictions, fees or limitations that would contradict what the resale team has been telling you.

Demand everything in writing.
Every promise, request and payment proposal. Be sure to have an attorney available to review the documents as well.

While there are honest companies out there providing this service, it seems there are more scammers looking to take advantage of someone. If you do find yourself negotiating with a timeshare resale company, just be sure to watch for these warning signs and protect yourself.

– D

4 Myths of Timeshare to Know Before You Buy – T.F.T.I

Learn about the most common myths in the timeshare industry

Tales from the Inside

Timeshare organizations are still booming and total sales have increased for an eighth straight year, and the amount of unhappy consumers posting in forums has risen right along with it. If you are considering purchasing a timeshare for nearly any reason other than doing lots of research and believing it will truly compliment your vacation habits, you are making a mistake. Doing your due diligence and understanding how the program works and what people that use it are saying about it is key in the purchase process.

Below are the 4 leading myths that convince people to purchase a timeshare property. Understanding the truth behind these myths could stop you from making a decision that could haunt you the rest of your life.

Myth #1: Timeshares are a Good Investment

If you fell for this one, don’t feel too badly. Lots of people have made the same mistake. The Sales Rep is making some convincing points about reselling or renting your property… you’re imagining yourself taking some great vacations AND making some money in the long run… it sounds like an easy decision. Then the years go by and you realize the dream you were sold was more of a nightmare.

Timeshare properties shouldn’t be purchased with hopes of financial profit. You are stuck with the maintenance fees whether you use the property or not and they are hard enough to give away for free, let alone sell for a profit.

Myth #2: Timeshares are Easy to Trade

In timeshares early days, you only had the option to go to the property you purchased. How boring. Since then, companies like RCI and Interval International have partnered with resorts to allow owners to exchange their properties with one-another. Great, so you should just be able to pop in and trade for where you want to go pretty easily, right? Wrong. You have to deal with requests, trade values, fees, and still may get denied for multiple locations before you end up having to settle for something available.

Myth #3: Timeshare Owners are Top Priority

Most owners are under the impression that they are considered first priority after purchasing. They get the best rooms, the best services, and the best perks. While most owners do enjoy several perks and benefits of their ownership, they are also shuffled down the line behind potential new owners and people that haven’t stayed at the property before. These are the type of people they are looking to impress, the ones who’s money they haven’t gotten yet. Who do you think they will try to take car of more, the people who already own, or the people who are signed up for their sales presentation tomorrow morning?

I have seen this in person. Owners will be booked in mediocre units while a portion of the top shelf units are saved for those attending presentations.

Myth #4: Traveling with Timeshare is Cheaper

Timeshare is represented as a way to increase the quality and ease planning your vacations, while saving money in the long run. It sounds like as wonderful concept, but unfortunately isn’t typically the case. Some people can take advantage of deals and excess inventory to get some great deals, but most people cant wait until 30 days before their trip to start planning. The typical timeshare traveler is paying $1,000+ for the timeshare ownership, $800+ in annual maintenance fees, plus additional fees for trading and memberships within RCI and Interval.

When you add up all of the associated costs, it usually would’ve been cheaper (and easier) to just book the trip yourself.

Conclusion: Timeshare Doesn’t Work for Most People

This probably isn’t breaking news to anyone, but with so many people still making purchases based on misinformation, it’s worth pointing out. The initial and ongoing costs, limited tradability and availability, along with the significant difficulty in reselling make Timeshares a bad idea for the vast majority of people.

-D

Do you have a question you’d like me to answer? Awesome! Just leave your question in the comments and I will answer a different question at the end of every blog, or may choose to focus a whole blog on your topic!