Fidelity Resales Blog

Is a Timeshare a Scam?

Posted by Mia Reid on Sep 10, 2020 3:00:00 PM

There is a lot of misinformation out there about the timeshare industry, like the number one question: is a timeshare a scam? When exit companies or timeshare cancellation lawyers confront this topic, you'll hear every reason why you may have been "scammed." However, many timeshare owners are very satisfied with their purchase. Timeshares themselves are not a scam, but there are some common misconceptions that make people believe that they are.

Timeshare Presentations Are High Pressure

There may have been a time before the American Resort Development Association helped put regulations in place for the industry, but the old days are long gone. Today's top developers must abide by a strict code of ethics that does not allow them to misinform owners or potential buyers, especially during a timeshare presentation.

Many buyers even attend two or more sales presentations with the resort before making a purchase. If timeshare presentations were so high pressure, it's likely there wouldn't be very many people that make it out of that first presentation without buying.

In today's world full of technology, most people are even researching the resort and brand before even going into a presentation. With a growing number of owners every year in a world of high transparency, maybe timeshares are not a scam. Many buyers are going into their presentations with an idea already of what they're looking for.

Are Timeshares a Good Investment?

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If you're thinking financially, then no, timeshares are not a good investment. Any industry professional will never tell you that you can make money off your timeshare. In reality, a timeshare will not go up in value.

That doesn't mean they're a scam, though. Most things we purchase don't appreciate in value. Cars, technology and other everyday items are known for depreciating. Do we consider those a scam?

Timeshares do help people and families save thousands on vacations for a lifetime. By purchasing vacation ownership now, you are paying for vacations at today's cost. A hotel room now might cost one thing, and tomorrow cost even more. With a timeshare, you're locking in one price at today's value.

Timeshare Maintenance Fees Can Be a Burden

is a timeshare a scam

It's helpful for most owners to think of their timeshare maintenance fees as their HOA. In fact, most resorts use an HOA now to present these annual fees. Like a car or your house, a resort needs maintenance. If you want to own a unit at a specific resort or with a vacation club, it doesn't stay beautiful without some help.

Resorts need regular maintenance to stay up-to-date, stay clean and pay employees. With excellent customer service, new renovations and consistent maintenance, regular fees are necessary.

If you see these as a burden, that's fair. However, maintenance fees are no secret when it comes time to buy a timeshare. Your car payments are not a scam, so why would a timeshare be?

There Isn't a Timeshare Resale Market

Well, this is plain false. There is a thriving timeshare resale market, and we can prove it. As the Featured Reseller for Wyndham, the Recommended Resale Broker for DVC and more, Fidelity Resales is known for helping owners sell their timeshares because there are buyers out there.

In fact, over 90% of our new DVC listings are sold within 90 days. We've helped thousands of Hyatt, Hilton, Bluegreen, Diamond, and Marriott vacation owners find the right buyer for their timeshare. The resale marketplace is perfect for owners looking to add on to their initial ownership for less. Or even for a new owner to test the waters before taking the plunge.

It's Difficult to Get Out of Timeshares

It can take some time to get out of a timeshare, but it's not impossible. Most resort developers provide owners easier options than ever. If timeshares are a scam, it would be hard to get out of them.

Owners are not stuck in their contracts. In fact, almost 85% of today's owners are even quite content with their timeshare! The reality is you can't simply "cancel" your timeshare contract. There might be exit companies or timeshare cancellation lawyers that tell you otherwise, but this is false. Most of these services are being prosecuted and receiving thousands of complaints to the BBB and state Attorney Generals.

If you need to get out of your timeshare, the first thing you should do is contact your resort. They can provide solutions or even refer you to a trusted third-party to help.

Timeshares themselves are not a scam. The memories and vacation experiences they create for owners is not a scam. To avoid a timeshare scam, the most trustworthy sources of information are the developer or brand, the American Resort Development Association and their recognized members.

What Is a Timeshare Scam?

The most notorious timeshare scams normally take place on the resale market. Top developers follow strict guidelines and laws put in place to protect potential buyers or their owners.

Unfortunately, because timeshare was created to be a lifelong product, the resale market has been less regulated. A timeshare scam on the resale market can look like a few things.

  1. High upfront fees to sell or "cancel" your timeshare. You should never pay thousands of dollars up-front to get out of your ownership. There are resources available for owners that need timeshare relief. Check ResponsibleExit.com before paying upfront for cancellation services. You should also call your resort or developer, as they may have options for owners.
  2. Out of the blue phone calls from someone that says they have a "buyer waiting" and need a wire fund. It is illegal for a timeshare company or representative to call you without your permission. A legitimate timeshare reseller will never call you out of the blue. Furthermore, you should never wire any funds to one of these callers.
  3. Guarantees to exit your ownership. In reality, third-party companies cannot make promises to exit or sell your ownership. If you decide to list your timeshare for sale, a legitimate resale company cannot guarantee that it will sell.
  4. "Stop paying maintenance fees." You should never stop paying your timeshare maintenance fees when you are in the process of exiting or selling your ownership. This will cause you to default on your ownership, and it will negatively affect your credit.

Buy or Sell Timeshare With Fidelity

Our Licensed Real Estate Brokerage has over 20 years of experience in timeshare resales. As a member of ARDA, we strive to provide the best customer service guidance for timeshare buyers, sellers, and owners. Contact us today at 1-800-410-5188 or email team@fidelityresales.com.

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Topics: Timeshare Industry