Are Timeshares a Scam?

are timeshares a scam

When we hear the words vacation ownership, we think of happy families sharing memories together year after year. Timeshares are a great way to secure your vacation plans for years to come and travel the world. However, there are plenty of nay-sayers that will claim that timeshares are a scam. However, if timeshare was a scam, would companies like Disney, Marriott, Hilton, and Wyndham ever want to be associated with it?  Would they risk their reputations on it?

Why Are Timeshares a Scam?

Mainly, timeshare cancellation companies or spokespeople for exit companies will say that timeshares are a scam. They do this to motivate owners to get rid of their timeshares and sign up for their services. Timeshares are a lifelong product to give owners savings over a lifetime of vacations. The benefits of timeshare go far beyond that too, with vacation exchange opportunities, points-based flexibility, and more.

Timeshares are not financial investments, and can be difficult to sell on the resale market.

Because timeshares are meant to be used for decades, the resale market was an afterthought to the industry. In reality, it’s not likely that you will be able to sell your timeshare for as much as you paid for it. As a luxury product, timeshares depreciate in value, similar to how cars or boats do. While timeshares are not a financial investment, it is still possible to sell. Buyers now look to the resale market for points or weeks they can add to their existing ownership for a deal.

Today, the best vacation clubs and developers are members of ARDA, the American Resort Development Association. ARDA is a trade organization that advocates for industry leaders as well as timeshare owners. Members of ARDA follow a strict Code of Ethics to ensure that all owners and buyers have protection. What’s more, these brands and members have also formed the Coalition for Responsible Exit to protect owners from timeshare scams on the resale market.

Why Timeshares Are Sometimes Called A Scam

Unfortunately, due to scams and mispractice, timeshares can have a bad reputation. Many of these timeshare scams are seen most often within the timeshare resale industry. This is why it is extremely important to do your research before buying or selling a timeshare on the resale market. Many people have been taken advantage of by illegitimate “timeshare exit companies.” These companies will call out of the blue, claiming that there is a buyer ready to take over your timeshare. Unfortunately, this tends to be a lie and there really is no buyer. They might even charge super high fees to “exit” your timeshare and then disappear when you send the money. Some companies even promote simply walking away from your timeshare as a tactic for exiting. Failure to pay your maintenance fees could send your ownership into foreclosure. This could have a long-term negative effect on your credit score!

We suggest familiarizing yourself with common timeshare scams before making any big timeshare decisions! These scams can be easily avoidable when you have all of the information you need about safe timeshare buying and selling.

Common Timeshare Scams

  1. Unsolicited phone calls– A reputable timeshare resale company will never call you out of the blue. These callers will usually say they have a “buyer waiting” that is offering more than what you originally paid for. It is actually illegal for a timeshare company to call you unsolicited. Not to mention, it’s not likely a buyer will be willing to pay for more than what you purchased your timeshare for.
  2. Crazy high up-front fees– Timeshare cancellation attorneys or exit companies claim they can get you out of your timeshare. There’s no secret that they charge upwards of thousands of dollars, but they also sway owners by offering a money-back guarantee. The BBB, as well as state attorney generals, have made multiple claims and investigations into these companies that make false claims. You should never have to pay thousands of dollars to get out of your ownership. Contact your resort for options or sell it on the resale market.
  3. “Stop paying your timeshare maintenance fees”– If any company or attorney tells you to cease contacting your resort and stop paying your mortgage or maintenance fees, take it as a red flag. You should never stop paying your fees and dues. Otherwise, you may default on your ownership.

While timeshare itself is not a scam, the timeshare industry does seem to attract fraudsters every now and then. We have been in business for 25 years as a trusted timeshare resale service provider. For most people, it can be tough navigating the resale market. How can you tell the legitimate timeshare resale companies from the scam artists? Who can really help you exit your timeshare, cancel your timeshare or sell your timeshare?

How can you tell the difference between fraud and legitimate companies?

When you’re thinking about buying or selling a timeshare, it can be worrisome to think about whether you’re working with a good company. We get that.

Our owner, Bert Blicher, has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) for his work to impose a legislature that protects timeshare consumers. His passion for bringing honesty to the resale market is part of our daily mission. That’s why many developers will refer owners to work with us.

The best place to start when you are researching how to sell your timeshare is by asking your resort or HOA. Even if you are behind on your payments, they would rather help you find a legitimate resale service than become a victim of timeshare fraud.

Who can I trust to help sell my timeshare?

With all of these timeshare scams out there, the first reputable source to trust is your developer. These companies are large, publicly traded entities with laws they must follow and shareholders to answer to.  They care about their brand, image, and reputation.  They have taken the time to thoroughly vet industry partners prior to referring their owners to a third party.

If you are not interested in owning your timeshare anymore, ask your developer or HOA where you should start. Some companies even have their own in-house programs, like Wyndham Cares, which offers multiple free options for Wyndham owners who no longer want or use their timeshare. 

Sell Your Timeshare With Timeshares Only

Why you can trust Timeshares Only to help sell your timeshare:

  1. We have been in business for over 25 years, helping all owners advertise their timeshares for sale on the resale market.
  2. Our industry partners have thoroughly vetted us, ensuring that their owners are sent to the right place.
  3. We have an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau as an Accredited Business and hold 4.5/5 star rating on TrustPilot. We take our reviews seriously to ensure we are always providing the best quality services.
  4. Our owner, Bert Blicher, is the former Chairman of the American Resort Development Association. We are proud Members of ARDA and follow their strict Code of Ethics.
  5. You don’t have to sell your timeshare with us. We also can assist owners with renting their timeshares out to put some money back in their pocket. We’ll take care of the reservation details and payment for you.

Join The Discussion

2 thoughts on “Are Timeshares a Scam?”

  • Geri

    This company Vistana, does not have an exit program. I will probably walk away from this time Share, Do you have any other suggestions that will not cost anything upfront?

    • Mia Reid

      Hi Geri, thank you for reaching out! Our timeshare resale company only charges a small Marketing Fee that goes directly towards advertising your timeshare for sale. Would you like one of our specialists to reach out? You can also call us at 1-800-610-2734, our representatives would be happy to help answer any questions you have. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you! -Mia


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