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Timeshares: Yes? No? Maybe?

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If you’re considering getting a timeshare this vacation season, read on. Maybe you got a flyer in the mail with pictures of sunny beaches and beautiful resort suites. Sounds great, right? But before you sign a timeshare contract, make sure you understand what you’re getting into — and how to get out of it.
Not all timeshares work the same way. Some use points to determine where you can stay and for how long. Others get you one week a year at a resort, but it’s not always the same week. The cost also varies … a lot. Typically, timeshares require you to pay initial fees and yearly maintenance fees that may increase every year.
Promoters might offer you a gift or delicious meal to attend a timeshare presentation. If you decide to go, the sales staff may make a lot of promises and pitches designed to get you to buy right then and there without giving you time to think about it or do any of your own research.
So before you sign that timeshare agreement, ask yourself a few questions:
  • If the timeshare is only for a specific property, is this where I want to vacation every year?
  • Can I afford this timeshare, even if the maintenance fees go up?
  • Do I have the time to deal with issues that may arise if I can’t book the resort I want during the time I want to travel?
  • If I no longer can afford or want the timeshare, how can I sell it?


Their sales tactics are even more suspicious.

Timeshares are the biggest rip off in the world. Avoid them at all costs. They lie to you and pressure you to buy knowing once they got you on the hook, they got you. You will be paying for life. Fees Increase yearly. It’s hard to get the place you want when you want it. Be warned!!!

I got talked into this in 2012. Could never find a resort when I wanted to go on vacation. These are all lies and you never own a resort. Just pay high fees and maintenance fees go up every year. I am with a company to get me out of this mess! They should be made to pay me back all the money I lost in their lies! Shirley Hammonds

What company did you use to get you out. Many are scams take your money and don't follow up and get you out and your out the money. How does a person go d who is ligit and which ones are scams? One can try and do your homework but for the most part they are scammers and only put you further behind. It is bad enough to pay a company to take something you paid for but to be scammed and not get out only adds insult to injury. Does the ETC help us consumers to find a reputable company to get you out?

We’ve had a timeshare for over 20 years. They work great for a vacation week but they are not investments. Our sales person was honest and told us that but she said it guarantees you a nice vacation for a week. Now the sales people are getting too aggressive to make a sale and they turn people off. Too bad.

Thank you for this very important warning! I almost bought a timeshare in Mexico and am so glad I didn’t! The area is riddled with crime now and unsafe.

Great bullet point about "how can I sell it?", but I didn't see any information in the article about that. So, how can I sell my timeshare? There are so many scammers out there, where is a safe place to go?

I purchased one once and it was a huge mess. All I got was blackout dates and empty promises. They assured us we could sell so, not to worry if it doesn't work for us. Yah for less than half of what you owe. The thing is they can sell a million for the same resorts. I was told by one of the salesman that the same people owned the companies that were offering less than half. How do these scandelus companies stay in business? Government keeps tabs and controls most business. Why do they allow them to scam people.

Pls put the correct email for sending scams to the FTC. Thank you.

You can report scams, fraud and bad business practices at the FTC website:

My ex-wife and I had a time share and it was a disaster. The cost rise sharply every year and you pay a fee to change locations or date. A timeshare is almost a Ponzi Scheme, they need to keep feeding the bottom to supply the top. Stay away!!!!!!!!

They may tell you not to worry about reselling the timeshare as there is so much demand for it. However, think ahead 10 yrs or so and realize the property may have changed who manages it and it may be impossible to get out of it. Third parties make a business off getting people out of timeshares, and you usually have to pay them to take it so that you can be rid of the fees. Life happens.

We were pressured into buying one. It was a horrible experience. Our quarterly maintenance fees are now monthly - $184.00 and going up, plus the monthly cost of the loan, about $185.00. And, we can never get it. When we call, they try to push us to go to Las Vegas, which is someplace we never want to go. We can't get out of it. It's hopeless.

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