Timeshares are a large segment of the vacation industry. A timeshare is a form of vacation real estate that gives owners the right to use a property for a specific amount of time each year. It can also be used to exchange vacations with others who own the same timeshare or with other timeshare companies. The cost of a timeshare can be high. There are maintenance fees, resale fees and other expenses.
Timesharing can be a great way to enjoy a vacation each year, but it’s important for consumers to research the product before buying. A good timeshare company will be upfront about the costs and fees associated with a timeshare, as well as any benefits.
According to the Better Business Bureau, there are a number of scams that can occur when someone buys a timeshare. Some of these scams include:
Another problem with timeshares is that it can be difficult for people to get out of their contracts. There is an entire industry dedicated to helping people exit their timeshares, but critics of these services say they often do little or nothing to help people get out of their contracts.
In addition, the resale market for timeshares is often poor. The price that a timeshare can sell for on the secondary market depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of resort, the season and whether it’s in a desirable location. Some resorts may offer a “golden week” or other special week that can have a higher value when trading in the resale market.
Many people who buy timeshares are often swayed by promises of being able to trade their timeshares for other vacations around the world. Some of these exchanges are made with other timeshare owners at the same resort, but others are made through third-party vendors.
The industry has come under increased scrutiny because of concerns about high sales fees, maintenance charges and exchange fees. It is important for people to do their research and know the facts before they purchase a timeshare, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
One of the biggest problems that the industry faces is a growing trend in states and municipalities to tax the exchange of vacation ownership products, including timeshares. According to a study conducted by the American Resort Development Association, these taxes can have a major impact on the industry.
Mike Finn, a St. Petersburg, Florida-based attorney who focuses a substantial portion of his practice on assisting timeshare owners, says that the way the industry treats its customers today is “like racketeering.” He says it’s not uncommon for developers to sue people who try to cancel their timeshares or stop making payments. These lawsuits often happen on island destinations, where developers can stick a person with a lifetime of payments if they can’t pay. Finn advises consumers to ask all of their questions during the timeshare closing session and record them on tape if possible. This will ensure that the consumer’s rights are protected later on if a dispute should arise.