Frequently Asked Questions About Timeshares and Timeshare Resales
Saturday, October 13, 2007
There are always many topics to blog about in the world of timeshares and vacation ownership, but there are some questions that come up so frequently, I want to take a few blog posts and really focus on them.
So here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that I receive about timeshares, timeshare resale, timeshare rental, and the whole industry of vacation ownership.
Q. Can I trust the timeshare industry? I’ve heard about timeshare fraud and unethical practices.
A. YES you can safely buy timeshare and sell timeshare! Timeshares in the US (and for the most part worldwide) are a highly regulated industry. I think timeshares got off to a rocky start because 30 to 40 years ago, when the first timeshares were established, they were an entirely new business model. There just weren’t existing laws in place to regulate their development and sale because there had previously been no product like them.
Because of this, there were growing pains, while developers, management companies, hoteliers, consumers, and legislative agencies worked out what types of guidelines and restrictions needed to be implemented. Today, in the US, every single state has laws on the books to protect the consumer in buying and selling timeshare.
Some states wrote new laws unique to timeshares and vacation ownership, while other states adapted for the timeshare industry, laws and guidelines that govern other types of real estate transactions.
Yes, there have been scam artists along the way, but these types of people exist in every industry. There are also people who use heavy-handed sales tactics, and other approaches that do not put the consumer first in the transaction. But most of those people go out of business when faced with the competition of legitimate companies, offering worthwhile and straight up opportunities to people who want to buy timeshare.
In fact, often, when you hear about timeshare scam today the fraudulent business is not about the sale of individual timeshares to buyers, but refers to schemes designed to entice people into investing in the development of timeshare resorts.
I am not dancing around the fact that there are still disreputable people in the timeshare industry. There are also disreputable doctors, lawyers, ministers, schoolteachers, and pizza delivery boys. No industry, no matter how tightly regulated it becomes, can entirely eliminate shysters. Sadly, crooks will always find a new angle as long as there are consumers who buy in haste, don’t research what they are getting into, and fail to get reliable answers to important questions.
The warning “caveat emptor” used so frequently in real estate transactions applies just as much when you want to buy timeshare or sell timeshare. Caveat emptor means literally, let the buyer beware.
Important Tips about Timeshare Resales
So here are some important tips you can apply to help you make wise decisions when you buy timeshare or timeshare resales or you look for a company to help you sell timeshare you already own:
- Contact the Office of the Attorney General for the state in which a timeshare company is located and check that the company has a clean record, without complaints filed against them. If you have never done this before, it’s simple to do, because consumer protection is one of the main purposes of this division of state government. You will find the Attorney General’s Office to be easily assessable and very helpful.
- Go on line and search the timeshare company by name. Look at their website. Find out how long they have been in business. Read the comments of actual timeshare owners and learn from their experience.
- If you buy new timeshare from a timeshare developer, don’t let anyone rush you into your decision. Study the contract. Ask questions. If the deal seems “wrong” or “too good to be true” – walk away from it.
- Before you sign a contract to buy timeshare, know the rescission laws for timeshare transactions in the state or country in which you are buying. In some states, you may have only 24 hours to change your mind. In others states, you will have longer. Know this information before you sign the contract.
- When you buy timeshare in other countries, be doubly cautious. The laws that protect you in the US, do not protect you when you sign contracts in foreign countries.
- Above all else, take your time. There are many opportunities to buy timeshare and to buy timeshare resales. You can purchase from a developer, from a timeshare broker, or directly from the current owner. Shop around. There are too many options in timesharing and too many different types of timeshares on the market for you to settle for something that is not a perfect fit for you.
Timeshares are one of the fastest growing segments of the hospitality and leisure industry. Don’t let the old image of timesharing stand in the way of you enjoying one of the best opportunities in vacation accommodations available today.
Check back in on Monday. I’ll be continuing in the next Timeshare Owners Blog post, responding to frequently asked questions.