Who Are You Going to Believe about Timeshare?

Author Christopher Elliott had a blog post recently, titled: 12 Things You Shouldn’t Do in 2012. Everything he recommends is a well-placed word to the wise. You might think, here on The Timeshare Authority blog, we wouldn’t be quoting Elliott, who as a consumer advocate has been known to warn his readers about timeshare sales.

But frankly, we agree with many of the points Elliott raises in general and also in his new book, Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals. To his credit, he doesn’t echo the often-said, never-correct message that all timeshares are bad, or that consumers are less than smart for buying them. Instead, he tells consumers not to buy timeshares (or anything else) under pressure. He goes so far as to say that in his opinion, buying timeshare can lead to regrets, but he points out there are reasons for these regrets:

  • Timeshares come with fees. If you understand before you buy that your timeshare will be subject to an annual fee that will increase over time, and that other, additional fees can be placed on your timeshare over the years you own it, then you are going into your purchase as an educated buyer.
  • Timeshares depreciate. You should understand this before you buy your timeshare. Depreciation doesn’t stop you from buying automobiles, electronics, or jewelry, but you won’t be happy if you buy timeshare expecting it to increase in value.
  • Timeshares have rules. While Elliott calls these unreasonable rules, these rules probably fall more into the category of many other “unreasonable rules” such as those issued by airlines, hotels, restaurants, and other service industries. The rules are in place to enhance the way the product works for the greatest number of people using it. They won’t always work for everyone. There may be rules you don’t like or rules that don’t work for you. And if you buy timeshare expecting there to be no rules at all, you will be disappointed.

It’s this simple: when you buy a product that you haven’t researched, that you buy under pressure, and without fully understanding what you are buying, you can wind up with regrets. And this is true whether you are purchasing a timeshare, a television, or a toaster; it’s just that in most cases, your expenditure for the timeshare is much greater than it is for a TV and unlike a toaster, if you are truly dissatisfied, you can’t just walk to the trash and throw away your timeshare.

There is no one size fits all. It doesn’t exist in clothing, real estate, or consumer services and it certainly doesn’t apply when it comes to vacations and vacation ownership. When it comes to the truth about timeshares, don’t believe sales hype that isn’t logical and don’t believe negative criticisms that are the result of critics piling on a topic they don’t understand.

As Groucho Marx said, “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?” … Do your own research before you buy timeshare. Understand the rules, investigate the fees, ask current and past owners, and take a timeshare rental vacation at the property where you are considering becoming an owner.

Over 80 percent of timeshare owners say they are satisfied with their purchase; many are so happy with one timeshare that they go on to purchase two, three, or more timeshares or timeshare resales. When it comes to timeshares, there really aren’t 12 things you shouldn’t do; there is only one. Don’t be an uneducated, impulsive buyer.