Q: It appears for many people, including me, that the purchase of a timeshare has shifted from an asset to a liability: growing maintenance fees, whether you use it or not; can’t sell or even give it away. How can I get out of this obligation?
A: Many experts would have told you before you purchased your timeshare not to consider it an asset. For years, it’s been hard for people to sell a timeshare for a profit of enough money to even get back what they paid for it. And, of course, the recession hasn’t helped timeshare owners, especially those who borrowed to buy one.
If you are having financial difficulty paying your timeshare loan or maintenance fees, try to rent it to raise some money to cover the resort expenses. You can, of course, list your timeshare for rent on various Internet sites, but be sure you know all the rules for renting. And, be careful about checking out renters.
If you want to sell your timeshare because it’s become a financial burden, or you don’t want to try and rent it every year, you probably need to find a broker. Again, be very careful about who you get to help broker the sale. There are a lot of timeshare resale scams and schemes in which companies charge you an upfront fee and then do little to nothing to help you find a buyer. One resource you should check is the American Resort Development Association’s Resort Owners’ Coalition. The website was created to help timeshare owners who want to safely maneuver the timeshare secondary market.
Timeshare resale is one of the top scams listed by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB says, nationwide, it’s seen a significant increase in timeshare-related scams, which usually involve companies charging timeshare owners thousands of dollars up front and falsely promising to quickly sell the timeshare property. A lot of the companies are preying on people who are struggling financially.
“With the rise in fraudulent resale practices and the far too many dishonest resellers preying on consumers, it is necessary to establish legitimate guidelines to help safeguard consumers and ensure a safe resale experience with reputable companies,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of the American Resort Development Association, the industry’s not-for-profit advocacy group.
On their site, you will find information on the resale process, tips on selling and consumer advisories on the various resale scams currently being investigated by state authorities.