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How do timeshares work?

How do timeshares work?
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Before considering buying a timeshare, it is important to understand how they work and the responsibilities that this purchase would imply

Timeshares can be a terrific purchase for some families, as they also can be a giant rip off for others. 50 years ago, also known as Holiday Home Sharing or timeshare travel, timeshares were created with the idea of offering fully furnished accommodations for a lower price than a full-time ownership. Nowadays, timeshares have become a very popular vacation option, yet lots of people do not completely understand how timeshares operate.

When considering buying a timeshare, your first question must be probably “how do timeshares work?” well, the answer can be really complicated as it actually comes down to the type of vacation ownership you are considering to buy and the terms and conditions of the contract.


How do timeshares work?

Essentially, a timeshare is a vacation property which is owned by several people. Each unit is divided into weeks which are sold separately.  Timeshares were first sold as “fixed weeks” but over the years this has been changing and some other plans and timeshare promotions have been introduced.

How do timeshares work? These are the most popular Plans:

Fixed Weeks: This is the most basic program. You may use the unit during a specific week of the year

Floating Time: You may use the unit during a certain season of the year. The first person who makes the reservation will be the one considered as confirmed.

Splited-week: You may split your week into two or more periods in different dates.

Points system: You buy a certain number of timeshare points for sale, and exchange them for the right to use a certain unit during a certain period. It is more flexible that the fixed weeks system.

A timeshare is designed to be owned for a large period -30 years or more- and sometimes they can be inherited by family members.

how do timeshare work

A timeshare is a HUGE financial commitment!

A timeshare should be never considered as a financial investment. Timeshare owners have many financial obligations attached to the resort. Besides the initial payment and the total purchase price, there are other fees that will be continuously charged, such as maintenance fees and special assessment fees, which are likely to increase every year.  Another factor to take into consideration is that timeshares do not go up in value, in fact, timeshares lose about 70% of their value when you first buy it.

Reviews and Complaints

Timeshares can be a great option for specific groups of people with specific vacation desires, or whether they are a terrible expensive and unnecessary purchase. There are many timeshare owners who feel very happy about their purchase, since they are able to use the timeshare every year, but there are still many more who don’t understand how do timeshares work and feel their holiday ownership was sold under fraudulent sales practices.

how do timeshares work

Top 5 timeshare complaints:                                                                                          

Guaranteed Rental Income: During the sales pitch, people are told that there will be a guaranteed rental income for their weeks, in case the owner is not able to use the timeshare. Actually, once they get home, they are referred to a rental agency that will charge large upfront fees to rent the weeks.

Guaranteed Resale of Previously Owned Timeshare: There are people who already own a timeshare and are not interested in buying another one. Those people are usually told that the resort will sell their old timeshare, but after they decide to sign the new contract, they are referred to timeshare resale agencies.

False Annuity Programs: This is another service that doesn’t exist. The potential purchaser is told that the resort has an agreement with a major bank that will offer an annuity program with which he will get a financial benefit for the use of the timeshare.

Maintenance fees increase continuously: Timeshare maintenance fees are not fixed, in fact, they increase more rapidly than the rate of inflation.

 Special Assessments Fees: Beside the maintenance fees, some timeshare companies also implement special assessments fees for special projects or to cover unexpected circumstances.


Over the last years, and due to the increasing number of complaints and scams perpetuated in the industry, timeshares are often related to touristic frauds. Unlike traditional rentals or hotel reservations, where the customer has the option to choose where to stay at and how much to pay, timeshares require a big initial payment.

Timeshares are also very criticized for being overpriced and for the ever increasing maintenance fees, add to that the fact that timeshare reselling is almost impossible. Nevertheless, what has injured the industry the most are the aggressive sales practices. Timeshare presentations are high-pressure, long lasting and deceitful. During a timeshare presentation, it is not recommendable to trust on the verbal promises told by the timeshare salesperson, because those promises don’t really answer the question, how do timeshares work?

how do timeshare work

Is a timeshare right for you?

Timeshares can be good for big families who are used to travel regularly to a same location and fully understand how timeshares work, but definitely not for people who enjoy traveling spontaneously and without restrictions.

What if you’re trapped in a timeshare you do not want?

There are a number of solutions regarding unwanted timeshares, but most of them are not viable. The most effective solution to get rid of a timeshare is by cancelling the original contract. Timeshare cancellation is an efficient alternative, since the owner will be able to cut all the strings attached to the resort. Mexican Timeshare Solutions is a legitimate company that assists timeshare purchasers who feel they were scammed by fraudulent salespeople. Contact MTS for a free consultation on your timeshare matter; it’s time for you to get away from that contract without having to pay an upfront fee!

Information to share

If you liked this article, please help us to share this information to more people in order to avoid more timeshare scams victims, how?

  • Share this link http://www.timesharescam.com/blog/141-how-do-timeshares-work/ on your favorite blogs and forums

    Leave your comment below and share your opinion with us.To know more about timeshare complaints visit our article:

    Timeshare Complaints: The Top Five

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  • FernandoMarzo 28, 2014, 4:00 pm

    muchas gracias por este articulo, me parecio muy interesante, me encanta su blog, esta muy variado y encuentro cualquier tipo de informacion acerca de timeshares

  • cabothedogJanuary 27, 2014, 11:35 am

    I know many of you own timeshares in Mexico etc and I am just wondering how do they work? What is a floating week? If it says week 52 does that mean it is for the last week in December? What is a red week and a high season? How do you trade for different resorts and times?

    I have been looking at ones on internet.I am interested but can only be available at specific times of the year and cannot budge on those dates (Teacher -so Xmas 2 weeks and March spring break 2 weeks and summer too hot).

    Thank you for your thoughts....

  • JamisonJanuary 9, 2014, 12:25 pm

    In addition to the great information you have provided, I would like to add that the resale market for timeshares are significantly cheaper than buying them from the big hotel developers such as Starwood and Marriott. Often times on Ebay, I see them selling for 10 cents on the dollar. Just make sure you review the transfer fees and yearly maintenance fees to see if it makes sense for you.

  • ToddJanuary 7, 2014, 1:44 pm

    I must consider myself one of the lucky ones. My wife and I agreed to the presentation for discounts at the Wilderness Resort in the Smokies for a short 3 day trip. The Sales Rep (to his credit) did not seem to overly interested in the missed sale when we explain that we could not afford it at this time. He then informed that they had an exit questionnaire that they needed us to go though. Another Rep (the one supposed to doing a questionnaire, though she NEVER asked us a question) presented the pitch of a TRIAL version. For $1440 ($199 down, $96 per month for 15 months), they would let us have 157,000 points to use in the next 20 months. When she returned with all the paperwork to sign, I begin reading the contract BEFORE I signed anything (I always do). The fine print said I had to be paid up at least $900 (at least 7-8 months into the payments, unless I wanted to pay more up front to use it sooner) before I could even begin to use the points, and it was limited to only 1/3 third of the resorts that they listed for the "full version". I told her that this was NOT what she had told me, and proceeded to leave the sales office. I was directed to a desk by an exit door. When I asked the girl at the desk for my voucher, she asked where my sales rep was, as he was suppose to walk me to her desk. I told her that's what I thought they would do, but they had only directed me to her. She gave me my voucher and let me out the door. Glad I happen to read the fine print before I signed, as it sounds as if it might have saved me a lot of money long term.

  • ChanelJanuary 6, 2014, 2:46 pm

    Timeshare presentations are super scammy, I did get a free dinner at a Brazilian restaurant out of the presentation though. Going to presentations (even though a waste of time) can get you free stuff, so I would do it again but I would NEVER buy

  • TCJanuary 3, 2014, 11:49 am

    I own a month in Cozumel and have for 12 years. A one-bedroom, ocean front with full kitchen, dining, living, king bed, dressing room, bath and balcony with full maid service, restaurants, dive shop, and spa only costs me $100 per night. I've done the math, and can't come up with a better deal. We love the resort and the area.

  • ReginaNovember 18, 2013, 10:09 am

    definitivamente es un gran negocio, hay mucho de donde estafar a la gente, que peligroso es esto!

  • StanOctober 18, 2013, 1:10 pm

    I've got the same sad story. Sounded great. Was told no problem in selling if it didn't work out. Signing the contract was an adventure. Was told numerous times its just the standard policy, like buying a car. Who reads, you just listen to the sales manager and sign. You don't want to be there reading for days and they are trying to get you signed and out the door.

  • MargieOctober 18, 2013, 12:48 pm

    We’ve had two experiences with timeshares. One was a fixed unit, fixed date place that is a 3 hour drive from our home. We bought it as a resale, and it has worked out very well for us.
    The second is a points system, and so far it has worked out fine too because we often use the points to trade into our first timeshare and then the whole family joins us there.
    If I had to do it again, I would not have bought the points system unit. It has changed ownership since we first bought it, and I don’t like the tactics of the new company.

  • JustineSeptember 9, 2013, 10:33 am

    Timeshare owners should be able to manage their timeshare however they want, and not to depend entirely from the resort.

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