The Risks of Timeshare ownership and How to Avoid Them

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Have you ever thought about buying a timeshare? You are not the only one; a timeshare plan is ideal for people who plan to travel to the same destination often, or who are looking for shorter vacations or whose vacation weeks change often. However, as with all markets, there are fraudulent companies in the timeshare market; in this article we will give you tips to identify and avoid them and what to do in case of being scammed or having made a purchase without being aware of the risks.

  1. What is a timeshare plan?
    Types of timeshare plans
  2. The risks of buying a timeshare plan and how to avoid them: Timeshare scams, Types of timeshare scams Value of timeshare plans Cost of timeshare plans
  3. Getting rid of a timeshare plan
  4. Conclusion

What is a timeshare plan?

A timeshare plan is a type of contract in which the buyer purchases a property from a resort to use for a few weeks of the year. It is an ideal plan for people who like a specific destination and have frequent vacation trips. There are many types of timeshare plans; the differences between these include the number of days the property can be used and the number of years the buyer has rights to the property. It is always a good idea to thoroughly research the different types of plans and understand which one best suits your needs as a buyer.

Types of timeshare plans

  • Fixed week and unit: The buyer purchases a property to use a specific week of the year, obtaining the right to sell, rent, exchange or donate the property at will.
  • Right to use: The buyer obtains the right to use a property in one or more developments during a specified period of time. When the contract term ends, the property rights return to the developer. This type of plan is often sold as part of vacation club memberships.
  • Point Program or Vacation Club: Instead of buying the desired property outright, the buyer must earn points to spend only on properties affiliated with the point program. Different amounts of points provide access to different suites and parts of the property; this cost in points changes depending on the demand for the property, season, location and amenities of the development; the same points program may offer right-to-use contracts. This option is more flexible than other plans.
  • Fractional Ownership: The buyer does not buy the property; they only buy the parts of the property that they are interested in; the rest remains the property of a company; this allows for a cheaper plan.
  • Lock-off or lock-out units: This is a plan that allows buyers to use a portion of their time in the property on one date and the other portion on another, there are two modalities:
  1. Fixed time: The unit is purchased to be used in specific weeks.
  2. Floating time: The buyer can stay in the property for the period of their choice. The week of choice must be selected in advance, as the property is subject to availability.
  • Divided week: The stay is divided into two or three separate visits; this plan is ideal for those looking for short vacations or “getaways”.
  • Biennial or alternate use property: Allows the use of the property every two years.

The risks of timeshare ownership and how to avoid them

Buying a timeshare has its risks, even if we buy it with a trusted company. But this does not mean that they are automatically a bad purchase, we just have to be careful and pay attention to the contract we are given when purchasing a timeshare plan.

Timeshare scams

There are many ways in which you can be scammed when buying a timeshare. Here are some of the most common scams and what red flags to look for in order to avoid them.

Types of timeshare scams

  • Verbal promises about the plan: In Mexico, verbal promises have no value if they are not written in the contract. To avoid being sold empty words, it is important to read the contract and ask for any verbal promise to make sure it is written in the contract.
  • False promises about the property or the uses of timeshare plans: Often, with the intention of getting our attention and incentivizing us to buy a product, a seller will make false promises about a product or its uses, and timeshares are no exception. It is especially common to lie about  the possible uses and value of the timeshare plan; this is a red flag because the uses and value of a timeshare are limited, but more on that later.
  • Monthly fees: Sometimes the resort will promise fixed or even non-existent maintenance fees; this is a scam to motivate you to buy the plan, as the maintenance fees increase every year.

Value of timeshare plans

As we mentioned before, some resorts will try to make timeshares look like a good investment. This is a scam to motivate you to buy the plan. Timeshare plans lose 70% of their value at the moment you buy it, and they lose even more when you try to sell or rent them on your own. On top of the low value of the plans, the market is full of people trying to sell or rent their timeshare, causing its value to decrease even more, a timeshare is never an investment, and any salesperson who tries to convince you otherwise is just trying to rip you off.

Cost of timeshare plans

The price of a timeshare plan is affected by factors such as the location of the property, the size of the property, the prestige of the resort, and the economic position of the buyer, that is, a seller can offer the same property at two different prices to different clients, and that is not the total cost, timeshares come with extra payments and fees, mainly maintenance but also repairs in case of natural disaster or accident; if a salesperson promises you that there are no payments after the down payment, they are just trying to pressure you into buying the timeshare plan.

Getting rid of a timeshare plan

All the advice that we have given you so far will only be useful before buying a timeshare plan. If you have already bought a timeshare plan, and are looking to get rid of it, your best option will be to cancel your timeshare, while you could also look into selling, renting or donating your timeshare plan. As we mentioned in this article before, timeshare plans lose most of their value the moment that you pay for them, and lose even more when trying to sell them again.

Conclusion

Buying a timeshare is not an easy decision, and many sellers will try to take advantage of the public's lack of awareness about scams by making false and, in some cases, impossible promises in order to pressure you to buy the plan, if you have signed a contract. And end up dissatisfied with the property or the timeshare plan itself. The best option to get rid of the timeshare plan is to contact a timeshare cancellation agency since selling, renting or giving away a timeshare plan is almost impossible due to its almost non-existent value.

To receive more information about the risk of timeshare ownership and how to cancel it, send us a WhatsApp message to +52 1 333 239 6589, contact us or call us at +1 714 277 3662

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