Hidden secrets timeshare owners wish they knew before signing up
Timeshare salespeople are generally paid a commission on how much they sell. Don’t fall for these 10 secrets that help them maximise their income at your expense:
1). It is much cheaper to rent a timeshare than buy one: You no longer need to be a timeshare owner to stay in timeshare resorts. You can book them from regular booking sites like Booking.com. In fact renting a timeshare unit can often cost you less than the annual fee would be if you owned it. Certainly the cost to rent a timeshare unit is no more expensive than a regular hotel or holiday apartment. Plus you won’t have all the restrictions, commitments and costs of owning the timeshare.
2). Defaulting on a timeshare loan can lead to bankruptcy: Onsite loans through major banks and credit providers make it seductively easy to pay for some or all of your timeshare purchase. But despite the ease of which the loan is given, it is just as binding as any finance agreement issued in the UK. The APR is generally significantly higher than “secured” loans as the timeshare resale value is negligible. The maintenance fees are just as binding. Not paying any of these costs can lead to action through the UK courts and end up affecting your credit score and ability to get other loans in the future.
3). Timeshare salespeople inventively use the word ‘investment’: Timeshare is NOT an investment. Pretty much every penny you pay to join, and in operating costs is gone for ever. A long time ago timeshare was presented as an investment as though you owned part of a property. In fact all the member had purchased was the ‘right to rotational occupancy’. This had no resale value whatsoever. Timeshare sales people will however try to influence you subconsciously with terms like ‘life quality investment’ or investment in your family holiday time.’ Neither of these carries any monetary value unfortunately.
4). Buying a timeshare comes with hidden risks: Most timeshare contracts come with a financial obligation on the purchaser to repair, or even rebuild their apartment in the event of damage. The same goes for a proportion of any shared amenities. There is usually insurance included in the annual fee, but there are disasters that are not covered by resort insurance. Disasters are fortunately rare, but ‘special levies’ to upgrade facilities are more common.
5). The taxman doesn’t acknowledge your capital loss: Unlike with real estate, you can’t report losses against your total asset value gains. Timeshare is not real estate, no matter what your salesperson might try to infer, and it’s resale value is zero. Almost every penny you pay to join is marketing costs. There is no chance whatsoever to make a profit, and very little chance to avoid total loss of your outlay. To the tax man, you overpaid for some holidays in advance.
6). During the financial comparison, flight and travel costs are conveniently forgotten: Your salesperson will often show you a ‘financial logic’ pitch, where the costs of your holidays are shown to be much cheaper through timeshare membership. The cost of your total holidays are written in one column and weighed against the maintenance fee on the second column. If he ‘forgets’ to add flight and other travel costs to the timeshare column, be sure to factor these in yourself before evaluating the deal.
7). NEVER buy a timeshare via a loan arranged by the developer: Banks will not give you property based loan, but there are some finance providers that work closely with timeshare companies to offer what amount to sub-prime, unsecured loans. Timeshare is worth nothing at all from the moment you buy it. This means that to make the loan less of a risk, the provider has to make the interest sky high. The internet is full of horror stories of Brits who signed up for a timeshare loan, with life changing consequences. If you can’t pay cash, don’t buy at all.
8). You can’t just give back your timeshare: Because of the long duration of many timeshare contracts, people’s holiday needs change over time. Many owners assume that because they have to pay so much money to join, and because the annual fees are so expensive, that if they stop paying they will just lose their membership. Unfortunately not. Timeshare companies do not, on the whole, care if you still want their product. They need your annual fees and will enforce the contract to make you pay them, whether you use the membership or not
9). The salesperson will show you the best room: Your room may well be a different standard, have different fittings and a worse view than the one you were shown. Be prepared for being sold something other than what you have seen, and demand to either see the unit you are committing to before signing up. Or if you have seen it, make sure you are contracted to get the one you are sold.
10). If you bought in Spain, on or after the 5th of January 1999, there is a good chance your contract is illegal: While this may have some owners worried that their expensive outlay may be on shaky legal grounds, for others who regret having joined a timeshare this is good news. If your contract is illegal, you may be able to not only escape the commitment, but also claim significant compensation from your resort
Andrew Cooper, CEO of European Consumer Claims comments: “like many ground-breaking ideas, timeshare started off with great intentions in the 1960s. Unfortunately a lot of less than scrupulous characters have been involved since then and this means the deal has got progressively worse for timeshare owners. If timeshare is something you have decided to buy, please go in with your eyes wide open.”
For advice on escaping a timeshare you no longer want, get in touch with ECC for a free, no obligation consultation
- Do you qualify for timeshare compensation? A quick guide:
- European Consumer Claims
- ECC contact page
- Book your timeshare holiday…. on Booking.com
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ECC provides timeshare claims services, expert advice and help
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First published on MyNewsDesk May 2022