It’s estimated that at any given time, there are over 1 million timeshare owners looking to end their timeshare ownership. According to the American Resort Development Association, currently, 20 percent of African Americans own timeshares. Unfortunately, exiting a timeshare is more complex than many people realize.
“Timeshare owners are never more vulnerable than when they’ve made the decision to end their ownership. The resale market is flooded, resorts have stacked the deck and con artists are waiting to take advantage of your situation,” says Gordon Newton, president of Newton Group Transfers and author of “The Consumer’s Guide to Timeshare Exit.”
There are several personal or financial reasons you may want or need to exit your timeshare, and there are several ways to do so, be it via a sale, transfer or cancellation. No matter how you part ways with your timeshare, Newton says it’s important to protect yourself by having a better handle on the industry. He offers the following insights to anyone who owns a timeshare:
- The fine print in your timeshare agreements may be the reason you can’t sell it. Many resort developers see the resale market as a direct threat to their revenue stream and have accordingly rigged the system in their favor. For example, some resorts restrict rights and benefits for owners who purchase their timeshares on the resale market, intentionally devaluing your timeshare while also making it harder for you to unload.
- Only sign an agreement offering you real protections in your timeshare exit. Specifically, any agent you hire should be aligned with your interests, agreeing in writing to cover all timeshare fees – or legal fees – that arise during the exit process for a flat fee.
- Research your exit company’s credentials (through the Better Business Bureau, the state’s attorney general, consumer protection agencies and a general internet search) looking for a minimum five-year track record of success. Beware of companies that make it hard for you to research them.
- Be wary of timeshare exit companies boasting “attorneys on staff.” Those attorneys will be acting in the best interests of the company, not yours.
- If an exit deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of phone solicitors telling you someone has a buyer, anyone advising you to stop paying your timeshare mortgage or maintenance fees, “donate your timeshare” programs, or anyone marketing a guaranteed timeframe for the exit. These are all red flags.
For more tips and insights, visit myexitguide.com to download a free copy of “The Consumer’s Guide to Timeshare Exit,” a recently updated guide created to help consumers avoid scams when ending their timeshare ownership. Or call 888-344-9776.
If your timeshare has become more of a liability than a joy, you’re not alone. But don’t get burned. Take steps to part ways with your timeshare efficiently, safely and with care.