Purchasing a timeshare is a big investment. Similar to buying a home, you should take a measured approach before you commit.
Before Purchasing a Timeshare
- Check for added costs.
- Unlike hotel rooms, vacation timeshares come with added cost, such as mortgage payments, travel expenses, variable maintenance fees, taxes, broker commissions and finance charges.
- Research your consumer rights.
- If the property is located in another country, you will not have the same consumer protections afforded under U.S. law.
- Use an escrow account and get documentation.
- Use an escrow account if purchasing undeveloped property, and get a written statement that the facilities will be finished as promised.
- Inspect the property.
- If the property is already developed, visit and give a thorough inspection.
- Read all documents before signing and make sure you understand them.
- Carefully examine all documents before signing. Ask an attorney to explain anything you don’t understand.
- Know your cancellation rights.
- Make sure that a right of rescission is included in the contract. This is also known as a “cooling off period,” during which you can receive a refund if you change your mind.
- Take your time.
- Don’t act under impulse or pressure.
- Get it in Writing.
- Make sure you get all promises and representations in writing. Don’t rely on oral representations.
Timeshare Resale Scams
Beware of anyone offering to resell your timeshare. It could be a scam and cost you thousands of dollars. Resellers can easily contact you after finding your information through public records or lists bought and sold from resort developers.
If you do express interest in selling your timeshare, the scammers will claim they have a buyer lined up, but that you first need to pay them fees – up to several thousand dollars. Then after you pay them, the scammers disappear and your money is gone.
Scamming resellers will also often promise you a hefty profit. Unfortunately, in reality many timeshares lose their resale value over time. For example, a one-week timeshare that sold new for $20,000 a few years ago could now fetch as little as $3,000, depending on resale market conditions.
Protect Yourself from Timeshare Resale Scams
- Research the reseller’s reputation.
- Always check a reseller’s reputation with Consumer Complaint Database ».
- Confirm the reseller’s real estate license.
- Confirm their licensing claims with the Oregon Real Estate Agency ».
- Be wary of cold calls.
- It’s best to avoid doing business with resellers who make unsolicited calls or send unsolicited mailings to your home. They often use shady tactics, have no physical address, hold no license to do business in any state, etc.
- Don’t assume you can get your money back.
- Never assume you can recoup the purchase price for your timeshare, especially if you have owned it for less than five years and the location is not well-known.
If you have been victimized by a timeshare scam, please complete a Consumer Complaint Form » or call the Attorney General’s Hotline at 1-877-877-9392.
Learn More From the Federal Trade Commission
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