Phoenix, AZ (PressExposure) December 26, 2009 -- Upon review of various consumer groups and online forums it becomes clear that there are countless timeshare owners who are looking for a relief from the financial obligations associated with their timeshares. Unfortunately, getting out of a timeshare is never as easy as promised.
For decades there has been a stigma surrounding timeshare sales presentations. High pressure, deceptive, and unethical sales practices still seem to abound in the industry. Prospective buyers are lured into sales presentations by some type of enticement. The resort may offer a free getaway weekend, theme park tickets, or a fancy dinner.
Once inside the presentation, owners routinely report that salespeople intentionally mislead them with regards to certain aspects of timeshare ownership. Based on a series of interviews it becomes clear that almost all owners are told that the timeshares will retain their value and that they can easily be resold. Some are even told that the timeshare will appreciate in value. One quick glance at eBay (where timeshares are routinely listed for sale for $1.00) will put that claim to rest.
One cause of particular frustration for owners is the constant unavailability of units. Many are unable to get the dates and locations that they want and the money paid in maintenance fees and mortgage payments seems to go to waste. Compounding the issue is the fact that there are very little resources available to consumers who are looking for ways to solve their timeshare problem. Once they decide that they want out, owners are confronted with a bevy of companies and it is difficult for them to ascertain who, if any, can actually provide legitimate help.
Many will start by contacting the resort itself to see if there is a resale program. Almost no resorts offer such a program despite the promises made at sales presentations. The next step is a resale or listing company where they are taken for several hundred dollars with a promise to sell. This sale literally never takes place for any owners. In fact Section 721.20(9)(2) of the Florida Statutes which went into effect July 1st of this year, requires listing companies to disclose how many timeshares they sell as a percentage of how many they list over the prior 24 months of operation. On a survey of 25 listing company websites, including popular ones such as Timeshares by Owner, it was found that they all report sales of less than 0.01% over the last two years. What that means is these companies sell less than one tenth of one percent of the timeshares that they list and in reality, this number could actually be zero.
In an environment such as this, it is understandable that owners sometimes feel at a loss for what to do next. Regrettably, because of the fear of being taken for more of their hard earned money by another company in the industry, many elect to do nothing. This is perhaps the biggest tragedy in the timeshare industry, that there are countless owners who continue to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars per year out to these resorts because they do not know where to turn. The decision to do something continues to get put off year after year. Owners, especially those with mortgages (who pay on average around $2,000-$4,000 per year in fees, principal, and interest) end up spending a small fortune because their apprehension continues to keep them from doing anything about their situation.