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Timeshare Scams

While on vacation, don't fall into a timeshare trap


If someone tries to talk you into a timeshare, just say No!!!! When you arrive at your Caribbean or Mexico destination, there are two points where you could fall into a timeshare trap. After going through Customs and Immigration, exit the arrival hall bypassing all representatives inside trying to get your attention by claiming to be your transportation provider.

The second attempt could occur after check-in. If a resort representative tells you that the presentation will take only 90 minutes, don't believe it! The presentation will waste at least a half day, reducing your beach time.

If you say that you are not interested in a timeshare, the representative will lie saying, “It’s not a timeshare. It’s just a tour.” Because timeshares now have such a bad reputation, the representative may call it something like "Privilege Club" or "Vacation Club."

Even after you say no, the representative will be relentless. The only way to escape is to walk away. You should not try to collect whatever benefit the representatives promised you for your time. It is more important to walk away.

If you don’t walk away, you are financially doomed. You can forget about buying your dream home and/or retiring comfortably. That’s because the disadvantages of timeshares include:

Inflexibility: You may lack flexibility in making changes or exchanging timeshares. Depending on the type of timeshare you own, you may be restricted to a specific unit, week, or location. If you want to visit a different place or time, you may have to pay extra fees or go through a complicated process to trade your timeshare with another owner. Some timeshare companies also have blackout dates or limited availability for exchanges.

High Annual Maintenance Fees: You have to pay high annual maintenance fees and potential for future assessments. Even if you pay off your timeshare purchase price, you still have to pay annual fees to cover the upkeep, utilities, taxes, and insurance of the property. These fees can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per year and may increase over time. You may also be liable for special assessments if the property needs major repairs or improvements.

Maintenance Fee Increases: The timeshare company can raise the annual maintenance fee during the contract period. The contract may specify how much and how often the fee can increase, or it may give the company the discretion to adjust the fee as they see fit. You may have no control or say over the fee increase and you may have to pay it regardless of whether or not you use your timeshare.

Zero Resell Value: You may face difficulty in reselling or transferring your timeshare. Timeshares are not like regular real estate investments that appreciate over time. In fact, most timeshares lose value as soon as they are purchased. The market for timeshares is saturated and there is low demand for them. You may have to sell your timeshare at a loss or pay a broker or a company to get rid of it. You may also encounter scams or unethical practices by timeshare companies that promise to help you sell or exit your timeshare but charge you upfront fees and never deliver.

Air-Hotel Packages Blocked: You may not be able to book an air-hotel package or choose from a variety of resorts. If you own a timeshare, you may have to arrange your own transportation and flights to your destination, which can be costly and inconvenient. You may also miss out on the benefits of booking an air-hotel package, such as discounts, rewards, or perks. Additionally, you may be limited to the resorts that are affiliated with your timeshare company or network, which may not suit your preferences or needs.

Crashing Your Credit Score: Your timeshare obligation can affect your credit score. If you fail to pay your timeshare purchase price, maintenance fees, or assessments on time, the timeshare company may report your delinquency to the credit bureaus, which can lower your credit score and affect your ability to borrow money in the future. If you default on your timeshare loan or contract, the company may also foreclose on your timeshare or take legal action against you, which can further damage your credit and financial situation.


Have you experienced a timeshare scam? If so, I encourage you to submit a complaint to your travel agent.


Depending on how you booked your vacation, you should also complain to:

* Apple Vacations at customercare@applevacations.com

* Expedia. Due to the character limit on the form, you should write a letter and upload it.

* Funjet Vacations at customersupport@funjet.com

* Southwest Vacations at AfterTravel@SouthwestVacations.com

* United Vacations at wecare@unitedvacations.com


However you booked your trip, you should report the fraud to the United States Federal Trade Commission.


If you have already fallen into a timeshare trap, see 3 Proven Strategies to Exit a Timeshare (aarp.org).

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