Timeshares: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head on Oahu, Hawai'i.
Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head on Oahu, Hawai’i.

I read a fascinating and horrifying article about timeshares in the AARP magazine, that included an interview with a man named Jake who made millions bilking timeshare owners out of thousands by pretending that he had buyers for their units and getting them to pay thousands up front–for sales that never happened.

Despite the messy exterior and the high number of Americans who own timeshares they really want to sell, there are honest operators in this business and people who don’t feel the need to cheat their customers. BuyaTimeshare.com is one of the scrupulous timeshare sellers who can provide a transparent experience and for many people, an ultra cheap weeklong vacation.

To prevent this scam from happening, BuyaTimeshare.com vets out scammers like Jake before they are able to obtain the seller’s contact information. They’ve trained their employees to warn timeshare owners about this scam and do everything possible to help timeshare owners vet offers to make sure they are legitimate.

If the customer uses a licensed real estate agent to complete the closing of their timeshare sale, the chances of the owner being scammed are slim to none. Some owners choose not to use an agent to save money and can find themselves in hot water later when someone like Jake calls.

How do I know if BuyaTimeshare.com is Legitimate?

‘Well, we’re very proud of our accreditations with all of the most prominent industry associations in Canada (CRDA), America (ARDA) and Mexico (AMDETUR) as well as timeshare owner groups TATOC and NTOA. Aside from that, we have an excellent customer service team that is always happy to help. Not to mention the 16 years we’ve been in business.”

“Today there are more than 1,500 timeshare developers in the United States and more than 9.2 million time-share owners, reports the American Resort Development Association, (ARDA) Many owners are happy with their purchases and routinely vacation in their time-shares during the given weeks.”

But, the article points out, time-shares purchased through a resort directly are like new cars. More than half of their value is lost the second they are purchased. Many timeshare owners are led to believe that their timeshare will increase in value similar to traditional real estate, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. This is why it’s so important to buy a timeshare on the secondary resale market. Think of it like buying a used car without the wear and tear.

In Orlando in 2016, police raided a boiler room operation that had many, many different names and website addresses. The scam was that they would scour listings for time-shares for sale and then call the owners promising that they had a buyer in hand. They just needed to collect around $2200 for various expenses like closing costs.  The owners would pay the money and the sale would never materialize since the buyer was fake.

The story provides good tips for anyone who wants to sell their time-share.  First, ask the resort where you bought it if they will buy it back.  Second, consult helpful articles like this one for information about known scammers.

If you list your timeshare on a site like CraigsList, be prepared for a deluge of calls from timeshare dealers.  Don’t pick up the phone, and if anyone demands an upfront payment, don’t do it.  Also, beware of a pitch for a timeshare rental that involves you paying an upfront finder’s fee. Always say no.