Beware of Timeshare Selling Scams

Beware of Timeshare Selling Scams

It is often the case that owners of timeshare find themselves in a position where they need to part with their timeshare membership, usually because of a change in their circumstances, but encounter considerable difficulties because they have signed a contract which has a significant duration binding them to the timeshare company.

Setting the contract aside can be challenging because it is often at the timeshare company’s discretion, meaning that the individual has no contractual right to simply exit and to recover that which they have invested over the years from the purchase. So, where does this leave the Club Member?

Often Timeshare club members are left with holiday allowance they no longer want, or use, along with accompanying annual maintenance fees. Unfortunately, for Timeshare club members these maintenance fees run annually for the duration of the membership contract, which can be as long as fifty years. If you feel like you are in a timeshare trap, contact us for help and advice.

It’s common that the timeshare company encourages the Club Member to approach a ‘timeshare re-sale company’, if they express their wish to exit the timeshare club membership. The Timeshare Club Member is often told that this is the only viable route which will facilitate the transfer of the membership with the advantage of receiving the proceeds of sale. In short, the Club Member is told that this is a quick, easy and profitable solution to their predicament. Sadly, this is often not the case and the Club Member is not given any alternative options.

Timeshare Resale Company

You may encounter a timeshare resale company in your efforts to sell your timeshare. These are third party companies that operate independently and exclusively around the timeshare resale market. They offer services to timeshare owners to advertise and sell member owned timeshare via their online platform.

However, the conversation and options presented to the individual regarding re-sale companies are made to appear to be sensible and it is made to be seen that this is a very good and lucrative option i.e. a ‘no lose situation’ – but caution must be exercised. Before commissioning a timeshare re-sale company, it is imperative that the Club Member carries out their due diligence to check if the resale company is reputable, if there is any negative feedback and what percentage of success rate it achieves for re-sales.  If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Selling Your Timeshare

There is of course the option to sell your timeshare privately, however, dealing with the complexities of timeshare contracts can be daunting because Club Memberships may have  differing procedures regarding the transfer of ownership.. Consequently, utilising a timeshare re-sale company can seem a viable alternative.

However, the Club Member must be aware of the points below before engaging the services of the timeshare re-sale company and putting pen to paper on a timeshare re-sale contract, between you and the timeshare re-sale company. Remember, this is a third-party company and the agreement will not be linked to your timeshare company (as they typically do not operate a resale programme). This may be contrary to what you were told when making the initial timeshare purchase.

  1. The fee for marketing their timeshare can often run into the hundreds of pounds.
  2. The fee often covers the marketing of the timeshare for a limited time (usually 6 months) following which another fee is payable. This may be a fee which automatically charged to your account because the contract permits the continuation of the contract.
  3. The Club Member is sometimes led to believe that the timeshare is guaranteed to be sold. There are however no guarantees. This may be buried in the small print and so you must always read the contract carefully before signing.
  4. The marketing and advertising materials may indicate a thriving market, but do not be fooled, as it will be the contract that binds you, and the contract will be drafted in the interest of the re-sale company. Whilst unfair contract terms can potentially be challenged under Consumer Protection Legislation, this is not a swift process and there are no guarantees that such a challenge will succeed. Therefore, the contract terms will likely prevail.

Timeshare is something that is often very hard to discard. Club Members can start out at a price, as guided by the re-sale company, which focuses upon obtaining a good value i.e. something above that which the Club Member initially paid for their timeshare. The re-sale company subsequently markets the product on their platform and then the waiting game begins. Problems quickly arise when Club Members discover that there is limited or no interest from the public in relation to the advertised timeshare ownership.

Club Members might then ask themselves two questions (1) do we gamble and re-new the agreement with the timeshare re-sale company having already invested a substantial sum of money in marketing the product or (2) do we remove the timeshare from the re-sale platform and cut our loses. Regrettably, the former is often the route taken and the Club Member in turn proceeds to throw good money after bad. Click here for advice on selling your timeshare.

Why Do You Want to Sell

When considering how to sell your timeshare, remember the reasons why you (as a Club Member) are trying to exit the ownership. These very reasons will likely be in the mind of prospective purchasers. Maybe you can no longer cover the costs of the annual maintenance fees, maybe your health and mobility have been affected and the sites are no longer suitable for your needs or maybe you would prefer to have more freedom in your holiday destinations? Whatever your reasons may be, these will appear as a negative considerations to any prospective buyer.

Issues with Selling

You as a seller should remember that you will not be able to match the sales and marketing initiatives of the timeshare companies or have any add-ons or post-sale services to offer. The timeshare companies are generally able to offer better deals on ownership with attractive incentives for prospective timeshare purchasers. This will have an impact on the share of the market that you are advertising to, thereby diminishing your chance of finding a buyer at an appropriate price.

It is often the case that the Club Member finds themselves in a position whereby they are unable to even give the timeshare away in exchange for no consideration at all i.e. for free! One must only look at online public auction websites to discover that there is no second-hand market for timeshare sales.

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